Pretotyping: A Must for Every Digital Product Development

Have you ever heard the term “pretotyping”? If not, then strap in for a ride, because we’re about to dive into a topic that could revolutionise your approach to digital product development.


Eh, what is Pretotyping anyway?

In the simplest terms, pretotyping is a way to test a product idea before investing significant time, money, and resources into building a full-scale product. The term was coined by Alberto Savoia, a former Google engineer, who believed that the best way to check whether a product would succeed in the market is by creating a ‘pretend’ prototype, or a ‘pretotype’.

This could mean developing a basic app with minimal features or an interactive wireframe instead of an entire software suite. A pretotype is not concerned with how the product works; rather, it’s about how the product is used. Its purpose is to validate whether the product idea makes sense to its intended users, fits within their workflow, or solves a problem they have.


Pretotyping: Why is it So Important?

Picture this: you’ve spent months, even years, developing a product, investing substantial time and resources, only to find that there’s no market need for it. Devastating, right?

Pretotyping helps to avoid this pitfall. It helps you answer the most fundamental question: “Is this the right product?” before you ask, “Is the product right?” It lets you test your assumptions about your user’s needs and preferences without the heavy investment that full product development entails.

The impact? Faster, cheaper, and more reliable feedback, fewer wasted resources, and a higher probability of launching a successful product. In the fast-paced digital world, where user preferences change rapidly, pretotyping is more valuable than ever.


If You Skip Pretotyping

What happens when you skip this step? Well, you risk building a product that no one wants or needs. You might end up with a perfect prototype that executes its intended functions flawlessly but fails to find a market. Skipping pretotyping can lead to costly mistakes and could mean a missed opportunity to pivot your product idea early on.


Tips to Pretotype Like a Pro

Here are a few tips for pretotyping effectively:

  • Define clear objectives: What assumptions are you trying to validate? Whether it’s about user behaviour, product usability, or market demand, be clear about what you’re testing.
  • Keep it simple: Your pretotype needs to be as simple as possible. Remember, it’s not about how it works, but about whether users would find it useful.
  • Don’t fall in love with your first idea: Pretotyping is about learning and iterating. If your initial pretotype doesn’t hit the mark, don’t despair. Learn from it and move on to the next idea.
  • Pretotyping with your users: Get your pretotype in front of potential users as quickly as possible. Their feedback is invaluable in shaping your final product.



To conclude, pretotyping is a powerful tool in the innovation toolkit, offering a fast, cost-effective way to validate product ideas. By embracing pretotyping, we can foster a culture of experimentation, learning, and, ultimately, success.



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