Chapter 12: Design, Prototyping and Construction
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The main goals of this chapter are to accomplish the following:
- Describe prototyping and the different types of prototyping activities.
- Enable you to produce simple prototypes from the models developed during the
- Enable you to produce a conceptual model for a product and justify your choices.
- Explain the use of scenarios and prototypes in design.
- Introduce both physical computing kits and software development kits and their role
Design, prototyping, and construction fall within the Develop phase of the double diamond
of design, introduced in Chapter 2, “The Process of Interaction Design,” in which solutions
or concepts are created, prototyped, tested, and iterated. The final product emerges iteratively
through repeated design-evaluation-redesign cycles involving users, and prototypes facilitate
this process. There are two aspects to design: the conceptual part, which focuses on the
idea of a product, and the concrete aspect, which focuses on the details of the design. The
former involves developing a conceptual model that captures what the product will do and
how it will behave, while the latter is concerned with the details of the design, such as menu types, haptic feedback, physical widgets, and graphics. The two are intertwined, and concrete
design issues will require some consideration in order to prototype ideas, and prototyping
ideas will lead to an evolution of the concept.
For users to evaluate the design of an interactive product effectively, designers prototype
their ideas. In the early stages of development, these prototypes may be made of paper and
cardboard, or ready-made components pulled together to allow evaluation, while as the
design progresses, they become more polished, tailored, and robust so that they resemble
the final product.
This chapter presents the activities involved in progressing a set of requirements through
the cycles of prototyping and construction. The next section explains the role and techniques
of prototyping and then explores how prototypes may be used in the design process. The
chapter ends by discussing physical computing and software development kits (SDKs), which
provide a basis for construction.