Our work investigates concepts and methods for the design, creation, and application of prototypes for mobile software. It analyzes and compares existing prototyping approaches and develops a new prototyping paradigm called Blended Prototyping.
The general function of a prototype is to generate insights into an idea, which is not fully realized yet. These insights identify mistakes at an early state, and therefore help to avoid expensive misguided developments. A prototype’s value depends on its ability to communicate the exact questions, relevant at the given development stage. Existing prototyping approaches have problems to facilitate collaborative design discussions in bigger teams. Moreover, prototypes generated by these approaches can often just be implemented with such limited functionality, that they can solely be used in early development stages.
Blended Prototyping addresses these issues in using pen paper sketches as a central design element for the prototyping process. It promotes creative work in an interdisciplinary collaborative design and development process. To be applicable in the earliest design phases already, blended prototypes can be created as quickly and easily as possible; they allow however enough complexity to be relevant for the development for as many prototype iterations as needed.
This text describes the Blended Prototyping approach and its implementation in a first running version. It displays important design and interaction processes used in the platform and discusses the results generated by a first practice study with an external development team.
Rethinking Prototyping: Proceedings of the Design Modelling Symposium Berlin