Friday, October 24, 2014

The Anatomy of Prototypes

In preparation of a lecture on Monday I had to re-read an article that I wrote together with Youn-Kyoung Lim and Josh Tenenberg called "The Anatomy of Prototypes: Prototypes as Filters, Prototypes as Manifestations of Design Ideas".

I don't think I have read the whole article in a few years which is always an exciting  and a bit nervous experience. Anyway, this time I was pleasantly surprised. I really find this article to be interesting and still useful. Unfortunately I have not done any more work on this topic since we wrote this article but after having read it now, I think I  have to.

I am more convinced than ever that what our field needs are analytical tools that makes it possible to investigate specific entities in a structured way. In this article we propose an anatomy of prototypes that supports such investigations of one of the most important entities in our field--the prototype.

It would be great if we could develop similar "anatomies" for other entities in our field. The 'power' of anatomies (or frameworks) is that they (if done well)  provide clear definitions that support examinations, categorizations and understanding without being prescriptive. The anatomy of prototypes that we provide in our article is a conceptual tool for the analysis and description of every possible prototype without saying anything at all how to design prototypes or what constitute a good prototype (except in a very abstract but principled and precise way).

Anyway, good to return to "old" texts and to discover that they still can be valuable and not outdated.