07 Flavors of Prototypes
If one say ‘prototype’, people may think he/she is in an certain stage of product development, mostly towards an end of design decision. However prototypes have different flavors and each flavor is used in different stage of product development. These flavors can be categorized into three buckets: to inspire, to evolve and to execute the ideas.
Prototypes is not for a certain stage, but for every stage along the whole design development with smart selection of flavor.
Prototype that executes what the actual design will be is different than prototype that inspires what the design could be.It may overlaps but each serves different purpose.
In this light, the way we produce prototypes for different stage should be different. It’s better to start from making it loose. It better to not spend too much time and material on making prototypes that inspires what it could be, while prototype that executes the design will require more time, effort, budget, and artistry in producing while we can make prototypes.
I believe the prototype is a great tool to articulate the needs, and iterative prototypes will generate great solutions. As a designer, I ‘d love to be smart in choosing the flavor of prototype in given situation and distributing my teams’ resource and time for the prototype craft.