Supportive Tools for Collaborative Prototyping

Willem Horst


 The development of interactive products requires the integration of different disciplines, such as interaction design, design engineering, marketing and R&D. This article explores how these disciplines can be involved in the prototyping process by introducing a set of tools. In the literature, various tools and toolkits are described that support interaction designers in the design and modification of prototypes in the early stages of a project. Although these make prototyping easier for interaction designers, it remains challenging to involve other disciplines in a collaborative prototyping process.

In this design case I describe a set of tailor-made tools that were designed to support the collaborative development of an interactive prototype in an industrial setting. I demonstrate how these tools supported collaboration and communication across functional units, and allowed different stakeholders to make concrete design contributions. I propose that investing in the development of such supportive tools is beneficial to product development, as they 1) allow different stakeholders to user the prototype as a development tool, 2) facilitate cross-functional collaboration and 3) enable appropriation and repurposing of the prototype across different departments. 


Stakeholder involvement, Prototyping, Product development

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