Experience Prototyping

Experience prototyping is a way to gain first hand experience in situations. The aim of implementing it is to discover potential problems of a product or service’s user experience. It can be carried out via any method that provides intense engagement between the prototype, its touch points and the user. Scenario and role-playing are 2 examples. During the prototyping process, a person involved will receive a concrete sensory experience, and a subjective emotional experience. This allows the designer to analyse the product or service from the user’s direct perspective. The use of experience prototyping is significantly important when designing interactive systems.

Contributor: Stephanie Xi Cheng Ho, Imagery: Lizzie Botts, 2013

An example of misusing experience prototyping is the ÖBB (Austrian Railways) prototype website designed by USECON. A clickable prototype of the site was created and tested with users from 3 age groups. The users were allocated to 3 different usability tests and user experience studies. However users experiencing this prototype were only questioned about issues the design team imagined would happen in their age group. The users were not given the opportunity to point out other possible problems, beyond those defined by their user groups.

Contributor: Stephanie Xi Cheng Ho, 2013

An exemplary use of experience prototyping is the Maypole project by IDEO and Nokia. In this project, working prototypes of a “picture communicator” were built and distributed to children, allowing them to play with it at their own leisure. In this way, Nokia and IDEO are able to construct the user experience almost to the level of a finished product. They are able to discover: 1) what the users feels towards the product, 2) the way the product could change their lifestyle, 3) the level of desire the product has to the target audience, and 4) potential problems surrounding the product.

Contributor: Stephanie Xi Cheng Ho, 2013