Rapid Prototyping: Deliver an experience, not a document.

Integrating RAPID PROTOTYPING throughout the design process.

Concept delivery in various fields -

BUYING COOKIES FROM A SUPERMARKET

Keeping the product on a shelf vs Free sample tasting

Free sample tasting enables the customers:

  • Taste the cookie and not just see it. 
    What the cookie is meant for- is eating it, just looking at it and buying doesn’t justify its purpose.
  • Get an experience of the cookie, and produce opinions about it. 
    “I loved the taste”
    “Its a bit weird towards the end”
    “Yuck, I hated the flavour of coconut”

RENTING / BUYING A HOUSE

Looking at the floor plan vs Visiting the sample apartment.

  • Looking at the floor plan gives you an overview of the apartment. But physically visiting it lets you experience it in its natural state- bricks and mortar.
  • Judgement Comparison
    Floor Plan: “20 ft x 20 ft, room is quite big” (Logic)
    Visiting: “The room is big. It feel so spacious.” (Logic + Experience)

Belonging to digital world, how do you deliver your designs?

JPEG ?
PDF ?
HTML ?
Mock-ups ?


The Concern(s)

How do you explore & try broad range of possibilities? 🌊
Within given timelines?  
How do you put them together to communicate clearly and present well?
🎀
In a way that the stakeholders can decode the concepts and think through thoroughly…
🤔
In a nutshell, is your deliverable practical, and consumption friendly to humans?

How could you deliver an experience without packaging it as an experience? 😮

Restraints are born.

We design and deliver the experience without packaging it as experience. We forget that it is to be reviewed/approved and validated by humans.

LIMITED EXPLORATIONS

We explore and try multiple ideas throughout the process before concluding on one- regarding concepts, design language, visuals. 
But it may get a little tricky when it is about Information Architecture and workflow. We usually lack a medium to explore and test the possibilities and freeze at a solution without even exploring enough.

COMPACT TIMELINES AND PLANNING

In real world, it is very difficult to integrate a new step in the existing process because of fast moving projects, tight timelines and planned deadlines.

OPEN-ENDED INTERPRETATION

We rely on the assumption that our designs are clearly communicated from our side so there is desirable interpretation produced among the stakeholders. All or some of them might not excel in visualising and connecting the dots. This might lead to misunderstanding, unsure decisions- which causes more and more iterations later in the design process.

SHORTFALL OF EMPATHY

During idea validation at each stage of the design process, the empathy factor can only be assumed until you reach formal user testing. We move forward with out human-centered design on the basis of assumptions.


The Solution = Rapid Prototype.


Why Prototype, though?

CLOSE TO REAL

Most of the people involved in the project are not good at visualizing. When you put things into a prototype, a lot of important questions, answers, decisions take place.

EASY VALIDATION

It helps in validating the solutions / design / behaviours that were imagined by the designer. It can also help in finding scenarios that could have been missed out.

FAST AND EARLY FEEDBACK

If you observe people using a prototype, you can get very interesting feedback very early on in the project. This can help in saving the cost of changing things in the product after it is developed.

CONFIDENCE ALONG THE WAY

All the stakeholders get confidence to invest their time and energy onto something which looks promising after they or even potential users have shown interest in. Serves as a positive motivation.

A DOCUMENTATION WHICH IS ALIVE

Just like movies are one of the best ways to tell a story, prototypes are one of the best ways to communicate the experience. Everyone can be on same page and can refer to this live document.


Whose gain?

CLIENT

Get a validation weather the brief is interpreted in the way they wanted.

DEVELOPER

An easily understandable reference which is handy.

DESIGNER

Explore and test at regular intervals throughout the design process. Know its right before moving forward.


Conclusion

Rapid Prototype not as an added step to the design process.
But as an advanced medium to deliver the designs in each phase of the design process. Have a look at the design process, that we follow at Aubergine.

Rapid Prototype slides in the design process very smoothly without meddling with your resources, timelines or planning- helps you take concrete decisions at each step- so when you move forward- you are sure.

Will be sharing a critical aspect of Prototypes in further articles:
How to keep it rapid?
When to prototype?
Types of prototype?
What tool to use?
etc.

Happy (Rapid) Prototyping!

Co-Authored by bhaktidudhara