What I’ve Learned #3: Prototyping Matrix

I learned this advice the hard way: by failing twice. At the end of my first year of the 2 year Masters program, I had 2 projects due at the same time. One project was for my final Interaction Design course, and the other was for my FashionTechnology course. And unlucky for me, I decided to use Arduino and physical prototyping for both of them.

The two prototypes that I built were the TRKBRD and the MemoryWatch. In reference to my diagram below, I attempted to position each prototype as the red X, which is exactly why both projects failed to meet their deadlines and needed extensions throughout the summer. What follows is an explanation of the sage advice I received from the fellows at Unsworn Industries, during their critique of our FashionTechnology final presentation.

When you have your idea, and want to begin prototyping your idea, no matter if your idea is physical or virtual, first think of how that prototype will fit into the matrix below. What is the most important element, or elements, for your idea or design? Most people, when they begin prototyping, fall into the pitfall of immediately aiming for the red X below, where the resolution and the fidelity are both perfect! This is not the best place to start prototyping. Consider restricting the resolution, so you can concentrate on the fidelity. Or, consider restricting the fidelity so you can concentrate on the resolution. Think of your prototypes as small steps towards achieving that final red X position of perfect resolution and fidelity. And remember that it takes many steps before achieving that final position!

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