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Prototype Pondering

Posted by: Tristan Plank | Posted on: October 25th, 2012

Prototyping seems to be one of those words that evokes vastly different ideas and imagery in people’s heads depending on their industry and experience. Though the word has now become commonplace for me as a student in a Human Centered Design & Engineering program, the concept of prototyping hasn’t always been clear to me. Before wandering into the design and development realm, I can recall past instances in which the word elicited images of cars carved out of clay and secret iPhones that only Jony Ive has clearance to carry. Back then, a prototype was something that designers and engineers spent hundreds of hours on, and, if it was good enough, they tweaked a couple things and then they released it. And indeed, this still can be the very life cycle of some prototypes. But it was not until I started learning more about the process of designing interfaces and applications (especially while maintaining a human centered design process) that I came to understand the enormous variety of steps and actions that qualify as prototyping. I recall the first time I tried to wrap my head around the notion that a few lines on a piece of paper can be just as much a prototype as a disguised iPhone found in a bar.

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The Personified UI

Posted by: Tristan Plank | Posted on: January 4th, 2012

Originally written for Altia

Products with Personality

One of the most significant factors affecting satisfaction with an interface is the personality we assign to it. Every user brings personal experiences with them when they use a system. It is these experiences that blend with the designed aspects of the UI to form a characterization. We then project a persona onto the systems we use…and an identity emerges. Sometimes we like these identities: they can be helpful, slick, and beautiful. They can become our friends and confidants as they possess our valuable information. Sometimes we even miss them when their “new personalities” are released, whether it’s a simple update for our phone interface, or an overhauled OS design.

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