Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Art of the Conceptual Prototype

Sorting out ideas with a conceptual prototype ...

"At Blink, we are sometimes hired to create a conceptual prototype for a product that is in the very early requirements stage. Usually, the product does not yet have internal funding for development and one goal of the prototype is to secure that funding. The prototype may also be shown to trusted customers to get their feedback on the concept.

Conceptual prototypes are often very interesting projects because the ideas are leading edge. But they also present some unique challenges compared to more traditional projects where we are designing for actual implementation.

The first challenge is that the idea for the system may only be a glimmer in somebody's eye. The usual questions we ask up-front in a project to help understand the purpose of the system may not yet have answers. The answers to key questions may be a flat "we don't know" or "it could be x, but it might be y."

As a result of this ambiguity, our discovery phase can turn into more of a treasure hunt, assembling and reconciling the scraps of information that are available. The resulting picture of the system is usually incomplete, with conflicts and missing pieces.

To help flesh out a vision of the system, we often put the information we do have into a mind map."    (Continued via Blink Interactive)    [Usability Resources]

Conceptual Prototype - Usability, User Interface Design

Conceptual Prototype

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