A prototype is extremely useful in developing any database pplication for your website. Often someone has an idea of what they want the website to do from a functional point of view. It may be complex and it is necessary to be clear on the inputs, outputs and data types that will be included.
Before setting a programmer to work on a database structure and programming the site, developing a prototype will help all the planners to see the full logical flow, decide on what types of information are to be collected, decide on what information needs to be shown in reports, screen outputs and email outputs. If you identify that something must be shown – then this lets you see that it must be collected at some point.
The manager, administrator, and marketing persons from the organization and business will be able to visualize exactly what will be on each of the pages and see how the program will work. The database administrator and programmers will understand the concept and flow and have a clean idea of how to build the application. Much time, frustration and effort will be saved by building a prototype.
In an interesting article “Ten Things about Technology for Library Administrators” this point caught my eye
8. Never underestimate the power of a prototype. It is simple implementations of a new site or service that can help demonstrate what a fully-developed site or service would be like. Since many of us find it difficult to imagine a new site or service from a text description, it can spark understanding in a way that few things can. Also, they tend to be much easier and faster to put together and can provide enough learning opportunities so that if you decide to support full development, the result will be more effective than it would have been otherwise
Since 1996 Aleph Consulting ( http://www.alephconsulting.org ) has worked with clients to develop web applications as part of the suite of Internet services. A prototype is an essential part of the flow in developing an effective functional web application. Please contact me if you would like more details. firstname.lastname@example.org