“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Video Prototyping is the NEW best tool for IxD

I recently was honored to have some time with the Esteemed Bill Moggridge, co-Founder of IDEO, author/editor of Designing Interactions, designer of the first laptop and the person who coined the phrase “interaction design”. Let’s just say I was a tad faklempt at the honor.

Unfortunately, I can’t go into right now all that we talked about with him and esteem design educator Norman McNally, but what was great was to have this luminary affirm much of my thinking about the theory, practice & history of interaction design. One such item was the growing if not new requirement in prototyping–videography.

Video has a prototyping tool has come of age in the age of YouTube & Vimeo. At first it was a means of expressing that which has been built as a sorta of record of the moment, or a demo. We’d see these all the time.

Here is one from an HCI research group with a new paradigm in desktop management called Bumptop:

Then IDEO jumped the shark with its work for Intel on new paradigms in pervasive and mobile computing:

The folks at Nokia turned video into a means of expressing things in the sci-fi realm:

Combining the sci-fi and the completed demo with a step backwards in some ways was Oblong:

But then others joined in with IDEO to express ideas instead of prototypes, where the videography like the IDEO example presented something not completed, but merely illustrated with smoke & mirrors (or green screens and editing).

Low-fi versions like Cooper’s Drawing Board’s Commuter Buddy demonstrate how cheap and effective this can be:

The folks at Adaptive Path did a tremendous job with their video demonstrating new desktop & mobile forms of web browsing technology & behaviors:

Obviously, I can’t keep going like this right? The point is made that videos have a ton of power. But the examples I have given so far are mostly interaction designs embodied in the software. But where video prototyping is really powerful is with hardware interactions, and technologies that don’t really exist yet. Or in explorations of the theoretical.

A long time example of this type of use is the work by Tony Dune and Fiona Raby from the Royal College of Art’s Design Interactions program. Here is a still from the video (that I can’t find).

Technological dreams series: No.1, Robots

Technological dreams series: No.1, Robots

And this entire post was inspired by the most recent work from my favoriate Norwegian IxD researchers from Touch.org working on the study of NFCs. Their latest prototype uses this same type of experimentation in between the smoke & mirrors of videography using an iPhone and a supposed RFID add on (available in the future.

But why all the video? Would storyboards do?

I don’t think so. Despite the fact that sequential art is well sequential there is a property to the type of sequencing that exists in comic form that lacks a fundamental reality. Sometimes this abstraction works in the favor of clearer communication, but that is rare and usually in the hands of a trained professional comic artist. The videos though of all these types communicate with clarity in that 4th dimension of time. These stories insert themselves and force a type of reflection that other forms of none production prototyping do not.

So break out the camera and after-effects and get to work!

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  • http://www.multiblah.com/ Kevin Cannon

    We had a course in Video Prototyping here at CIID. It’s one of the tools we use a lot here and something I’ve found very useful as a tool. Just check out CIID on vimeo to see what we’ve been up to, or we can shown you some when you come visit!


  • http://jamin.org Jamin Hegeman

    Nice collection. Although I’d like to point out that video prototyping isn’t new. John Zimmerman has been teaching video sketching at Carnegie Mellon since at least 2005. His paper, Video Sketches: Exploring Pervasive Computing Interaction Designs, is a good reference.

    Most interaction design projects at CMU include a video prototype. For example, you can find links to video prototypes created by the Basic Interaction Design students I taught in 2008. These are good examples of what you can do without a budget.


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