Experience Prototyping

An Intro

Experience prototyping is the technique in which we use low fidelity prototypes which can be as simple as ones made in cardboard/paper to test out a concept with the actual target group. The basic tenet behind this method is that the risk of failing with these low fidelity prototypes is much less compared to a fully thought off and polished prototype. Traditionally, engineers and designers used to work for months to develop a fully polished prototype for a concept only to learn that when they tested it, it doesn’t work. Whereas this technique involves testing the basic concept from day 1 using paper and cardboard prototypes with the target users and using those learnings to further polish the concept and prototype. It helps in accelerating the learnings from the process and reduces the risk of wasting valuable time and resources.

Alix Gillet-Kirt and John Lynch

Our Teachers

Our super cool-fun teachers for this week were Alix Gillet-Kirt and John Lynch. Alix is the senior service and interaction designer at Fjord and was previously the lead interaction designer at CIID and has over 15+ years of experience in design. She follows a user-centric approach and engages with people through installations and prototypes to create impactful solutions.

John is a designer and technologist and works with the future possibilities that new technologies bring for people. He has a rich experience in working on smart cities and connected devices. He was previously the project lead at Future Cities Catapult. Moreover, Alix and John were also classmates in CIID in 2011.


CIID experience prototyping arvind sanjeev

Prototyping is eliminating bad ideas quickly in order to save money that can be used to put into ideas that are validated by users. This course allowed us to see the concept we developed from PCR (People Centred Research) in action through the several low fidelity prototypes we made. Each day we were able to test a cardboard version of our prototypes with people who we invited as well as with random people in the street of Nyhavn who wanted to participate. Our objective was to fail fast and fail early with these prototypes. Some tips and tricks to making these rough prototypes:

  1. Make sure the prototype isn’t too polished as it might make people uncomfortable in giving you bad feedback.
  2. Always leave blank or white spaces in the prototype which will allow people to suggest what kind of interface or signs can be used in those places.
  3. The prototypes should require the least amount of explanation as possible.
  4. The most successful prototypes are ones that still works when left unattended.


STORYTHREAD: Somayeh Ranjbar, Arvind Sanjeev, Matt Visco

Three different prototypes were built each day to test the research insight from the previous weeks. The insight was that Story Telling can be used for connecting people between generations. In the prototypes shown here, participants were prompted to add to a part of the story that were built by others. We tested several factors through these prototypes such as: location, medium of delivering the story, audience, etc. Moreover, at the end we presented all our prototypes and the learnings we got from testing each of them through a small exhibition on Friday.

Day 1: Story Zone

In the first day, the concept of storytelling was tested through two mediums: oral and written. In oral story telling, participants sat around a circle and engaged in collaborative storytelling by adding to a piece of the story told by the previous person.
In the second test, participants now had to write each part on a sticky note. This was done on a small piece of foam board having a picture that laid out the theme. It was then tested at the harbor in Nyhavn, people started interacting and adding their own parts to continue the story.

And the most exciting part was that this first prototype started working on its own without the need for any facilitation. We used to come back and check the board at regular intervals and will be surprised to find new pieces of stories added to the board. This was really weird according to our teachers because having a successful prototype so early in the process is not that common, hence they were encouraging us to fail more and be more experimentative.

Day 2: Story Thread

In the second day, two different stories were tested out with the public using 2 pictures as prompts. This was tested in three locations around Kongens Nytorv. Moreover, a Facebook page had also been created that would allow the participants to see how the story progressed. From this prototype we learned a lot around choosing locations for setting up the prototype, the pictures that act as prompts for stories and overall design.

Day 3: Story Thread (Audio)

In the third day, the medium of the entire concept was adapted to audio. Here, the stories were now being played through a wireless bluetooth speaker concealed in a board. Participants would be able to listen to the story through the speaker and if they wished to add to it, they could do so by recording their voice. This was the least successful prototype as it was really difficult to listen to the audio because of the busy street and traffic, we tried moving it around to quieter places but it still wasn’t effective in terms of pulling people closer to it.
Moreover, people were also reluctant to the idea of recording their voice as opposed to writing something on a sticky note.

Each of the prototypes provided significant learnings and overall helped in showing that written stories were much preferred over audio based ones. Based on these learnings, we merged the prototypes from Day 1 and Day 2 to create a final prototype which we exhibited on Friday.

This is just a short intro to my life at CIID, I will be publishing more posts on the different topics we learn as well as the projects we do through this blog. Furthermore, all the credits to the media content for this blog goes to the IDP class of 2017.Also, more projects from this class can be seen here: Experience Prototyping projects.

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