MediaLAB Amsterdam is now the Digital Society School! You are viewing an archive of MediaLAB projects. Content on this website may be outdated, and is without guarantee.

Paper Prototyping: Mistakes were made.

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce (1882 – 1941)

One of the goals of rapid prototyping in an early stage of the design process, is to discover mistakes. At the PICNIC festival 2012 we invited 30 people to experience this during a workshop on water, while prototyping a mobile app for tourist visiting the canals of Amsterdam.


All aboard!

We can modestly conclude that the workshop was a big success looking at the number of attendees, but we aren’t sure the boat ride itself added to this success. In any case, all participants were having a great time while sketching and drawing and cutting and pasting if they weren’t distracted by the beautiful view.

PICNIC12 workshop

Experience prototyping in context.

One of the biggest advantages of making an early prototype within the context of use, is that designers are able to fully experience the thoughts, feelings and view of the user, in this case, the canal boat passenger. We asked the attendees to come up with a concept for an app for smart phones, on which the user is able to discover the history and interiors behind the walls of the canal houses. The big challenge was to do this within an hour!

Some sketches

Early results.