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29/10/10 - More on the Spiral

posted Oct 28, 2010, 5:07 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Nov 9, 2010, 3:16 AM ]

1. Concept or Principle prototype (used for trials)
  • Limited functionality (particularly new functions)
  • Doesn't mimic appearance
2. Visual prototype
  • Designs or aesthetics
  • Doesn't work e.g. storyboard
3. Functional prototype
  • Small scale (not physical - usually)
  • Not mass-manufactured
  • More interested in handling of functions


1. Alpha
  • Testing for functionality (clear box)
2. Beta (state box or black box)
  • Feature complete
  • Testing for usability (e.g. Gaming - balance testing)
  • Open (free-for-all) or close (pilot)
  • Large scale testing
3. Release candidate (black box)
  • No fatal or critical bugs (i.e. no 'showstoppers')
  • "Going gold" or RTM
Prototypes/Builds may run parallel

Clear Box
Input -----------> Can see anything - current state, actions and commands ----------> Output
State (grey) Box
Input -----------> Can only see the current state (e.g. download bars) -------> Output
Black Box
Input -----------> Cannot see anything happening ---------> Output

1. Write a summary of all the different kinds of prototypes / milestones.

Concept prototypes have limited functionality and do not mimic appearance.
Visual prototypes focus on designs and aesthetics, and don't work.
Functional prototypes are build on a small-scale, and focus on how well functions are handled.

Alpha builds test for functionality.
Beta builds are feature complete and test for usability on a large scale.
Release candidates contain no fatal bugs and should be at, or close to, a standard of RTM.

2. Respond to each of the scenarios by (a) discussing the relevant issues and (b) proposing appropriate strategies for obtaining ongoing feedback from the system's users.