Experience Prototyping

This methods aims towards prototyping in all stages of a design process. This might enhance a better understanding of the product.

»Design By Prototyping.«

Number of ParticipantsFacilitatorsCategoryDurationLevel of Difficulty
1 or moreDesigners & DtakeholdersEmpathie, Ideate, Define, Prototype, TestAs much as neededModerate


Experience prototyping is a practice opposed to a technique or a framework. It does not suggest any specific process but rather promotes an attitude towards prototyping in all stages of the design process. Starting to prototype as soon as you have some insight, obtained by preliminary research of the problem domain, allows the designers to empathize with the problem, creating their own experience. An experience that gives a better understanding of the problem at hand and creates a common ground for discussion with experts and within the team. Abstracted, rough, components of the interaction can be used to sketch actual interaction experience during the ideation stage immersing participants into a context that involves many aspects where some of them might not be easily visible when conceptualising. Designs can engage in “bodystorming”, a combination of physical context and brainstorming. A higher fidelity prototype may be used for testing purpose letting the users try it in their own context. An indicator of successful experience created by a prototype is that people forget about its shortcomings.


  • Furniture
  • Prototyping Electronics
  • Software Development
  • Any material useful for rapid prototyping


Research of the problem domain.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Research
  2. Build an initial cognitive model of the practice
  3. Make a rough “sketch” prototype that replicates the current state of art
  4. Involve experts, discuss and align with their experience
  5. During ideation gradually increase the prototype fidelity, progressing from basic implementation that allows for quick changes and high freedom.
  6. Iterate until a high fidelity prototype is achieved
  7. Test the prototype, give the prototype to actual users.
  8. Repeat if necessary

Remarks, Tips, Limitations

During the ideation stage, it is important to reduce details to a minimum in the way that components are representative of the core interaction but the implementation does not distract from ideation.

Users might not be ready to test a rough prototype used during the ideation stage and require a higher fidelity so that they can engage in interaction without being distracted by imperfections of implementation.


Marion Buchenau and Jane Fulton Suri. 2000. DIS ’00: Proceedings of the 3rd conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques , 424–433. https://doi.org/10.1145/347642.347802

Contributed by Andrejs Pantelejevs.