Prototyping Canvas: Design Tool for Planning Purposeful Prototypes

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Lauff, Carlye (1); Menold, Jessica (2); Wood, Kristin L. (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: SUTD-MIT
Section: Design methods and tools
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


While prototypes are critical to the creation of successful products and innovative solutions, building a prototype is characterized by large sunk costs and a plethora of unknowns. The versatility and effectiveness of prototypes paired with the ambiguous nature of developing a prototype can lead to wasted resources. Recent studies support this claim, demonstrating that under certain circumstances, designers often prototype without a clear purpose, building prototypes as a function of the design process rather than as a function of the design. These findings motivated the creation of the Prototyping Canvas, a tool to aid designers in planning for purposeful prototypes by identifying critical assumptions and questions to guide development. Business and engineering design literature influenced the development of the canvas, which was first tested with a client project in the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC). The feedback and insights from the design team guided revisions to the canvas. The updated canvas was then validated with 55 professionals during a design project sprint. The purpose of this paper is to present the Prototyping Canvas as a valid and effective design tool.

Keywords: Design methods, Prototype, Design practice, New product development


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