Someone sketches mobile interfaces onto paper

Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping is a method of (usually) low-fidelity prototyping that allows for multiple fast iterations based on user feedback. Rapid prototyping is not for the refinement of ideas, but for the early weeding-out of bad ideas and identification of good ideas. The model for Rapid Prototyping — design/test/refine/repeat — is meant to embed user feedback throughout the design process and continuously align the product definition with the user’s point of view.

Paper Prototyping is one possible route to rapid prototyping. Guerrilla Usability Testing and Rapid Prototyping are methods that work very well together when teams have limited usability testing resources available.

Category:
Description

Schedule Time & Gather Materials

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Schedule Time:

  • Time Needed: 5 Minutes – 6 Hours (depending on fidelity)
Gather Materials

Gather Materials:

  • A pen & a piece of paper OR
  • Design software, paper, and a printer OR
  • Tagboard, markers, glue, and pens OR
  • Prototyping software of choice

Carry Out This Method

  1. Collect information about user needs from stakeholders, test users, and/or market research.
  2. Identify a function, feature, or task flow that you want to prototype.
  3. Design the experience and create a testable prototype. This could be anything from a sketch on a napkin to an interactive high-fidelity experience, but low-fidelity prototypes are preferred because they are easier to create and modify for refining ideas.
  4. Show your prototype to “test users,” whether they are strangers in a mall or your friends and family.
  5. Based on their feedback, modify your prototype to address usability issues that have surfaced.
  6. Test this new version of your design and continue iterations. As your design’s issues are resolved, move up to higher fidelity prototyping techniques, getting your design closer to a near-finished form.

Try These Tips

Only build as much of a prototype as you need in order to test what you need to test. Do not be a perfectionist. The idea is multiple iterations done fast and cheap.

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