Functionality is important, but the way something looks and feels is essential to the success or failure of your design. In fact, many studies have shown that people report higher degrees of satisfaction for aesthetically appealing products and services. A great way to consider the visual and emotional attributes of your proposed solution is to build a model that appears to be the real thing.
You might consider such models to be “all show and no go”—and you’d be right. An Appearance Model is a pre-production prototype that clearly represents the look and feel of your design, but has little or no functionality. This type of modeling is equally useful in the development of physical products, software systems, and service offerings. It is relevant to every type of solution that has any sort of experiential element. If you make an appearance model of a key element, you can determine if the aesthetics lead to a high degree of satisfaction.