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The Process of Prototyping

Written by Juan Flores Documented by Darren Johnson & Juan Flores

Prototyping serves to provide specifications for a real, working system rather than a theoretical one

Why Garden on the Go? Last semester, Lisa Cole met with our class to discuss a program from IU Health. Garden on the Go is a program that provides convenient, affordable produce to various locations around Indianapolis. The program strives to improve life and prevent obesity. The objective for the project was to gain a new insight on who was utilizing Garden on the Go. After much observational and participatory research, we collected and structured our data to create six personas that cover different opportunity areas. I focused on accommodation for accessibility through layout design. This allowed me to form my how might we statement and structure my prototype sessions.


GENERATIVE PROTOTYPE SESSION 01 For my first session, I thought about a previous exercise where we came up with practical things that could go into a space and how they can be arranged. I provided a blank worksheet with a hallow rectangle and markers. I provided the background information of Garden on the Go and my HMW statement. I told my group what can and cannot be moved in the space and what objects are currently there. The purpose of this session was to gauge how people reacted to the limitations and what creativity can come out of it.


EXPERIENCE During the session, I realized I did not allow enough time to gather information that I would not have be able to gain through the drawings on the worksheet. My teaching method was more taught down rather than do and discuss thus there was a lot of quiet time and lack of dialogue.

FEEDBACK While I did not allow enough time for discussion, I did gain some valuable information. One person said they would like to had time to discuss their layout design with other people while they were creating it. Another person said that they left the layout of the same because what if you could not change it. During our debrief, another gem came through as a scenario; “Ask someone to form a building. Now ask someone to form a building between a library and a science building and you will get more feedback.�

GENERATIVE PROTOTYPE SESSION 02 From the previous feedback, I constructed this session that would allow my group to have fun, but also allow me to gain valuable information. I followed the idea that if we cannot change the layout, what else can we change? I thought the produce containers would be next thing we can modify or change. After gathering up some play-doh, I gave three prompts, each narrowing the scope from the previous one. Doing so allows for the whacky and outlandish ideas to flourish.


EXPERIENCE I gained very valuable information because I allowed everyone in the group to discuss their ideas while they were creating the containers. After each prompt, I noticed some of the people would take certain elements from another person’s previous idea and modify it to their idea of a container for that particular prompt. The feeling was overwhelmingly positive because everyone was having fun, people were laughing, but they were also creating things that could potentially become a solution.

FEEDBACK The main feedback I received was how my group was allowed to form something out of nothing and be able to interact with their creations. I realized that I missed the experience component to my prototyping session so I made sure to include it for my next one.

EVALUATIVE PROTOTYPE SESSION 01 Based on the feedback and the ideas from a few people, I structured this session to allow my group to experience what the audience I was targeting experienced while at Garden on the Go. I manufactured two containers, one generated from the last session and one that Garden on the Go currently uses. I had them sit really low in their chairs, and I put the containers on a high surface to give a dramatic effect for the viewing angle. I had one person stroll through to see which container he preferred, then we had a discussion about the pros and cons for the new prototype.


EXPERIENCE I realized that I forgot a few prompts which off-balanced the whole session. I meant to have everyone stroll through to see which container they preferred and the reasons why they chose that particular container. I had a lot of quiet time, and ended my session early. I realized I should had made the containers to scale so the experience would have been more dynamic.

FEEDBACK I did not receive much feedback from my group because there was some confusion on how I asked the questions or how I delivered the prompts. I did receive some good feedback on which container to choose and how to modify it to make the container relevant and appropriate for Garden on the Go.

REFLECTION My view on prototyping has changed during the course of this assignment. I now realize that prototyping happens in every step of the design process and how you demonstrate it is by the methods you use. While I had more fun with the generative than the evaluative prototyping, I gained much more knowledge from the evaluation. The background information, the prompts, the directions, the layout, the materials used for the session, and the methods all play a factor in the atmosphere and feedback for the session. I will take more time to consider the appropriateness and relevance of the methods I use to deliver the context for future prototype sessions. Doing so will allow ideas and creativity to flourish and for valuable information to be obtain.


Process of Prototyping  

A document showcasing a prototype assignment

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