— words and things

The life of a prototype

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” In the sixth century Buddha said the same thing that Aza stressed to us in our first lecture last week. An idea is worthless unless it can be communicated. It all starts with a simple thought.

Throughout the week one slide from Aza’s presentation has stuck with me. The life of a prototype. After fridays optional lecture on data visualization it made sense to create an interactive version of Aza’s slide. Based on the mojo lectures this week I have come up with some advice on how to successfully build a prototype. Below I will merge Aza’s advice on rapid prototyping and Burt’s advice on success.

Follow your passion and come up with an idea

Undoubtedly following your passion will cause you to conjure ideas, this is where it all begins. The first step in a prototype’s life is an idea. Your brain acts as an idea incubator, cradling newborn ideas until they are ready to be released into the wild. The only way to really know if an idea will influence others is to set it free and move on to the next step of a prototypes life.

Write it down and send it to everyone

So you think you have a great idea? Write it down, it is ok if it is a sloppy misspelled email in the middle of the night. Writing it down is you telling yourself that you want to bring this idea to life. By writing it down you are one step closer to making it happen. Share it with your friends and try to build a small community around your idea.

Create a wire frame with your team

Your idea has caught on and you have built a small team from the community you formed by sending out your write up. Now it is time to create a simple wireframe that will show people what your idea may look like. Once you feel comfortable with your wireframe move on to the next step and make something people can “touch”.

Hack out a proof of concept

Just build the thing! In the shortest amount of time possible create a working prototype. Prove to yourself that your idea can work. Once the prototype is complete get it out there for people to play with.

Make a video demo and prepare for feedback

Once you get a video out there it will be easy for people to connect to your idea and find some sort of use for it. Once people start to use your prototype make sure you stay flexible and listen to the users, they will have a ton of feedback so get ready for feature requests and suggestions!

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