An effective prototyping method for delivering interaction design in industrial design education

2006-05-04T10:24:56Z (GMT) by Tek Jin Nam Steve Gill
Increasingly industrial designers are required to engage in the design of computer-embedded products. Due to the interactive nature of these products, efficient prototyping is becoming more critical in the design process. This paper presents a designer-oriented prototype development method that facilitates the construction of fully functional physical prototypes. Unlike the multi-media authoring tools commonly used to date, this method employs a cheap and widely available software application: Microsoft PowerPoint with embedded Visual Basic. The method has been designed for use by programming non-literate designers and allows interactive physical prototypes to be created and tested without extensive specialist knowledge. This was achieved in part by simple modifications to a standard computer keyboard. Our case study on the use of this method in the teaching of information ergonomics demonstrated that students could effectively produce software-hardware hybrid prototypes with minimum effort in a short time scale. This method offers an excellent means of collaboration between designers and professionals from different domains. The prototyping method enables rapid and iterative design cycles in design education, research and practice.