Updated on: 13.02.2022

Service Prototype - Testing of a service


Design | Engineering

Service Prototype

The service prototype is a simulation of real interactions to test the service.

What is it about?

The service prototype enables testing and validation of the service within the development phase. By using different touchpoints, the full complexity of the process can be experienced. An extremely useful tool to test different actions and identify potential for improvement before the service is deployed.


Stage the flow of the process to refine and adjust design specifications.

A service prototype can be anything

For a service prototype, different types of prototypes lend themselves to the service experiment. These include mock-ups, sketches, diagrams, role plays and re-labels. The experiments are conducted with real users to be able to check needs and verify assumptions. This actual interaction with the prototypes results in feedback that forms the basis for future decision-making.

  • For the development of a prototype, work can be done jointly in a team or as an individual. In both cases, it is advisable to have the development process reviewed by people who are not involved, so that no relevant details are forgotten.  
  • Prototypes come in different resolutions. The closer the prototype is to the final result, the more time-consuming the process - this can take several days. Low-resolution prototypes can be developed in less than an hour.  
  • The materials required depend on the type of prototype. Pens, pieces of paper, boards or similar are needed to record results and development steps. 
Service Prototype - Testing the service at an early stage.

Step-by-step guide 

1. define goals and motivations

Before the prototype is created, it must be determined how the testing will be carried out and the associated assumptions formulated. 

2. create user experience

The experiment with the prototype should be an experience for the user, and new insights should also emerge. It is important to explore how this can be implemented.  

3. determine possible prototypes

Once the above questions have been answered, the next step is to sketch the appropriate prototypes. There is a wide range of different prototypes available. Therefore, it makes sense to consider several types in order to find the best possible one.  

4. make a decision for a prototype

Select the appropriate variant and sketch the experiment. 

5. carrying out the experiment

Have real users use the prototype, observe the interaction and experience. Get feedback on the feasibility and the different dimensions of feasibility and desirability. 

Further instructions for carrying out a service prototype

Determine the appropriate prototype 

Prototypes can be created for different degrees of resolution. Whether in the early phase, for first approaches or for final solutions: there are several types of prototypes for each degree. It is important to choose the type that is appropriate for the particular stage of the development process. 

Keep it simple  

The prototype should be kept as simple as possible. The aim - especially with low-resolution prototypes - is not to create perfect prototypes, but a simple representation that explains itself. 

No unnecessary time investment 

Since it is about the insights and experiences created by the user experiment and not about the prototype as such, not too much dedication should be put into the creation. This is especially true for low-resolution prototypes. 

Once is not a time - rather several times 

It is better to carry out many small experiments than one supposedly optimal test. In the time it takes to create a supposedly optimal prototype, it is more advisable to conduct several simpler experiments.