Analyzing the Concept of Prototyping

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Analyze the concept and importance of quick and dirty (low fidelity) prototyping, and how it fits within the Design Thinking approach

Prototyping

This lesson will illustrate the importance and methods of quick and dirty prototyping. Learn to build functional prototypes with minimal resources, gather feedback, and iterate for improvement.

What is Low Fidelity Prototyping?

Quick and dirty prototyping is a fundamental concept in the Design Thinking process where early ideas are brought to life in a tangible form for testing and iteration in the Prototype phase. It emphasizes speed and low-cost materials to allow for rapid iteration and learning.

Low Fidelity Prototype

Rapid prototype to test the initial appeal and actual usage of a potential new solution by simulating its core experience with the smallest possible investment of time and money.

Note
Validation starts with low fidelity prototypes!

High Fidelity Prototype

It is an early sample or model built that mimics a final solution, to understand how it works, feels, and looks like.

Note
High Fidelity Prototypes typically evolve out of low fidelity prototypes!

Why is Quick and Dirty Prototyping Important?

The main aim is not to create a perfect end product but to test as many possibilities as quickly as possible. With tangible prototypes, designers can gather user feedback, reveal unforeseen user needs, and iterate designs based on this feedback.

Techniques for Quick and Dirty Prototyping

A wide array of materials can be used, varying from sketches, sticky notes, clay, cardboard, straws, or any other low-fidelity, cheap materials that can bring your ideas to life in a rapid and flexible fashion.

User Testing and Iteration

This Prototype phase involves presenting the prototype to users and stakeholders, collecting their feedback, and using this feedback to refine and improve the prototype. Remember that it's not about perfection at this stage. It's about learning, improving, testing again, and iterating continuously.

Communication

Prototypes are also a great way of communicating ideas and concept within the team and stakeholders. It can express an idea more clearly than just verbally explaining it.

A Glimpse of the Next Phase

After successful and multiple iterations of your prototypes, we move on to the ‘Test’ phase in the Design Thinking process. It involves rigorous testing with a broader audience and more refined prototypes.

Note
Homework: Think of an idea for a simple product improvement and create a quick and dirty prototype of it using readily available materials. Record what you learn from your prototype.

In the next lesson Diversity and Inclusiveness in Ideation we will explore the role diversity plays in ideation and how to foster an inclusive environment in a Design Thinking workshop.

Additional References - Quick and Dirty Prototyping

Impossible Design: Fostering Creativity by Quick and Dirty Prototyping

Source: DRS Digital Library - Learn X Design Conference Series: Impossible Design: fostering creativity by quick and dirty prototyping (designresearchsociety.org)

Overview: Understand the importance and methods of quick and dirty prototyping. Learn how to build functional prototypes with minimal resources, gather feedback, and iterate for improvement.

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