Touchpoint Editor's Letter: Experience Prototyping
I wrote this Editor's Letter to introduce Touchpoint Vol. 11 No. 2, with the topic 'Experience Prototyping'
Prototyping sits deep in the service designer’s DNA. Hypotheses, conjecture and assumptions are no match for seeing a real user or customer interact with a prototype, to determine what works well and what needs to be improved. And prototyping sits firmly within the ‘service design doing’ realm - as opposed to the ‘service design thinking’ one - because it’s the moment where we make our concepts tangible.
In this issue, we focus specifically on experience prototyping. That is, the approaches and challenges, known and new techniques, and strategic benefits of carrying it out consistently and at scale.
Prototypes can take on many forms and be built at different scales. They can be on-screen or constructed of cardboard. They can be full-size mock-ups of a restaurant or a hospital’s operating theatre, or something made of childrens’ toys and constructed in minutes. And, as one article in this issue touches upon, they can be built in VR, delivering a life-like, visual simulation of a physical environment.
In the pages to come, you’ll get immersed in this most visible - and many would say most engaging - aspect of service design. It’s the moment when the Post-its give way to cardboard, figurines, click-throughs and mocked-up spaces. Service designers have told me in the past that they sometimes feel guilty for reducing or cutting-out their prototyping activities. I hope the articles shared here reinvigorates a passion for prototyping, and inspires us to do it more often, and in new ways.
And to briefly mention a large-scale experience that we’ve effectively prototyped 11 times previously (and take our learnings to improve each following iteration), this issue will be published to coincide with the SDN’s Global Conference 2019, being held this year in Toronto. I hope to see some of you there.