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The Affect Of Prototyping Practices On Design Results

1383 words - 6 pages

Article Critiqued: Dow, S., 2011, ‘How prototyping practices affect design results’, interactions, 18(3), pp. 54-9.


The article explains about the affect of prototyping practices on design results. Using Iterative practices in making designs can lead to better results. Instead of working on making a perfect design, Iterative practices helps designers to learn from their previous mistakes and give a better output. For example (cited in Bayles and Orland 2001), two groups were asked to make ceramics by a teacher. He accessed one group on quantity and the other group on quality. Surprisingly, the first group made many ceramics while learning from their mistakes while the quality ...view middle of the document...

For making convincing designs designers have to broaden up their ideas rather than focusing on a particular design idea. Parallel approach also boosts up the thinking of an individual in exploring new ideas and gives confidence to present their ideas. While creating prototypes individuals should have a broad way of thinking in making design solutions.


The intention through this article is to show the affect that prototyping practices impose on the design results of a product. Two approaches have been discussed for effective designs:-
 Iterative approach - In this approach Designers work on making the prototype and then evaluating it to make refinements in the next iterative design. It is based on learning from the mistakes of previous design. Iterative practicing will ensure the best design solutions.

 Parallel approach - Multiple designs are made by different individuals at the same time. The goal is to make diverse design solutions. Individuals share their designs with each other to make an impressive design. Parallel practicing opens gateway for exploring new ideas in design contexts.

The problem is clearly stated as Iterative practices helps designers in getting feedback about their designs so that they can make refinements in it but on the other hand it also limits the product design to just one type of idea. The existence of an explicit prototype bound the discourse on just improving the prototype. All other possibilities are neglected. Making a prototype confines the exploration of new ideas in making designs.
It is important for designers to delve into notion by considering all possibilities in making designs. If the individual stick to just one idea and worked on improving that idea only, he will not be able to make creative designs and will limit his thinking to that design only. Every product in the world is trying to get attention but a good design does not need to vociferate. It is the design that makes the product unique. So designers should always look for new opportunities for making creative designs.

Argument and use of evidence

The author has claimed that the practice of iterating solutions to a problem may give you a better result but it also limits the scope of finding other alternatives to solve that problem. Instead of iteration, if people use parallel prototyping that is to create multiple designs at the same time and then sharing their designs for a better outcome. The author has used various evidences to support their claims.
To prove effective results of iterative practices he used an example of classic middle class activity. In the activity people were instructed to construct vessels from raw materials to protect a raw egg’s plummet. Half of the participants were told to iterate rapidly and the other half to focus on one perfect design. To measure the efficiency, vessels were dropped from height. Results show that people doing rapid iteration...

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