Sketch models

Sketch models are a quick and low-cost option for prototyping.

Low cost physical prototypes can be made from paper, cardboard, extruded polystyrene foam board (blue board) or soft wood of a fine grain (such as jelutong or balsa). These can be finished to a high quality with limited resources (craft knife, fine blade fret saw and sand paper). These types of prototype give a good user experience (UX) beyond visual review.

Using weights (lead shot, for example) sandwiched between sections of the outer model can replicate the weight of a real product.

Human Computer Interaction and Apps design can be prototyped using simple line drawings of computer screens. This may be replaced by simple screens produced in low-cost or free graphics packages alongside basic ‘hypertext mark-up language’ (HTML) webpages to replicate control interactions.

Useful links

Martin, B., Hanington, B., 2012. Universal methods of design: 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas, and design effective solutions, Rockport, Beverly.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., Butler, J., 2003. Universal principles of design: 100 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design, Rockport, Gloucester.

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (, Accessed: [23/09/2015]

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (, Accessed: [23/09/015]