Thursday — Prototype

Shit! Where did the week go?

How is it Thursday already? Time has worked its wicked magic once more. Here we are nudging up against the weekend and you still need to make a prototype, test it, get feedback, and reflect on the whole process.

There’s plenty of time 😅

Today’s an awesome day. The most fun day. Prototyping day. It’s when you get to bring together all of the work from the last 3 days, all that clarity and convergence, and turn it into something real. Or at least something that feels real to the people you’re testing it on.

Here are a couple of top tips for prototyping, after working with hundreds of teams at this stage. I guess you guys are spending lots of time editing film today. But the principles all still apply.

#1 — Don’t waste time on the small stuff

It’s easy to get obsessed with the small details at this stage. Feeling like you have to get the colour right, or the font, or that specific image. It doesn’t matter. What you’re aiming for is an overall feeling and flavour of the final product.

You’ve got to trick your audience into thinking that you’re presenting something finished and polished, when in actual fact it’s just held together with tape and glue.

How can you cut corners to get stuff done faster? Use all of your ingenuity to make it happen.

#2 — Talk to each other!

The absolute worst thing you can do now is to let communication break down. It’s so easy to do as the prototyping frenzy begins. People get caught up in their own focused work and forget to check in with everyone else. This leads to a disjointed, confused final product and presentation. I’ve seen it so many times before.

Often you’ll get one person who presents and thinks they know the product more than anyone else. It’s important that everyone has an equal and shared understanding of what you guys have made.

How can you keep communication open? How can you remove egos from this part of the process?

#3 — Remove as much as you can

For some reason, this is often the stage where people throw every idea they have together and end up creating a confused mess of a product. There’s often a strong central concept, but, left to their own devices, people have to get their own little idea in, or put their spin on certain things.

Don’t let this happen.

Your storyboard from yesterday should be your bible. You should have done all the work that you need to back then, to ensure that all you need to do now is make the thing. There should be no confusion at all about the product you’re creating together.

If there is still confusion, then stop, sit down, and sort it out.

This relentless addition of new ideas is kind of inevitable. So you guys have to self-police. Remove as much as you can from the final product. Make it simpler that you think you need to.

It reminds me of an old quote from Blaise Pascal:

“Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.”

(“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”)

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