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Designing for Wearables by Scott Sullivan

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Chapter 9. Prototyping

Prototyping is a big part of the design process for anything. I come from the world of experience design, and I couldn’t imagine a project for which we don’t figure out if we’re building the right thing and eventually work out the kinks of a product by using prototypes. Prototyping lets you quickly build a lower-fidelity (not fully functional but enough to learn from) version of your project to get a better understanding of what you’re building, and eventually get feedback from people in terms of how they understand it. This chapter covers the why part of prototyping, the tools, and processes that are available to prototype wearable devices. We even dive in to some of the technical aspects involved.

Why Prototype?

I feel like a lot of people see the role of prototypes as something that you use for feedback on a design, mainly in user testing. In fields of design with a more established language, you can get by with using prototypes only in this way. I could verbally describe an application to someone, and because the design elements that we use for two-dimensional design are so established, you could probably get a good feel for the idea this way. In this newer world of wearable devices, though, it’s a little different. Not only is there no established common language, but the products themselves are so divergent and new that we can’t even know that it’s a good idea to begin with without prototyping it to make it real in some way.

In the world of traditional ...

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