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Prototyping to maximise value

13 April 2023

How does Opencast ensure that the use of prototypes maximises value? In a new video, two of our senior user-centred design (UCD) specialists explain our approach to prototyping to ensure that our clients and their users get the best results.

Prototyping helps design teams turn experimental ideas into reality by capturing design concepts and testing them with users. They are an essential tool in Opencast’s approach to UCD in helping our clients understand what their users really need.

Opencast’s new video series explains the ways that our specialist consultants work with clients to help them deliver success. Each video features the voices of our people in explaining their work to support our clients. In this video, two of our leading UCD specialists explain the value of prototypes.

“When we’re putting together designs, we need to test them with our users, and we do that with prototypes,” explains senior content designer Milly Shaw.

“Prototypes can be low fidelity or high fidelity and we’ll use those at different stages of the project. Low fidelity can be as simple as a piece of paper. It can literally just be sketching out some ideas and just seeing ‘is this going to work, can we take this to the next level?’

“We’ll progressively make the prototypes a little bit more developed so that by the time we are quite confident with the prototype it can be ready to be put into development.

“What we don’t want to do is spend ages developing a prototype that is very detailed and has lots of functionality if we actually put it in front of some users and we discover that something very fundamental is not right with it.”

Illustration of computer screen with finger pointing at it
Prototypes are key to user testing

Stakeholder insight

Interaction designer Michael Turner adds: “We ensure stakeholders are involved collaboratively in the design process by running sessions like workshops and co-designs. This allows us to bring in their insight quite early on in the design phase.

“Stakeholders and SMEs have a lot of business insight into the problem that the business is facing or if there’s a solution that we’re trying to deliver. We develop a prototype so that we can then take it and test with users. At this stage here it’s also quite important that we encourage stakeholders to come in and join those sessions and then witness first-hand how users are engaging and interacting with the service that we’ve designed.

“Then we can take the feedback and the insight that we’ve gained from those sessions, back into design with those stakeholders and make an iteration so then we can move forward in a more knowledgeable way and continue that cycle over and over again until we’re happy that the solution is meeting both user needs and the business needs.”

Watch the video: prototyping to maximise value
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