Prototyping and user testing is the best way to create successful products, but many designers skip this important step and use gut instinct instead. By explaining the goals and methodologies behind prototyping—and demonstrating how to prototype for both physical and digital products—this practical guide helps beginning and intermediate designers become more comfortable with creating and testing prototypes early and often in the process.
Author Kathryn McElroy explains various prototyping methods, from fast and dirty to high fidelity and refined, and reveals ways to test your prototypes with users. You’ll gain valuable insights for improving your product, whether it’s a smartphone app or a new electronic gadget.
Learn similarities and differences between prototyping for physical and digital products
Know what fidelity level is needed for different prototypes
Get best practices for prototyping in a variety of mediums, and choose which prototyping software or components to use
Learn electronics prototyping basics and resources for getting started
Write basic pseudocode and translate it into usable code for Arduino
Conduct user tests to gain insights from prototypes
Chapter 1What Is a Prototype?
Everything Is a Prototype
Prototyping as a Mindset
Prototyping for Products
Chapter 2Why We Prototype
To Test and Improve
Chapter 3Fidelity for Prototypes
The Five Dimensions of Fidelity
Chapter 4The Process of Prototyping
Minimum Viable Prototype
Process in Action—An Etsy Case Study
Chapter 5Prototyping for Digital Products
Getting Started with Digital
What’s Unique for Digital
Low-Fidelity Digital Prototypes
Mid-Fidelity Digital Prototypes
High-Fidelity Digital Prototypes
They Got It Right—IBM MIL
Chapter 6Prototyping for Physical Products
Getting Started with Electronics
What’s Unique for Physical Products
Low-Fidelity Physical Prototypes
Mid-Fidelity Physical Prototypes
High-Fidelity Physical Prototypes
They Got It Right—Richard Clarkson
Chapter 7Testing Prototypes with Users
Planning the Research
Conducting the Research
Synthesizing the Research
Chapter 8Pulling It All Together—SXSW Tasting Experience
Kathryn McElroy is an Advisory Designer for the IBM Mobile Innovation Lab, in Austin, Texas. She is an award-winning designer and photographer, and is passionate about near-future technology and building electronics and smart objects. She has published tutorials and articles about her projects in Make Magazine, Fast Company, and Timeout New York, and she regularly speaks about design thinking, prototyping, and user experience design.
The animal on the cover of Prototyping for Designers is an Australasian swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus), known as a pukeko in the Maori language. These birds are found on mainland Australia, Indonesia, the Moluccas, Aru, and Kai Islands, and Papua New Guinea.
Swamphens that live in New Zealand are generally larger than those on mainland Australia.Swamphens are clumsy upon takeoff and landing, and so often respond to being threatened by walking away rather than flying. They live in groups of 3–12, and are known to shriek loudly to defend their nests from Australasian harrier attacks. If unsuccessful at warding off predators, they may abandon the nest altogether.
Because of its reddish face, beak, and legs, the swamphen is revered in many island cultures such as the Maori in New Zealand and in Samoa, where the color red is associated with nobility and power. It’s also present in Maori mythology and metaphor: a person who is considered a pukeko is stubborn and annoying, much like the swamphens that raid gardens for sweet potato and taro.
In New Zealand, swamphens are protected as native gamebirds and can be hunted only under license. However, they are not considered good food; their meat is sinewy and tough.
Many of the animals on O’Reilly covers are endangered; all of them are important to the world. To learn more about how you can help, go to animals.oreilly.com.
The cover image is from a black and white engraving from Meyers Kleines Lexicon. The cover fonts are URW Typewriter and Guardian Sans. The text font is Scala Regular; the heading font is Gotham Narrow Medium; and the code font is TheSansMonoCd Regular.
Enjoyed the first draft; looking forward to final book!
About Me Designer, Educator
Easy to understand
Comments about oreilly Prototyping for Designers:
I recently read a manuscript of this forthcoming book as a technical reviewer. Although the illustrations were not yet available, each chapter was relatively complete, in draft form. I found it clear, informative, and generally thorough in covering key concepts to help people with ideas make them tangible. Although specifics on coding and prototyping applications are not detailed, all of the key considerations and many helpful tips and resources are included. I feel this book will help new digital designers to have a practical structure within which to plan their work. Additionally, it will empower practicing industrial designers to experiment with, and prototype, the electronic workings of their smart devices and tethered apps. As an instructor, I also feel it will become a helpful resource to my students in their ongoing endeavors. And as a design consultant, this book, once published, will be a useful addition to the library at my firm. I look forward to seeing the final version, particularly with visual elements reinforcing the well-articulated concepts. As a work in progress, I would give the book five stars on the assumption that compelling visuals will effectively support the direction of the good content.
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
Prototyping is a valuable part of the design process, if nothing else for the time it saves. Being able to validate an idea with a substantially lower cost is a great thing that can save a lot of time and trouble—unfortunately it's a practice that's absent from many companies.
Everything in this book (especially the case studies) will definitely make it easier to convince others of the value of prototyping.
I also loved that this wasn't just about digital prototypes. Learning how this process applies to physical products is just as exciting.
I look forward to seeing the final version!
(I was a technical reviewer for this book)
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
Though this was an early release that is "raw and incomplete", two chapters and a preface is not at all enough of a product to review.
I'm afraid I will avoid Early Releases from now on as I had not expected so raw and incomplete product. I would humbly suggest in the future to wait to early release a product that is a little closer to being ready.
I look forward to the final release of the product, or an update that has a little more than two chapters.
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Merchant response: "The early release has been updated with new and revised chapters. Figures will be posted once they are finalized and permissions have been received."