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  • Writer's pictureDiksha Pandey

Prototyping - 4 Stage of Design Thinking

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

What Is Prototype Process?

The prototype can be defined as a prop that invites your customers to experience your idea and help you transform your idea into a meaningful product a service. It allows the team to test your idea quickly and improve it as quickly as possible.

A prototype is quick, rough, cheap, and useful for early-stage testing and learning. What kind of prototype must be developed depends on the nature of the product or service you are dealing with.

Sometimes a prototype could be sketching or sometimes a physical tangible idea that could be tested at its best when touched. For example, mobile phones could give a better experience when you hold them in your hand and use it rather than a sketch.

Before implementation of the idea planning and testing are done in order to minimize cost and risk. It is one of the best ways to gain insights into a design thinking process.

Prototyper is often used in the final testing phase in the design thinking process. Prototyping is done to check whether the solution is satisfactory for the end-user or not.

To know more

What Are The Methods Of Prototyping In Design Thinking?

Prototyping is done on the basis of the nature and features of the product or service. Generally, prototyping can be done by two methods:

Low Fidelity Prototyping: When we use incomplete models or less featured products to be tested we use low fertility prototyping. This type of prototyping is used by interactive designers to test the workflow. It helps in stimulating the process to identify usability issues early.

The Main Feature Of This Type Of Prototyping Is That They Are Quick To Test And Cost-Effective For Inexpensive. An Instant Change Could Be Done With The Result Of The Test Or Before. As It Is Is An Inexpensive Prototype, It Is The Result Of Minimum Resources Used. It Encourages Design Thinking As It Could Be Again Reframed By The Ideation Process.

High Fidelity Prototyping- In this type of prototyping the designer makes the prototype look realistic. It looks and operates closer to the finished product. It is good for communicating a proposed product to the stakeholders. Hence the stakeholders judge their expectations with reality.

Helping in gathering information with high validity and accuracy helps to generate more confidence to have people respond to the prototype as it is closer to the finished product.

What Are The 4 Steps In The Prototyping Process?

Design of concept sketch: Always write your ideas on a piece of paper. An idea generated only gets life when written on paper and involved. A designer gives can sketch his idea and then make a 3D model of it to understand it better.

Establish a virtual model: The next step is to convert the raw handmade design into a virtual model. Some designers convert the idea to a 3D model which helps them to view the prototype from different angles and gives them a much better idea of how the design will look before they invest in the production of the physical model. Different software is available to do this. You can also appoint an experience prototype designer to do the job done.

The physical model: Once the virtual model is ready, the team is excited to know how will the physical model look like. The physical model helps the designer to explain the idea more efficiently and the customer also gets connected quickly with the physical model. It is one of the ways the best ways to gain investors’ confidence as they can see the idea in which they invest. The designer finds a cheaper way to build the model in order to minimize the cost.

Find an experienced manufacturer: Once you approve the physical model, can now invest in the actual product. Here the designer finds an experienced manufacturer who can create your idea for the final product. Finding an expert can help you get the actual and right product at the first attempt which can help in cost minimization. Developing a complex design can be a long process but the designer should keep the time period in mind.

Why Making A Prototype Is Important In Design Thinking?

A prototype helps the designer to think about ideas in a concrete manner and provide clarity of the design in the mind of the designer and customer. A prototype is also useful in the design development process design production process as it makes it easy for the team to understand their task.

It also provides a complete idea of the product and earlier feeds. It evaluates the technical feasibility of highly technical products with complex processes using the High Fidelity Prototype.

Enhance functional issues of the quality of the final product. Prototyping is used to test the idea generated during the ideation process which results in the best quality and process of a product.

When a prototype is tested on a customer it presents a clear idea to the customer of the final product he will have. This help in receiving genuine feedback from the customer and making improvement if needed.

It also helps the company in risk management. Design thinking is a long process and requires time, money, and other resources to come up with the end result. But, it minimizes the cost of production by finding the alternative cheaper resource like IDEO did for Apple's first mouse. It cost $400 initially but it cost $25 at the end of design thinking.

It also minimizes the risk of loss and helps the company to find the right solution at the right time. If the product or service is what a customer wants then the company has to invest less in its marketing.

It attracts customers to invest in the product before using any resource for implementation. Help in production before massive production and discover errors earlier. Can get the earlier feedback of end-users which helps in correction and enhancement of the product or service.

Prototyping helps in planning for implementation. It helps the entire team to understand their task and perform it effectively. Earlier research help in the ideation process but prototyping help in refining the ideas and reviewing its implementation that finally builds the end product.

What Are The Common Types Of Prototypes In Design Thinking?

Sketches and diagrams: When we use rough sketches and diagrams to represent ideas on paper we start making a prototype. This type of prototype is made at the initial stage of prototyping. It is a quick way of presenting an idea on a piece of paper.

3D printing or rapid model: Three-dimensional printing gives a realistic model of a design using a computer or a printing machine. It helps in identifying floors or areas that need to be adjusted. With this type of prototype, businesses can move from design to production face quickly. 3D prototypes are used to simplify big designs like airplanes, engines, aircraft, and rockets. The product can be modified on the basis of observation and testing.

Wireframe: It is a digital diagram of the layout of a product. When we make websites, software, or other digital tools this type of prototype is used. It can be used by copywriters to the developers in order to navigate the structure and placement of different content.

Physical model: When a rough design of an idea is made with building breaks or craft paper it is said to be a physical model prototype of the final design. It is not necessary to have working parts on the physical model prototype. The best example of the physical model is a building or a big society project which presents a large-scale model as a smaller physical model. This prototype is helpful to create large-scale models.

Roleplay: Sometimes we need to visualize a design in order to test it. You need a script, product/ prop, and participants. Based on the data collected scripts are given in advance and some are asked to play themself. The different scripts that the participant play can be designed. It is a quick idea generation technique with richer insights.

Working Prototype: As the name says, a working prototype helps in testing the functioning of an idea. This type of prototype is to be used for a product that has mechanized functioning or design with features that need to fit a move in a certain way.

Feasibility Prototype: When a designer suddenly realizes that they are missing an initial part of a product this kind of model is developed to be adapted as new ideas. This prototype allowed the designer to increase or enlarge a design after creating an intimate model.

Video prototype: When a product is presented to animated videos it is called a video prototype. Stimulation that explains and graphically represents a project can also be used in such a prototype. This is done to visualize the product by the designer, management, and even customers.

Horizontal Prototype: When engineers want to understand the human interface of the project mostly in software design they use this kind of prototype.

Vertical Prototype: In order to create an improved database design, the prototype is digitally created which is called a vertical prototype. It is used as a "back end" model to test important functions in the software before it moves on to another design plan.

Wrap Up

Prototyping is the step to convert your idea into life. It is a process of where the idea written on paper comes to virtual reality. A prototype is quick, rough, cheap, and useful for early-stage testing and learning. It helps the user to connect with the product and the designer to test the feasibility of the product.

Depending on the nature of the product different types of prototypes are designed. Prototyping is a process of risk minimization wherein the designer focuses on time management and cost minimization for the organization.

Once the designer is satisfied with the working of the product and the solution designed the step testing in the process of design thinking is done. A prototype gives a clear idea of how the product look and how it works.

Any flaw in the prototype leads to reversing the process of design thinking wherein the designer can go back to any ideation stage or define stage to get the solution which is the specialization of design thinking beige a non-linear process.


Which Type Of Prototype Is More User Iterating?

Ans. The high-fidelity prototype is more realistic as it is near to the end product. It helps in getting feedback easily and is useful during the testing process.

What Prototype Should I Build?

Ans. Depending on what are it is a product or service and what prototype fits the project the most, the prototype must be built.

What Is The Purpose Of Creating The Design Thinking Prototype?

Ans. A prototype is a prop used to present the idea to the customer which helps him to experience and evaluate the product. It also helps in testing the feasibility and working of a product.

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