I came across this terminology after watching a presentation of how Google innovate. Instead of diving headfirst into the creation of product based on an idea it was suggested to build a “pretendtype” (a.k.a “pretotype”).
The prototype for the palm pilot was actually paper wrapped on a piece of board. The palm pilot creator(s) would use this prototype to capture information for meetings.
This method serves the purpose of answering the following questions
- Would your idea work?
- Would you or your target audience use your product?
I actually saw the benefit of this approach. My wife proposed the idea for an iPhone app. My pretotype consist of Post-it Notes and pencil. I gave it to hear to pretend that this was the actual app to see if she would use it on a regular basis and what features are missing. So far lots of feedback.