The Concept of Purposeful Prototyping: Towards a New Kind of Taxonomic Classification

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

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Petrakis, Konstantinos; Hird, Abigail; Wodehouse, Andrew
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Strathclyde
Section: Design methods and tools
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


A prototype can be generally defined as a preliminary version of a final product and it can represent both aesthetic and functional features. Prototyping, the process of building a prototype, constitutes an indispensable part of product development processes. Many classifications of prototypes which use a different range of criteria have already been developed and are known as Prototype Taxonomies. This paper proposes an agenda towards the development of a new taxonomic classification which will be based on a prototype?s attributes and its intended purpose. This work is justified from the results of an analysis of 8 existing prototype taxonomies which indicate that there is not a taxonomy that explicitly uses the prototypes? purposes as its basic taxonomic dimension. A definition of the term ?Prototype Purpose? is proposed through discussing the differences and relations to the term ?Prototype Role?. This work results in a list of 23 explicit prototype purposes which arise from 7 roles of prototyping found in relevant literature: Learning, Communication, Demonstration, Integration, Refinement, Exploration and Requirement Elicitation.

Keywords: Design engineering, Design process, Prototypes, Purposes, Design methods


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