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Determine What to Prototype

There are so many ways to prototype an idea. Here’s how to isolate what to test.

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Stats

Suggested Time

30 Minutes

Level of Difficulty

Moderate

Materials Needed

Pens, Post-its, paper

Participants

Design team


Process Phase

Your idea will have lots of testable components, so be clear about what you need to learn and which components will give you the necessary answers. Prototyping isn’t about being precious. Make simple, scrappy prototypes to not only save time, but to focus testing on just the critical elements. You might be trying to learn something like, “How big should this be?” or “What should the uniforms of the social enterprise look like?” At this stage you should have a lot of questions about how your idea should work. This is a great way to begin answering them.

Steps

  1. With your team, write down the key elements of your idea. Think practically about what needs to be tested and write down your primary questions for each component.
  2. Now pick a few questions to answer. If you want to prototype an interaction, consider putting on a skit with your team. If you’re testing a logo, print it out and stick it on a t-shirt to solicit feedback.
  3. Think through what kind of prototype makes the most sense to answer these questions. You might consider holding a Brainstorm now.
  4. Remember, this process is about learning, not getting it right the first time. Better to test a miserable failure and learn from it, rather than take ages making a beautiful, highly refined prototype.