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How to get the most out of your prototypes

How to get the most out of your prototypes

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand meetings. But how do you get the most from your prototype?

In this talk, Mark gives examples of how prototypes have been used to change the direction of an organisation, challenge assumptions and persuade people of things they would never have believed to be true. He shows how to use a prototype to get to the heart of your problem and offers his top tips for choosing the right prototype for any given problem.

Mark Skinner

March 14, 2019

Other Decks in Design


  1. How to get the most out of your prototypes Mark

    Skinner @MarkSkinner_
  2. Story about how Nick Swinmurn looked to answer the ‘will

    people buy shoes online’ question before getting buy-in in his online shoe website, later sold as Zappos to Amazon for $1.2 Billion
  3. Goals of the talk: Get more people prototyping
 Reframe how

    people talk about prototypes
 Give tips and tricks for prototypes
  4. What is a prototype? So… What is a prototype?!

  5. Standard, high fidelity click throughs Look like apps / websites

 Work like apps / websites
  6. Invision Sketch Figma HTML & CSS Atomic Flinto Fluid UXPin

    Framer Marvel Justinmind Keynote Adobe XD etc. etc. Some of the tools that allow us to prototype in this way…
  7. Lower fidelity wireframe style prototypes Some with real content, others

    with lorem ipsum content
 Looking to understand structure and goals of the website, rather than full working
  8. Axure Omnigraffle Balsamiq Mockingbird wireframe.cc Mockflow Canvas Excel Tools for

    these types of prototypes
  9. Paper prototypes Even lower fidelity
 Roughness of ideas

  10. Paper Post-its Sharpies Scissors Glue Cellotape Stencils Device frames The

    tools for paper prototyping…
  11. Medium articles back up that most of the conversation around

    prototyping is relating to this… This is a problem. This needs reframing
  12. A prototype is a tool to explore, evaluate, or communicate

    a future idea and assess if it’s worth pursuing… My definition of a prototype… Not exactly pithy or rolls of the tongue
  13. Prototyping = 
 Time travel + learning tool Better, shorter

    definition A way to see something that doesn’t exist
 and learn about it Use it to make better decisions, and reduce risk
  14. This meets the definition

  15. So does this

  16. And this

  17. But also this… Service prototypes, in the field, to understand

    implementations of touch points in locations
  18. Or these… Toys to mock up services - including human

    to human interactions, and journeys through a service Rather than just digital touch points
  19. And this… Rough prototypes to understand if the palm pilot

    being designed was the right size! “Is this too big…”
  20. Dropbox’s video “Are people interested in this service before we

    build it”
  21. And another… James Dyson making 5,127 prototypes before he made

    the version he wanted to launch!
  22. A story prototype (Angus Lowe champions this) Letting people edit

    the story to match the wording to their model of the world
  23. Airbus building a plane interior!

  24. A prototype is a tool to explore, evaluate, or communicate

    a future idea and assess if it’s worth pursuing… Diving into this a bit more… Prototypes are tools that let us 
 Explore, Evaluate, or communicate ideas
 Help us make decisions if we should move forward, pivot, or leave behind
  25. Learn through 
 making Learn through 
 research Learn through

 sharing Explore Evaluate Communicate Breaking down explore, evaluate, and communicate.. 
 All 3 methods are valid uses of prototypes, not just one of them!
  26. Case study - Co-op bank Using prototype to reduce risk

    and alleviate fears around specific solutions
  27. Volunteer Listener Participant Caller Case study - Samaritans Having a

    conversational prototype to test the questions we need to answer
  28. Case study - American insurer Changing the direction of a

    project, through the use of prototypes
  29. When to prototype So, when to prototype? What time in

    a project
 What’s the value / business case
  30. Choose the 
 right solution to 
 fix it Identify

 right problem to 
 solve Deliver the 
 in the right way Good for choosing right solution
 Good for delivering solutions There are better methods to identifying right problem to solve
  31. Products Services Tools And more… Processes Useful for all types

    of design work. Not just products!
  32. You can use an eraser on the drafting table or

    a sledge hammer on the construction site. FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT Cost of change increases as you get further into a project. Answer the big questions up front using throw away prototypes!
  33. REDUCE RISK Prototypes help reduce risk. Risk of misunderstanding, risk

    of lack of engagement, risk of building it wrong etc.
  34. Questions before 
 you begin The questions to ask before

    a prototype or question needs answering
  35. What? How? Why? • What are you looking to learn?

    • Can you learn it using a prototype? • Are there secondary uses for it? • What are you not looking to learn? Start with why Ask these questions to understand WHY you should prototype
  36. What? How? Why? • How will it be used? •

    Is it for exploring, evaluating, or communicating an idea? • What skills do the team have? • When is it needed by? • How realistic does it need to be? • Do you know enough to make it efficiently? Answer how you will be doing it next…
  37. What? How? Why? • What is the best prototype for

    the situation? • What is the best tool to make that prototype? • What will give us the best return for the smallest effort? Based on Why and How… THEN what you’ll be doing
  38. Thanks! mark.skinner@cxpartners.co.uk @MarkSkinner_ If a picture is worth a thousand

    words — A prototype is worth a thousand meetings. If there are no other reasons… prototypes help reduce the number of meetings you need to have!