Have you ever shown a prototype of a potential product to customers (or your own executives) and had them say, "It looks almost finished. When can I have it?" Here's the problem: The state of a prototype implies the state of the product. Cliff Atkinson writes, "When the stakes for your presentation are so high that your business depends on it, wouldn't you want your presentation to be as polished as possible? We would all naturally think so, but sometimes what we see isn't what we get." He continues, "All of their material was correct and 'first-class', but the problem was that the presentation was over-polished."
Recommendation: a prototype should appear as finished as the final product. If there is no code underneath the user interface, the icons should be white squares with the word "icon" on it. Otherwise you imply that the product is more finished than it is.
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