Tutorial 7   Prototype as a Bridge to New Insight

In Tutorial 5 you experienced a quick mechanism for testing and improving (or changing dramatically) your design  - viewing it through the eyes of user personas and hypothesising how they might engage with it. We now take this a step further by actively involving your users in the prototyping process.



User-involvement can provoke great insight about usability and user experience. Build a prototype and observe how people engage with it. Your prototype doesn't have to be big, it should only be a proof of concept. If it disproves your concept, then it's a prototype well spent! The challenge is not to be invested in the prototype, but to be invested in the new insights that come from showing it to students, parents or others. As an example, before building out a full Matrix of options, create a rough poster with 4 options on it and show it to the students as if it is the real lesson. Watch how they interact and respond (ideally, when you test a prototype, your insight should come from observation rather than asking them questions directly).

We have assembled a range of possible Prototypes on this page


Start Small

As a general rule, you shouldn't get ambitious with innovations that are new to you until you have prototyped and tested them at smaller scales. This is a very common problem we see happening in schools. In a typical scenario, a project is planned for the next year - to run for the entire year - and teachers experience high degrees of excitement and anxiety. As the plan comes together it gets more and more ambitious. The stakes are high, and no one actually knows whether it will work because it's all new. 

A better plan would be to run lots of little prototypes and see which ones work and which don't. Gradually, by designing, testing and iterating, you can build confidence in structures that you know, from experience, will work powerfully in high stakes, ambitious contexts.