Strike a Blow for Lo-fi Prototypes!

By Caroline Arvidsson

Low fidelity prototyping as a step of the design process might seem like a time-consuming expense for clients. But it’s an effort well-spent — for clients and for the designers themselves. Testing your concepts both in shape and functionality with users is a fundamental method when ensuring a concept’s developmental path — even if it means an unexpected turn or that you have to toss the idea you initially believed in. In the end you will have a more sustainable and feasible design in your hand, and tests that assure your client of the best road to follow and what’s more likely to be successful.

That’s why the consulting team spent half a day making low fidelity prototypes in house this week. Putting our craft skills and fast thinking at the focus, we were divided into teams of two. With the help of experience sketching cards (see attached open source pdf) each team picked a noun and adjective to inspire a concept name and experience prototype. One team got light pay. (When you use your phone to transfer money, the phone gets lighter — when you receive money, it gets heavier.) Another group got fear transportation.

Without judging the brilliancy of the concepts, the studio environment turned into a loud and lively workshop, as the teams built prototypes against the clock. Paper screens, fishline on phones, posters and Lego became prototypes of our concepts. In one sunny hour we tested how our concepts were received by people passing in the nearby harbour surroundings.

Low fidelity prototypes aren’t usually beautiful, and there goal isn’t to work as a fully functioning solution — they are used as a methodological tool, to visualise and explain an idea and get those initial reactions from users. Having half a day once in a while is a great way to allow the team to think and build prototypes freely, focussing on the actual craft and communication of the prototype and less about the final concept.

Feel free to download the CIID experience sketching cards

Originally published at on May 13, 2015.

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