How design fiction was co-opted. A piece by Tim Maughan with soundbites from Julian Bleecker, Anab Jain, and Scott Smith.
I’m usually building one of three things: a demo, a prototype, or a minimum viable product (MVP).
I’ve seen some confusion over these terms — some people seem to use them somewhat interchangeable. But they’re not the same thing, and building one when you need another can cause problems.
This is a very useful distinction!
If you end up with a draft of a short story or a few paragraphs of a typical UX interaction scenario, or a storyboard, or a little film of someone swiping on a screen to show how your App idea would work — you have not done Design Fiction.
What you’ve done is write a short story, which can only possibly be read as a short story.
What you should ideally produce is something a casual observer may mistake for a contemporary artefact, but which only reveals itself as a fiction on closer inspection. It should be very much “as if..” this thing really existed. It should feel real, normal, not some fantasy.
The only thing I would add is that, in my experience, it’s vital that the prototype does not morph into the final product …no matter how tempting it sometimes seems.
Prototypes are made to be discarded (having validated or invalidated an idea). Making a prototype and making something for production require very different mindsets: with prototyping it’s all about speed of creation; with production work, it’s all about quality of execution.
A well-written (and beautifully designed) article on the nature of the web, and what that means for those of us who build upon it. Matthias builds on the idea of material honestly and concludes that designing through prototypes—rather than making pictures of websites—results in a truer product.
A prototyping mindset means cultivating transparency and showing your work early to your team, to users – and to clients as well, which can spark excited conversations. A prototyping mindset also means valuing learning over fast results. And it means involving everyone from the beginning and closely working together as a team to dissolve the separation of linear workflows.
I’m not sure the particular use-case outlined here is going to apply much outside of AirBnB (just because the direction of code-to-Sketch feels inverted from most processes) but the underlying idea of treating visual design assets and code as two manifestations of the same process …that’s very powerful.
These icons-as-a-service could be really useful for making quick’n’dirty HTML prototypes.
Cennydd enumerates what design sprints are good for:
- generating momentum,
- highlighting the scope of the design process,
- developing the team, or
- provoking core product issues.
And also what they’re not so good for:
- reliable product design,
- proposing sophisticated user research,
- answering deep product-market fit questions, or
- getting the green light.
This is a clever quick’n’dirty way of prototyping iterations on an existing site using dev tools and screenshots.
Myself and Batesy spent last week in Ipswich doing an intense design sprint with Suffolk Libraries. Leon has written up process from his perspective as the client—I’ll try to get a case study up on the Clearleft website soon.
This is really great write-up; it captures the sense of organised chaos:
I can’t recommend this kind of research sprint enough. We got a report, detailed technical validation of an idea, mock ups and a plan for how to proceed, while getting staff and stakeholders involved in the project — all in the space of 5 days.
This looks like it’ll be brilliant! Nat is running a prototyping workshop the day before Responsive Day Out:
This workshop is for designers with no coding experience — if you’re an absolute beginner who wants to find out whether coding can help you with your job, this is for you!
Less wireframing, more prototyping.
Mark has put together this rather excellent prototyping tool. It’s basically the V from an MVC system. You can easily move stuff around, change data …all the good stuff you want to do quickly and easily when you’re prototyping in the browser.
A browser-based tool for creating HTML prototypes.
I like this idea: stencils for common interface elements to be used with good ol' pen and paper.
Interface elements as fridge magnets. Make prototyping fun!
Make your own 3D printer (you know, like the replicator in Star Trek) using sugar and an air pump. The results are astoundingly cool.
A great hands-on article on the benefits of playing with paper.