Friday’s presentation slides are at:
WHAT DO PROTOTYPES PROTOTYPE?
Prototyping is a complex process with many variables to consider. A model for this process is presented in the paper that divides the role of prototyping into 3 main elements:
- to test the role a product would play in a user’s life,
- to test the look and feel of the final product with artifacts that closely resemble the end-product, and finally
- to test the implementation methods for materialising the product.
A good prototype is one that facilitates a fruitful discussion about the key element/s (as above) it is made to test and thus the audience of a prototype need to be aware of which elements out of the above three the prototype is made to demonstrate. Informed audiences can focus on the task at hand and use time productively, while the wrong audience or uninformed audiences could misunderstand the purpose of the prototype and start commenting on elements that the prototype is not made to test.
I personally agree with the main claim made in the paper; that prototyping is a complex process with various possible outcomes. I do also think that the model proposed makes the process of prototyping a lot simpler and helps identify a starting point, which in the past has been the most difficult step of the process for me personally. I do, however, think that as each project progresses, the prototyping process itself becomes a lot more hectic with many variables to consider and I would like to emphasise that at this stage it is almost advantageous to leave the purpose of each prototype/artefact uncategorized and instead focus on integrated design.
All in all, this is an interesting and informative paper.
In this article, paper prototyping is emphasized as an economical way of generating and testing ideas. The author gives several examples of paper-prototyping to emphasise how the DIY, playful nature of paper prototyping can help overcome the barrier often experienced by non-designers when contributing ideas. As well, it is highlighted that often from a playful experience with paper and pen, novel ideas can be formed. However, a clear disadvantage of paper prototyping is also mentioned that relate more to the highly interactive digital functions that some interfaces have. This I believe is the key challenge when prototyping: how to mimic a digital experience with analog tools. I do not believe that at this stage the designer needs to force paper prototyping on the project; instead, other more productive tools should be explored. Given the year this article was published, I assume simple digital alternatives to paper prototyping were limited in number.
Aside from prototyping user interfaces though, I do completely agree that paper is a versatile medium to prototype with. For example, it enables endless possibilities for form generation for architectural and fashion design purposes. Paper also has a unique look and feel (texture) that can add surprisingly unique elements to a design.
FEEDBACK FROM FRIDAY’S PRESENTATION
- ‘Subwayism’ is a great play on word
- Presentation had a very good pace and finished right on time
- Explanations were clear
- The storyboard could have additional scenes showing the effect of the product on the persona. More details about the solution: how meditation will be carried out during peak hours etc. Simply put, HOW will this solution be implemented in subways.
(Explanation: when I was working on my storyboard, it was almost natural for me to use the sequence of drawings as a tool to generate ideas more so than a tool to demonstrate the idea to an audience)
- Good idea to limit the scope of the project to ‘small, cost-effective ideas’
- The storyboard could use numbering as it has a more experimental layout
- Past project: ‘Metabolism’ project’s concept board is visually nice but the text may not be as easily readable as it could be. Nice use of colour.