Join Turi McKinley for an in-depth discussion in this video Prototyping spaces, part of Learning Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization.
- Products and services today often exist beyond a single screen or the edges of a physical product. They exist in spaces, in environments, in journeys over time. Journey mapping and low fidelity prototyping are great ways to make concepts tangible over time and in hand. But when you move beyond the scale of the hand, you need to start prototyping in spaces. Experiences that happen in spaces or over time are less tangible than an object you can hold, and people often struggle with the abstraction needed to understand an experience that will happen in these spaces.
Prototyping experiences that happen over time is often done with a video or performance or other sketch techniques and makes these experiences tangible and allows the team and potential users to understand them on their own terms and articulate that understanding to others. For example, Frog worked with a startup rethinking how the old payphone infrastructure could be reimagined to meet the evolving needs of the urban landscape. That's super abstract.
We were asking folks to imagine a world where the payphone had been replaced by something that would be meaningful in a way that the cellphone, which had replaced the payphone, isn't. The team needed to think about how this new object and new experience would impact the urban landscape, how it would be used by a wide range of people, and how it would function under many different situations from Hurricane Sandy to the New York marathon as much as in everyday use.
The team made fast prototypes to explore all those questions. From rough foam core models taken onto the street to see how the scale plays out to rough mock-ups of the screens that were shared with potential users to talk about how the service would work and even a video showing how the service could change in different situations and lots more along the way. When you're making to explore a service or experience that's happening beyond the scale of the hand, your laptop, or your phone, consider these four things.
The first is people. Think about the range of people who will be in the space and the needs, perceptions, and behaviors they'll bring to that experience. The second is flow. This is the movement of people and other factors through the experience. This will often involve observation and thinking about factors as diverse as weather or end of shift's changes in staff. You also want to think about the objects in the space.
Those are the physical elements of the space including both those that you're going to create as part of the design effort and those that are existing or will be introduced in the future into the space. The fourth are the situations. This is the meaning and intentions of the existing space and why the new experience exists and how it will be in used. Prototyping becomes increasingly important as teams need to explore ideas with tangible models that allow for flow, scale, and consideration of the situation to be explored.
Teams are often tempted to jump towards greater and greater specificity as they start making larger and larger experiences, but just as in low fidelity prototypes, the goal is to keep the prototype a sketch, something raw that can be quickly changed and iterated by the team. Use foam core over metal or a performance over a coded interaction and get real people in and encourage them to change things with you.
Experiences that happen over time do need to be expressed clearly with journey maps, story boards, and other tools that are all very useful, but when the experience goes into a space, a city street, a retail environment, or a theme park, it's necessary to sketch in 4 dimensions those models and their use over time. When you're designing for experiences that happen in a particular environment, make sure you get off the paper and off the whiteboard, and go prototype in scale.
Go build something.
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