September 10th, 2013 Kaplan Test Group

On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, OLC Attended Kaplan Test Prep's event, Going From Idea to Prototype featuring Josh Wexler of Occom Group.

"Do you go broad or deep?" Wexler asked. "How do you communicate technical idea to others?" Wexler explained the communication is difficult, because text is ambiguous. "You can say 'car,' but that can mean any type of car."

To Wexler, collection meaningful feedback is very challenging. "With a new idea, people don't know they want it until they've tried it and experienced it," he said.

The general framework of prototyping begins with uncertainty and ends with clarity. With uncertainty, one can envision, then prototype and then evaluate.

With envisioning, one would use a problem statement and look for an inspiration. "Keep the problem statement short," Wexler advised.

Inspirations are defined as other systems that solve problems or inspire people with their design and functionality. Idea expression is a short and succinct statement of an idea that everyone agrees with. Customer definition is defining the group of people that will be using the product—the primary customers. Personas are characters created to represent the different user types. "This makes your idea much more real," Wexler said.

The user narrative is a story about one of the personas using and interacting the idea in the world. Narratives are different than features.

Paper prototyping is a hand-drawn version of a user prototype that gives a visual to the story.

Wexler explained that there are three levels of fidelity within prototyping: low (visual paper prototype), medium (functional) and high (data-driven).

Finally, with validation and documentation, Wexler suggested that people get the right amount and level of fidelity in your prototype for their project. "Put it in front of your users. As them if they match your persons, validate the problem, watch them use it and ask developers to do an iteration with you. Document as much as you need to and remember that a shared vision is important. Narratives are valuable in communication," he said.