Prototyping may be seen by some as a method to prove that their concepts or ideas work and could be manifested into the physical realm. With this thought, one may deem it necessary to perfect the conceptualisation process through research, discussion, simple sketches and ideation before delving into the physical labour of making the actual prototype. Perhaps this may be deemed as a method to save costs, as materials could be saved for the final prototype rather than experimentations – also, perhaps, it is because experimentations mean that there would be drawbacks and failures, and one simply would prefer to prevent wasting money on failures.
We were also taught that there is a difference in mock models and prototypes – the experimentations and the final working prototype. However, the reading highlighted a different viewpoint, which is that prototyping can also take in the form of experimentation. Of course, these are all probably just labels at the end of the day. Nonetheless, the main takeaway (at least for me) is this – the practice of making is imperative even in the conceptualisation stage and continues up to the creation of the final product/service. The reading mentions the “power of experience through prototyping”, which helps to draw the designer(s) away from assumptions to actual, personal experiences, and through this, in a way, it can be seen as a form of communication, not just between the designer and the target users, but also across the various designers and possible engineers involved in the designing and creation process.
A reminder that I had whilst reading was also to just keep on making and, to do so, the designer mustn’t be afraid of the errors that come along with the trials. The reading mentioned about the flexibility of the designer. Perhaps in the school environment, having professors and critique sessions, the idea of rejection or failures hinder us from creating and forces us to think of ways to perfect the concept and possible outcome before actually creating it. However, as the reading mentions, we prototype to discover the possibilities and not merely to predict the potentials of our ideas.
“It is important to regard the prototype as a trigger for ideation, to think beyond the initial hypothesis, and to flexibly accept the need to redefine the problem and its challenges”