The prototype phase was more focused on the details of our solution.  We had to bring our problem definition to a point where we could incorporate our research and apply the ideas we’d gathered for something that was actually usable.  What we realized is that as “breakthrough” as some of our ideas were, the real solutions to our process would need more basic structure.  We had to understand how each feature of our “app” would solve for our point of view.  The use of POP (prototyping on paper) app was a great way to lay out our ideas.  We started by each developing a screen or menu selection for our app and what we wanted it to do, and discussed the reasons for each component of the app.  Hopefully this created a rich “low resolution” of ideas for our users to test.  I personally struggled with such a primitive draft, knowing we were going to put it out to an audience to evaluate.  However, the process did lead us to think more strategically about what we wanted to learn from the testing phase and what we would need to include to get constructive feedback.

I recently presented a prototype of a report that I had been working on.  I developed a rough draft with our syndicated data partners (with dummy data) as an example; which could explain why I was a little gun shy of the RetaurALL app.  When I presented the “prototype” (even after explaining that is was not real data) the only questions and feedback I got was about the inaccuracy of the data.  What I understood from that project was a better prototype resulted in a better application of the real thing.  However, I can admit that there was not a lot of time invested in the project, so there was not tremendous waste of effort.  However, I do have to worry with the acceptance of the actual report, given I tested on future users that may now doubt the validity and value of what I was trying to assist them with.

Nevertheless, even our basic prototype gave a generalized approach to what we were trying to accomplish.  It allowed us to further develop our product and question each element of the design.  I also allowed us to put together the different pieces of the puzzle to see how the feature would work together cohesively and effectively.