Prototyping Mindfully

In the article “Prototyping: Generating ideas or Cargo Cult Designs,” the author discussed the dilemma and limitation of prototyping. In the authors view, prototyping has been a successful and useful tool for interaction designers to foster creativity and to facilitate their design process and discussion with other team members. However, one should be careful in term of over promising the feasibility of these prototypes. In order to prevent having a feature that is not actually feasible in reality, the author recommend the designers to conduct researches about the technologies and their limitations.

In his article, the author argues that while prototyping provides a common focal and discussion point among different team members, over emphasis on the hypothetical features on the prototype could cause illusion to the team members regarding the reality of making these features into an actual product. This false belief of the pseudo feature of a prototype is what the author refers to as a “Cargo Cult Design.” Furthermore, in order to fix this problem, the author proposed that interaction designers should conduct prior researches regarding the background of the potential technologies and their limitations before designing the hypothetical features of a prototype. In this way, while having the discussion with the team, the designers will also have an idea about what’s actually feasible in reality rather than falling into the illusions that everything is feasible. In addition, the author also suggest that in order to prevent a prototype falls into a cargo cult experience, designers should realize that prototyping a helping the team to explore rather than an end product.