The magic of rapid prototyping for user research

Rapid Prototyping: It's Not Fantasy
Customers often entrust us with the rapid (magically!) development of complex prototypes as part of the product development process. Customers use these prototypes in a number of ways: to create buzz at trade shows; to gather customer feedback; and most commonly to conduct user research (often in the form of usability testing). For medical products, human factors studies may be a requirement, or at least an FDA recommendation.
Ideally, prototyping should happen early enough for user research so that the design can be actively iterated on using hard data from that research. But product development is often a long road. Depending on the core technology involved, it can take a year or more for a production-grade prototype to be ready to go into the hands of target users. Fortunately, you don't always need a production-grade model for effective user research.
Types of Prototypes in Product Design
Prototypes are classified according to the degree of accuracy required. For example, there is Fidelity. Furthermore, they can be classified according to the stage of product development in which the technology is applied.
fidelity type
A prototype doesn't have to look exactly like the final product, and can vary greatly depending on what a designer wants to achieve from it. As mentioned earlier, rapid prototyping is categorized according to the required accuracy. Product appearance, functionality, size, and user interface fidelity range from low to high.
low-fidelity prototype
These are very simple and they are very fast to produce for testing border concepts like cardboard mockups and paper sketches or consumer products.
High Fidelity Prototype
These look and work exactly like the final product. They are used in industries that require unparalleled precision and are essential for the optimal use of 3D printing, for example, in the automotive, robotics, aerospace and defense industries, as production parts are precisely cut.
Using the rapid prototyping process, prototypes can be made faster than traditional methods. Production duration depends on the chosen manufacturing process and the complexity and size of the part or assembly to be produced. However, this usually takes no more than a few days. Models and prototypes can be used earlier and more frequently due to the speed of production.
Save a lot of time and money
Rapid prototyping does not require any previously expensive or time-consuming tooling. This means that many different geometries can be created using the same rapid prototyping equipment. Errors and inaccuracies can be identified better and faster using physical models, which is also associated with significant time and cost savings.
Improved trial and error process
On the road to the ideal end product, there is often a lot of testing and refinement. With rapid prototyping and 3D printing, this so-called trial-and-error process can run faster and easier
By detecting and correcting errors in the design early, the cost of modifying CAD and changing tools during subsequent production can be greatly reduced.
reduce waste
The generative manufacturing process used in rapid prototyping can reduce a lot of waste normally created by other manufacturing processes such as milling, turning or grinding. This saves resources, saves costs and reduces the burden on the environment.
Simple production of individual and individual products
For small batches of up to 100 parts, the rapid prototyping process brings significant cost and speed advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. This is especially worthwhile for companies that offer personalized or personalized end products.
Prototyping can take many forms, depending on its purpose
 If the purpose is only to analyze the needs of the user, a prototype to be processed can be created
 If you want to develop as fast as possible, have a quick and dirty prototype, develop with 4GL or something.
 Prototypes may be developed for testing after detailed design and implementation is complete, but prior to mass production.
 Has a prototype showing input/output examples, but no actual data and no program logic implemented
Finally, there is an evolutionary prototype that evolves into the final system by continuing to evolve the developed prototype
Since this prototyping additive manufacturing analyzes the user's needs and repeats the prototyping at every step, the traditional life cycle is ignored. After all, the real archetype must be an evolutionary archetype. Especially when developing with RAD technology, each stage of the prototype must lead to an actual complete system.
Depending on the method used, a wide range of materials are used.
Publicado en Technology en mayo 18 at 09:27
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