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Leadership in prototyping

Josh Miller
December 5th, 2020 · 2 min read

When it comes to testing, validation, and shipping someting your users, a leader in prototyping might be what you need for your team regarding to reduce risks, overall costs, and bring fresh ideas into the world faster. In the prototyping process, it doesn’t matter if you’re creating rough mockups or quickly getting to high-fidelity, you’ll be able to iterate early and often to align your team and stakeholders.

Leadership in prototyping

A leader in prototyping comes alongside your team to generate ideas and refine existing ones. Not only that, but throughout the design process you’ll identify user touch-points with more clarity beyond static documentation. Prototypes inspire your organization giving your team a platform to approach challenges differently and add new perspective and dimension to ideas.

Prototyping is fun

While it may seem that your team’s focus is on the results of said prototype, making ideas visual, tactile, and experiential creates a sense of play. When we play, our minds are allowed to wander stimulating higher quality conversation. It’s an invisible result of taking messy and hectic ideas to life—the same type of result that occurs when children are allowed free thinking in play areas.

Prototyping isn’t the first step in the human centered design process, as it is usually divergent by nature; but, design technologists (UX Architects) give your organization more opportunity to discover new ideas through prototyping even though many may be a throw away ideas. The value in the research that occurs may surface itself in later projects or iterations of your product. So, let your imagination run wild.

If the relationship between designers and the engineers executing is rocky, it doesn’t have to be.

Hey designer, here’s why you can code.

Prototyping bolsters higher quality communication giving everyone an equal platform to interact with your experience. When we prototype we’re able to take our differing past histories to converge on new ideas that become more personal than what they would have been.

For example when we designed this interactive front experience we called Storylines in Svelte as a convergent method study our discussion wasn’t necessarily about the practicality of the design but rather the purpose of the design. This changed the conversation and the overhead to the specific reasoning behind why the design should exist in the first place.

As an advocate for developers, the interaction of a prototype can be an entirely different conversation. In addition, a higher fidelity prototype provides a platform for hidden implementation questions to be uncovered. In my experience developers would much rather have a full flow—even if it’s a set of static click-thru pieces.

Design technologists and product designers who are keen on rapid prototyping prevent this expectation mismatch

High-fidelity can provide more accurate research results after accounting for business and techincal constraints. This then improves the quality of prototyping across the entire UX and product team. While it’s unlikely that a prototype contains production-ready code, there may be parts that can be reused such as CSS styles or animation easing curves in a Web app.

Another example is a type-scale calculator with Sketch that scaled out thousand of reusable actions reducing design time with it came to the calc functions and fluid typography in the article layout.

If you’re looking to learn, here are some of my favorite resources for prototyping.

by Josh Miller

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