Recipe step number

Day 4, Activity 2


Create a realistic mockup to test the idea with customers

Reading Time

4 mins

Recipe: Design Sprint (Day 4)

  1. The "Fake-it" Talk
  2. Prototyping
Materials - Access to Mural (digital whiteboard) - Microsoft Teams (for group video calls)
Related Mural templates: Design Sprint complete 5-day canvas


Why do this activity? You need a realistic façade for your customers to react to – so you can have real data to answer your Killer Sprint Questions (reducing key areas of uncertainty and risk on the long-term goal)

This video, by Design Sprint agency AJ&Smart, give some top tips to make prototyping activities smooth and successful.

Key Tips

Tips from the Sprint Book - pages 183-190
  • Pick the right tools – discuss what tools and systems will be used (collaboratively) to build the façade prototype
  • Divide and Conquer – share the roles and work together to determine who is best suited to go where.
  • Stitch it Together – At key moments, bring the divide and conquer units together to make sure things fit. Stitcher can help too
  • Trial Run – Near the end of the day bring in a customer or teammate and try out the entire prototype/test. Observe and adjust.
Key tips/learnings from Advance Concepts™
  • Sometimes, the guides/facilitators have better judgement on the “Divide and Conquer” roles and the tools to choose for “Pick the right tools”. Do what’s best for the initiative, guiding the Decider and individuals with suggestions and advice.
  • Guides/Facilitators should also take roles and it’s helpful to divide into teams. For example, one interviewer lead, one prototype lead, and one test-day technical setup lead.
  • We recommend having 2 people equipped to interview. It can be a lot of work and pressure, so it helps to share that responsibility.
  • “Stitcher” is a key role on the team. They can make or break the prototype.
  • After the Trial Run, make a short list of key revisions and assign responsibilities to have a ready-to-go test day!

How to do this activity

Allow 4-8 hours
  • Every prototype will be created differently depending on the idea you want to test with customers.
  • Check out for guidance on how to approach creating your testable prototype.

Real examples

Physical prototype

Here is an example of a real prototype for a self-cleaning toilet using infra-red technology.

Note: This prototype was created in one day and the real technology was not needed. The infra-red sensors and lights were simulated by simple "hacking". The customers we shown the idea "as if" it were real, so their genuine reactions could be observed.


Digital prototype

This is a clickable web platform that looks and feels like a real website.

Customers could click on different pages of the website and perform "fake" tasks just as they would if it were real. But it was also created in just one day using Adobe XD.