Join Turi McKinley for an in-depth discussion in this video Lo-fi prototyping, part of Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization.
- When a concept is made tangible we call it a prototype. And these can be quite low fidelity. In fact, the ability to rapidly and cheaply flesh out a concept to test and refine is often crucial for maintaining your momentum. Low fidelity prototypes are made with the materials at hand, often paper and should not take a long time to put together. Their goal is to iterate the idea with the team or gather input from people or stakeholders on a key moment in the product or service experience.
A key moment could be an app sign-in experience, or how information is laid out on a screen. Or the process of entering a theme park. And the low fidelity prototype should explore just enough to make it comprehensible. The first step in creating a low fidelity prototype is to determine what your team needs to explore in that prototype. And not everything is right for prototyping. For example, a core element of your concept might be the financial model and while this can be explored and modeled in a spreadsheet, perhaps what you really need to prototype with people is the service itself.
So focus your prototype attention there. Once you've selected what to prototype, use the materials available to you, like paper or foam to start sketching the concept. What do you want to show? What aspects of the experience can you skip to focus on the core interaction? And what can you make that doesn't require weeks of development. For example, the Frog Team is currently exploring how virtual reality can help burn victims manage their pain during debriding.
Through observation, the team realized that heavy headsets like the Oculus Rift can be uncomfortable. Initially, they explored how different materials could be used to reduce the weight. Through constant prototyping, they realized that the buckle can also be a problem for these patients because they're usually reclining. Now, they're prototyping different ways to secure the headset. That's an example of prototyping to help a team iterate an idea. And it's also useful to get input from real people.
For example, if you were prototyping a voice activated car system, you might have one of your teammates sit behind a screen to speak like the car to see how people react. Or if you're rethinking the aisle in a store, you might get a teammate to act out the new service interaction. People are often quite willing to suspend their expectations when prototypes are presented as sketches and performances. In a way they're not willing to do when a concept looks too real but fails to meet the interactivity expectations that realness sets.
Low fidelity prototypes make a concept tangible and can be done for all kinds of ideas, from service experiences to apps to software. They advance the thinking of the team by enabling the team to use the product and by enabling them to get feedback on the ideas as they evolve. A good, low fidelity prototype should be easily edited and changed and it should focus on just one or two key moments of an experience that are simple enough to enable people to see its just a sketch.
You'll find that when your team sketches and prototype as much as they sketch on a white board, you probably have a good culture of making base problem solving. Again, it takes practice. Find some examples of low fidelity prototypes that are appropriate to your industry and try them out, share them with the course community.
The course opens with a definition of design thinking, including the roles and spaces required for success. You will then learn how to be a good design thinking leader, with specific advice on topics from setting goals to engaging the different skill sets and personalities in the room (introverts and extroverts alike). Next, Turi dives into creative collaboration: the heart of design thinking. She covers planning, research, and concept creation, and explains how to create a "service blueprint" that will help make the design a reality. Chapter 4 introduces prototyping techniques to advance the design.
Design thinking is all about collaboration so we've integrated a LinkedIn Group called "Design Thinking: frog + Lynda.com course." Throughout the course, the author will suggest opportunities for you to share what you're learning. You'll be able to participate in course-related discussions through your web browser at https://linkedin.com/groups/7022790 or via the LinkedIn Groups app, which is available for most smartphones. This is a great way to expand your learning and get additional insights from other members taking the course.
- Defining design thinking
- Implementing a design thinking mindset and approach
- Leading design thinking
- Aligning the design team
- Managing creative flow
- Guiding collaboration
- Generating hypothesis
- Prototyping fast and often
- Making a culture change