Just found out I’ll be teaching a half-day tutorial on paper prototyping at the Agile 2008 conference in Toronto. Dates are August 4th-8th, 2008.
I’ll be speaking on a panel about agile and prototyping at the Webdesign International Festival on Friday, April 18th.
From the site:
“The new professional practices of design: professional communities and methodological tools
At the time of the social Web based on collective cooperation and intelligence, new strategies, methods and techniques are appearing that allow constant innovation. The round table will focus on the following question: through their approach based on cooperation and the central role given to the user, how is the development of the agile web and interaction design revolutionising design methods and actual website strategies ?”
I’m on a panel discussing practical prototyping at the IA Summit Sunday, April 13th. I’m fortunate to share the panel with some talented individuals including Chris Conley, Anders Ramsey, and Jed Wood.
From the Summit site:
“Prototypes are a great way to involve customers early in the design and development process. With the decreasing barrier to entry and an increasing availability of tools today, like Flash, Fireworks, iRise, Expression, and an endless supply of JS/AJAX libraries prototyping should be in every interaction designers’ toolbox. So, why isn’t prototyping as common place in software development as it is in industrial design and architecture? The failure to include prototyping is rarely due to lack of skills with the tools, but instead naiveté about the kinds of prototypes to make and how to use them productively with colleagues and users.
This panel brings together a seasoned group of practitioners to discuss various methods for prototyping with a focus on why we don’t prototype in software as much as we should and why we should be doing it more. We’ll also discuss what’s available today that makes it more accessible and easier today than it was a few years ago (e.g. JS/AJAX libraries, tools like Expression, Flash, Fireworks, iRise) and how to make better decisions about picking the right kind of prototype for the job.”
I’m headed to Limoges, France April 17-19 to discuss prototyping and agile at the Webdesign International Festival (WiF). Looks like a really interesting and fun conference. FYI, the site has audio when you launch it. So, if you’re at work, you might want to turn down your speakers.
I’m teaching a workshop on paper prototyping at the IxDA conference in Savannah, GA Friday, Feb 8th. In doing some preparation, I came across this example on YouTube.
Adobe has a demo video of a new prototyping environment they’ve been working on called Thermo and it looks pretty promising.
There’s a pretty good discussion on the IxDA list regarding prototypes, what constitutes a prototype, what the goals are, etc. When I asked what tools people are using for prototyping, I received a long list of responses. One of the most interesting came from a respondent who didn’t feel paper is a prototyping medium, but rather a design medium. Personally, I disagree with the notion of paper not being a prototyping tool—I’ve taught a number of workshops on it and use paper for prototyping in my work as a design researcher.
However, without actually defining what constitutes a prototype, it’s rather difficult to say whether paper can be considered a prototyping tool or not. So, here’s a few excerpts from my upcoming book that address the issue of defining a prototype:
[…] First, on an individual basis our definitions and descriptions of what constitutes a “prototype” vary greatly. Prototypes have been described as hi-fidelity, lo-fidelity, functional, nonfunctional, paper, Flash®, HTML, interactive, non-interactive, click-through, garden variety walk-through, cognitive walk-through—the list just keeps going.
Second, as a collective whole, prototypes share one thing—they are often incomplete. […]
When I refer to a prototype, I’m referring to something that, from my book, “regardless of its fidelity, functionality, or how it’s made, a prototype is a conceptual model that captures and communicates the vision, intent, or idea of a design.”
How would you define a prototype?
Prototypes can serve a number of purposes. Here’s the five primary roles a prototype can take on. Keep in mind that a prototype can take one more than one of these roles at a time.
- As a common communication platform–using them to get everyone on the same page, avoiding misinterpretation of ideas, using them as a method to show and tell.
- Work through a design–for designers and developers, prototypes act as a way to work through your design solution, giving you the ability to evaluate a few different options, tweak them, and come up with the best one.
- Sell your idea internally–using them to sell your design solution to internal stake holders like senior management, other designers, or the engineering team.
- Gauge technical feasibility–designers want to do X, but can engineering do it? Do we have the resources? Is it worth the effort?
- As a marketing tool–while similar to number 3, this is for an external audience.
His motivation was pretty simple, “Prototyping is too hard for non-techies.”
Great work, Bill.
One of the advantages of prototyping is the ability to work through a design concept. A team at Ford discuss the design thinking behind their Verve concept car. Pay attention around 1:25 left. You’ll see a guy prototyping rims for the car. It’s an interesting look at combining sketching and prototyping.
What can apply from this to software prototyping?