Prototyping Process Blog: Giving it a try!

My colleague and I creating an interaction flowchart for our prototype. (Photo courtesy of Studio AC Course Assistant (CA).)

This week we practiced prototyping, and I took multiple steps to go from learning about my littleBits kit to generating my first prototype with a colleague. First, we took inventory and explored the available parts of the smart home littleBits kit. Then, we learned of the 3 scenarios and each of their design spaces and chose to design for the owners of overweight pets scenario. We brainstormed solutions to the design challenge which was how to encourage pets to exercise and have a good diet when owners are not home and narrowed down on the idea of requiring the pet to exercise before he/she could eat. We chose this concept because we thought it was a creative, fun idea. We then tried to make a prototype that could achieve the goal of providing exercise and diet for a dog/cat while the owner was away, using our littleBits parts. We experimented with some parts like the number counter and the mp3, switching them and seeing which configuration was most effective for our purposes because there would be more lag the further the input was from the outputs.

Colleague and I putting together part of our prototype, B.O.O.P. (Photo courtesy of Studio AC CA.)

The major steps we took to create our prototype, which I named B.O.O.P for Busy Owners of Overweight Pets, were ideate a concept, create a prototype to fulfill the concept, then reflect and critically analyze its usability, feasibility, and desirability.

Part of the ideation process for our prototype concerning busy owners with overweight pets. (Photo courtesy of Nina Kim.)

What went well was my colleague and I thought of an idea that we were excited for and our enthusiasm helped us think more deeply and creatively when making our prototype. What we could’ve done better was consider the downsides or possible faults with our concept before prototyping because we were slightly blinded by our imaginations so after creating it we realized it wasn’t very feasible or usable.

Click here for the video presentation of the prototype, B.O.O.P.

In Reflection

I thought it was a fun experience even though we didn’t come up with a very successful prototype in the end. This sprint made me wonder if prototyping is a pretty expensive investment most of the time because I realized the first prototype most likely needs a lot of fixes. A problem I encountered was switching from my creative, right-side thinking to the more logical left-side thinking when making our prototype. Next time, I would make sure to critically analyze the possible faults in my concept before prototyping for it.

Wild Card: What are some insights you’ve gained from your final sprint?

Prototyping can be very fun because you can try out innovative ideas. And it’s kind of like playing with cool, new toys that you yourself make. I also learned it can be hard to go from a concept to a prototype as there are many ways to design a prototype to fulfill a certain function.

Colleagues enjoying exploring the littleBits electronic parts. (Photo courtesy of Studio AC CA.)
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