A prototype is a product or service sample that made for the purpose of testing or validating a concept or process. A prototype can be used for a number of reasons in Assistive Technology product development:
- The end user or stakeholders can’t fully comprehend 2D sketches or perspective drawings, requiring a 3D model.
- Prototypes can be held, sat on or be placed against or near to a user or stakeholders to provide an interaction beyond visualisation.
- Prototypes can embody physical characteristics that are difficult to present as 2D illustrations, such as weight, centre of gravity, sound, vibration, smell, or movement.
- Prototypes can be used effectively to undertake participatory design or co-design with people who have visual impairment or difficulties with depth perception.
- The fidelity or refinement of a prototype is dependent on its purpose and resources available.
- Human Computer Interaction and Apps design can be prototyped using simple line drawings of computer screens or free graphics packages used alongside basic ‘hypertext mark-up language’ (HTML) webpages to replicate control interactions.
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