j-design: What do Prototypes Prototype? -Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill

What do Prototypes Prototype? -Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill

Prototypes are one of the essential means of exploring and expressing ideas from the very first stage of contemplation to the last step of the development of the idea/product or design.

There are numerous ways in which we can prototype, to be able to choose the apt method of prototyping for your idea could be challenging. There is no wrong or right way to prototype an idea, it’s just about understanding the requirements of your design and being able to choose the best way to prototype it.

A MODEL OF WHAT PROTOTYPES PROTOTYPE: A three-dimensional space which corresponds to important aspects of the design of an interactive artifact. The 3 dimensions of the model are: role; look and feel; and implementation. “Role” refers to questions about the function that an artifact serves in a user’s life—the way in which it is useful to them. “Look and feel” denotes questions about the concrete sensory experience of using an artifact—what the user looks at, feels and hears while using it. “Implementation” refers to questions about the techniques and components through which an artifact performs its function—the “nuts and bolts” of how it actually works.

It gives a global sense of what the prototype is intended to explore; and equally important, what it does not explore.

To keep in mind:

  • Define “prototype” broadly.
  • Build multiple prototypes.
  • Know your audience.
  • Know your prototype; prepare your audience.



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