Prototyping: Making an Idea Clearly Visible

  • James Carlopio


The distinguishing element within the development and evaluation phase of the design process is the prototype (Archer, 1979; Baskerville and Stage, 1996; Cross, 1982; Rainey, 2005; Ulrich and Eppinger, 2004). Prototypes are essential for good design as they help designers learn if something will work and how well it meets the specified needs. Prototypes can be used to help communicate a concept as “a picture is worth a thousand words.” They help make the unknown visible and the unfamiliar real. Prototypes can also be used to ensure that components and subsystems work together as expected. Mature prototypes can be used to demonstrate functionality and as progress milestones. Finally, a prototype gives us something to try and, at the same time, not break the bank.


Rapid Prototype Strategy Innovation Industrial Designer Design Educator Strategy Developer 
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© James Carlopio 2010

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  • James Carlopio

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