How do you define a prototype [was:What tools do you use for prototyping?]

8 Nov 2007 - 12:46pm
6 years ago
7 replies
2976 reads
Todd Warfel
2003

Okay, so how do you define a prototype?

Here's my definition:

Regardless of its fidelity, functionality, or how it's made, a
prototype is a conceptual model that captures and communicates the
vision, intent, or idea of a design.

So, yes, in my opinion paper counts.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
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In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

Comments

8 Nov 2007 - 2:44pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Nov 8, 2007, at 9:46 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> Okay, so how do you define a prototype?

I'll stick with the dictionary definition.
"The original or model on which something is based or formed."

or...

"An original, full-scale, and usually working model of a new product
or new version of an existing product."

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

8 Nov 2007 - 7:48pm
.pauric
2006

Andrei, I dont necessarily disagree with your ideas on the difference
between and ideation sketch and a working rendering of those ideas.
However, I'd be very interested in your views on the following.

Lets say I create a design in omni, export that as a clickable pdf.
Still a prototype? now, what if I print that pdf out, no longer a
prototype in your view?

thanks - pauric

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=22323

8 Nov 2007 - 8:47pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

To answer the question (even though it was posed to Andrei :) ...

I would say no, once printed it's not a prototype. If the click
action of the omni prototype is integral to the final product, then
that click *must* be part of the prototype. Otherwise what are you
prototyping? Without some simulation of the interactivity of the
final product the prototype becomes a design.

On Thu, 8 Nov 2007 16:48:33, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
> Andrei, I dont necessarily disagree with your ideas on the difference
> between and ideation sketch and a working rendering of those ideas.
> However, I'd be very interested in your views on the following.
>
> Lets say I create a design in omni, export that as a clickable pdf.
> Still a prototype? now, what if I print that pdf out, no longer a
> prototype in your view?
>
> thanks - pauric

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
++
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com

8 Nov 2007 - 8:58pm
.pauric
2006

Thanks Matthew, leading on from that then, what if I facilitate that
lost clickability in a usability test, does it become some sort of
prototype again?

Where is the line drawn?

Yes, this is a pointless theoretical semantic nomenclature debate, I
guess what I'm getting at is that a 'document' should be defined by
its audience not the tools used to create it.

Its a huge 'it depends' on the context situation but in my mind its
superbly fruitless to base definitions on construction.

Its all about the use.

A car made of wood is still a car
http://www.tomstrongman.com/ClassicCars/JerryNickel/Index.htm
A house made of candy, is still a house
http://www.willcotton.com/paintingscans/candyhousezm.jpg

etc etc...

On Nov 8, 2007 8:47 PM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus <mattnl at gmail.com> wrote:
> To answer the question (even though it was posed to Andrei :) ...
>
> I would say no,

8 Nov 2007 - 9:06pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

That's all very true, and you make many great points.

However, a house made of candy shouldn't be used to test structural
stability under load. Just as a paper "prototype" shouldn't be used
to test an interactive product.

I should caveat my opinion by saying that you could use papery to
prototype *certain aspects* of an interactive product.. but if you're
trying to build a complete prototype it will never be fully realized
without an interactive medium.

It's not really about the tools used, as much as the medium used.

On Nov 8, 2007 8:58 PM, pauric analoguisation <pauric at analoguisation.com> wrote:
> Thanks Matthew, leading on from that then, what if I facilitate that
> lost clickability in a usability test, does it become some sort of
> prototype again?
>
> Where is the line drawn?
>
> Yes, this is a pointless theoretical semantic nomenclature debate, I
> guess what I'm getting at is that a 'document' should be defined by
> its audience not the tools used to create it.
>
> Its a huge 'it depends' on the context situation but in my mind its
> superbly fruitless to base definitions on construction.
>
> Its all about the use.
>
> A car made of wood is still a car
> http://www.tomstrongman.com/ClassicCars/JerryNickel/Index.htm
> A house made of candy, is still a house
> http://www.willcotton.com/paintingscans/candyhousezm.jpg
>
> etc etc...
>
>
> On Nov 8, 2007 8:47 PM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus <mattnl at gmail.com> wrote:
> > To answer the question (even though it was posed to Andrei :) ...
> >
> > I would say no,

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
++
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com

8 Nov 2007 - 9:19pm
.pauric
2006

Matthew "a house made of candy shouldn't be used to test structural
stability under load. Just as a paper "prototype" shouldn't be used
to test an interactive product."

I completely agree, but, I'll play the devil's advocate once more and
take that to the logical conclusion..

You can only properly test the final product, which is true, but not
entirely practical.

There's a lot more to simply labeling a document a prototype, mockup ,
spec, etc. There's annotations, coversheets, context & facilitation
(among many other things) that make a 'document'.

So, statements... if I may be so pointed.. such as 'you cant make
prototypes from paper' are fairly, whats the word...

thanks -p

8 Nov 2007 - 9:25pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

Agreed. Blanket statements are always wrong in certain cases :)

In the end it depends what you're trying to prototype.. interaction?
physical controls? physical objects? each will have different
requirements and be better suited to different mediums.

On Nov 8, 2007 9:19 PM, pauric analoguisation <pauric at analoguisation.com> wrote:
> Matthew "a house made of candy shouldn't be used to test structural
> stability under load. Just as a paper "prototype" shouldn't be used
> to test an interactive product."
>
> I completely agree, but, I'll play the devil's advocate once more and
> take that to the logical conclusion..
>
> You can only properly test the final product, which is true, but not
> entirely practical.
>
> There's a lot more to simply labeling a document a prototype, mockup ,
> spec, etc. There's annotations, coversheets, context & facilitation
> (among many other things) that make a 'document'.
>
> So, statements... if I may be so pointed.. such as 'you cant make
> prototypes from paper' are fairly, whats the word...
>
> thanks -p

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
++
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com

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