Prototyping as a Method in the Design of Playful Objects

By Astrid Lubsen.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper describes the role of prototyping as design methodology in the project named Scottie. The intent of this project is to explore possibilities to create virtual intimacy between long-stay absentees through physical objects. Target users are hospitalized children in the age of eight to fourteen years old, and their family and friends. The aim is to facilitate those small, mostly unconscious, unspoken expressions of affection and intimacy with innovative media, like a pat on a child’s head by a mother, a consenting nod, a teasing sister.
Scotties are playful, networked objects that enable children to maintain their roles as classmate, brother and son, next to their new role of ‘being in a hospital’. Scottie offers remote communication in an implicit, affective and playful way. Users can apply the simple, subtle interactions to engage in a personal form of play.
While designing non-verbal forms of communication, several interactive prototypes have been created by the design team.
The prototypes have been evaluated with children, in order to better understand the role of sound, color, the environment, tactility, gestures, and play elements in the design. Prototyping throughout the design process not only served to evaluate ideas with users, it also helped the designers to develop new interactions. Reflecting on the process so far, prototyping itself has had a substantial effect on the end result. The availability of a fabrication lab, in which the designers could make the prototypes themselves made a valuable contribution. In the case of the Scottie project prototyping can be seen as a methodology that stimulates creativity, rather than a means to evaluate a design.

Keywords: Prototyping, Interaction Design, Product Design, Design Method

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.395-406. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.029MB).

Astrid Lubsen

Designer, Lab, Waag Society, Amsterdam, Netherlands

MSc. in Industrial Design Engineering, Designer and User researcher at Waag Society, Interested in ‘creative research’.


There are currently no reviews of this product.

Write a Review