Prototyping with my group changed my perspective on flexibility in the design process. I had previously thought that the best strategy was always to start with the big picture and gradually add levels of detail across all parts of the prototype at once. However, once we started designing the app, we realized that it made more sense to start with the home screen, decide what options would appear on it, design the screens each of the options would lead to, the options on those, and so on – like growing a tree into a particular shape, and pruning or tying branches together as necessary. I’ve learned from this that the “best” method of prototyping depends on the nature of the product being created and the preferences of the designers.
Additionally, I had known that communication between group members would be an important aspect of the design process, but I hadn’t thought about how challenging it would be to verbally describe how we wanted things to work. Like the group in the article, we found that the most effective way for any of us to express an idea for a modification was to add it to the prototype, then have the others ask questions if its purpose was not immediately clear. These questions could sometimes work as impromptu alpha-testing – if a group member misunderstood what a feature was meant to do, a user might also make that assumption, and therefore we might consider changing the appearance of that feature and/or adding another feature that had the assumed function.