Haptic devices are becoming more widely used as hardware becomes available and the cost of both low and high fidelity haptic devices decreases. One of the application areas of haptics is Haptic Data Visualization (HDV). HDV provides functionality by which users can feel and touch data. Blind and partially sighted users can benefit from HDV, as it helps them manipulate and understand information. However, developing any three-dimensional haptic world is difficult, time-consuming and requires skilled programmers. Therefore, systems that enable haptic worlds to be rapidly developed in a simple environment could enable non-computer skilled users to create haptic 3D interactions. In this article we present HITPROTO: a system that enables users, such as mentors or support workers, to quickly create haptic interactions (with an emphasis on HDVs) through a visual programming interface. We describe HITPROTO and include details of the design and implementation. We present the results of a detailed study using postgraduate students as potential mentors, which provides evidence of the usability of HITPROTO. We also present a pilot study of HITPROTO with a blind user. It can be difficult to create prototyping tools and support 3D interactions, therefore we present a detailed list of ‘lessons learnt’ that provides a set of guidelines for developers of other 3D haptic prototyping tools.