WHAT is it?
"Prototyping is the iterative development of artifacts – digital,
physical, or experiential – intended to elicit qualitative or
quantitative feedback." (Geehr, 2008)
The act of prototyping implies "building", testing, and iterating
and is, itself, both a flaring and a narrowing process. The flaring
represents the proliferation of low-resolution prototypes developed as
different aspects of the prototype are evaluated and the narrowing
represents the refinement of the lower resolution models into
increasingly complex and resolved models.
WHY do we teach it?
After the ideation
phase, you have a mountain of ideas, some
you'd like to pursue. Prototyping allows you to fully
explore all of those concepts you want to evaluate. You prototype
because you need to explore your options -- to try things and fail,
further informing your design process. Prototyping is a way to do your
due diligence on the concepts that came out of ideation. Get your hands
dirty! Click that mouse! Bias
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype
is worth a thousand pictures.
HOW do we teach it?
The "how" is largely dependent on the type of project you're
working on. Building something physical? You should probably start by
sketching, making low-resolution models out of foam core and hot glue,
etc... Designing a classroom space? Make a small model. Approximate
furniture with found objects. Find some users to test it out. There are
myriad methods you can employ in your concept exploration -- but there
are a few rules of thumb to follow:
- The prototypes themselves aren't valuable -- at all -- but your
learnings are. Treat them as a means to an end and not the end
- Don't get emotionally attached to what you create. It'll only
hinder your process.
toward action! When in doubt, make something. Just do it! Thinking
There are a few places on campus with tools + people that will be
of great use to you in your prototyping:
- The d.school! Particularly the prototyping room
- The PRL: Craig Milroy and Dave Beach, as well as the Teaching
Assistants, are extremely helpful for physical projects.
- The SPDL
PROTOTYPE ACTIVITIES BASED ON SKILL LEVEL
1. Paper Prototype
1. Physical Prototype
2. looks like/works like
1. Role Playing
2. Story Boarding
3. Prototype to decide
4. Identify a variable
1. Prototype intangibles