Prototype Design Process and choosing the right Fidelity.

Prototyping is a key phase of the design process and as a product becomes more defined over time, the prototyping techniques change accordingly. Moving from low fidelity to a higher fidelity. Before getting into fidelity though, let’s take a look at the design process. There are a few different models of the design process and how to apply design thinking to your product or do anything, really. Design thinking is a problem-solving method and while there are a few different design process models, the key steps are largely the same. Let’s take a look at the three key design process models.

Design Council Double Diamond

The first model is the design council’s double diamond. The double diamond focuses on key stages of the design process. Discover, define, develop, and deliver. The second model is’s human-center design approach. With the key stages defined as hear, create, and deliver. The third model is Stanford’s approach with the key stages of empathizing, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

IDEO Human-Centered Design Model

design process

These three models have newly launched differences but all models of the design process stress the same key attributes. They’re all user-centered with their focus on empathizing with the user to understand their challenges while discovering opportunities and insights. Defining the problem space based on the insights gathered from the users. Ideating through various designs concepts and ideas to come up with potential solutions. Prototyping and iterating on those design ideas and concepts and finally, delivering on the key idea.

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Three types of UX Prototypes.

Standford Design Thinking Process.

The user-centered design process is messy and iterative and not as linear as it might appear. The process is intended to be a framework in which you can design solutions. Ideally, you’ll want to follow the key steps in the process to make sure you’re focused on designing the right things and that you’re delivering the right product. A user-centered design approach to product development is the best way to ensure that the products you’re developing will delight the user and meet the needs of the business and prototyping is a big part of that.

Key Attributes of design Process

  1. User centered, foused on empathy
  2. problem statement defined by users
  3. Ideation
  4. Prototyping and interation
  5. Delivery of the design

The goal of your prototype will depend on which stage the design process you’re in. For example, if you’re in an ideation phase, you might be iterating through various ideas and concepts so you might start with paper prototyping and as the project moves into delivery phase, you might have a more robust functional prototype for usability feedback. The kind of outcome or feedback you’re looking for in the design will determine the fidelity and goals of the prototype. It’s pretty common to start a project with low fidelity prototypes and as the fidelity of the design increases, the fidelity of the prototype also increases.

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