Macro UX – Week 1

Term 2 of MA UX Design will start with a big project involving collaboration with three external partners: Applied Works, venturethree and Fjord. For that, we were split into groups of four. My group will be working with Applied Works.

On Friday we discussed Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill’s “What do prototypes prototype?”. Overall, I think the article is very relevant and provides a good structure on how make prototypes to efficiently ask, answer and trigger design questions, even though it was written in 1997. Basically the article places prototypes into three dimensions (and an integrated one), based on the kinds of questions they want to explore: role, as in what is it’s role in the user’s life; look and feel, which explores the sensory experience of using the artifact; and implementation, that is about issues of functionality. The integrated dimension is when the prototype has a balance of all three dimensions. It made me realise that prototypes are a powerful design research tool, and not only a means to show someone a design.

At first I thought we should have read it during term one, for that would have helped a lot in the process of making all our projects, but then I wondered if that would have actually tampered our creativity and the explorative nature of our prototypes by the attempt of fit them into these categories.

Other points discussed were about the existence of more dimensions, wether or not prototypes should be self explanatory, and the importance of knowing the designer’s role in presenting a prototype and its goal in relation to the kind of audience they’re talking to.

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