This work seeks to introduce and evaluate effects of a novel method for designing prototyping strategies. This newly developed heuristics-based tool guides designers in planning a prototyping strategy based on answers to Likert-scale questions that embody empirically validated heuristics. We created this tool to augment prior work in the development of prototyping planning methods. The new tool guides designers through six critical prototype strategy choices: (1) How many concepts should be prototyped? (2) How many iterations of a concept should be built? (3) Should the prototype be virtual or physical? (4) Should subsystems be isolated? (5) Should the prototype be scaled? (6) Should the design requirements be temporarily relaxed?

We assessed the new planning tool in two environments: (1) a controlled experiment in which volunteers completed a prototyping design challenge, and (2) a capstone design class with a diverse range of open-ended sponsored design projects. In both cases, students received training for the method and then employed it in their own efforts.

In our study the new tool caused student teams to employ significantly more efficient and effective prototyping strategies, such as prototyping early and often. The results indicate a higher functional performance of prototypes from groups using the new planning tool compared to control groups. This paper describes the new prototyping strategy planning tool, details both sets of experiments, and discusses results.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.