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Introduction to Prototyping

Prototyping is an important part of design thinking as it starts to make our ideas real. Watch Jeremy Suisited and learn more.

Prototyping for design thinking

A prototype is a way of showing our ideas in a tangible way very early on. Prototype as a word comes from the Greek prototypes which mean “first impression”.

During the prototyping phase, we start to make our potential solutions real so that we can get feedback from our stakeholders.

Initial prototyping

It is important to note that initial prototypes of ideas are quickly built and are inexpensive. This is known as low fidelity prototyping where the purpose is to learn and not to sell ideas.

As we gather feedback they slowly change and refine into higher fidelity prototypes OR the idea may stop being investigated completely as we find they may not achieve what we first thought.

The benefits of prototyping

Curedale (2016) page 445 lists the benefits of the prototyping stage.

  1. Prototyping helps to detect and fix early problems
  2. They can be built fast, and cheaply
  3. Prototyping enables the user to build, observe, and learn quickly
  4. Prototyping enhances collaboration within a team and enables everyone to visualise the same idea
  5. Prototypes allow feedback from users quickly
  6. Prototypes are able to be iterated easily

These benefits help us to understand the “why” behind prototyping. A representation of our idea helps us to explain our prototype to people.

It helps us to ask questions and develop solutions simultaneously. It helps us invite honest feedback from our stakeholders as they see something that is quick and fast rather than refined and finished.

Curedale, R. (2016). Design thinking: process & methods (4th edition). Los Angeles, CA: Design Community College.
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