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Designing prototypes No ratings yet.

Designing low-fidelity prototypes

Keywords: HCI; prototype; user-centered design.

Aims and Rationale

The aim of this activity is to facilitate students’ design of low-fidelity prototypes which will be proposed to the community of users during the Sharing prototypes activity.

In this activity, the students will channel everything they have learned about their users into designing prototypes that will be reviewed by the same users during Sharing prototypes.

Learning Outcomes and Associated Areas of Knowledge

Interpret and Translate users’ needs and expectations into low-fidelity prototypes

Design mobile applications that address issues around ICH as identified by the community of gatekeepers

21st Century skills

  • Self-Direction
  • Technological Fluency


Students will need material to help them with low-fidelity prototyping such as cardboards, scissors, post-it notes, markers and sharpie pens. We recommend work on large tables so that everyone could see and contribute to the design.

How to

This activity is entirely led by the students, who need to apply their best creative efforts. Students will be in charge of organizing their time and distributing the tasks within each team. It is worthwhile spending some time discussing with the students different ideas of how they intend to work together. The idea is not to instruct them in how to work together but initiate this discussion between them to encourage them to take a project management, coordinated and inclusive approach. Some online tools exist which could help students organise themselves, their ideas and each other, such as: Trello or Padlet.


The students may find presenting a low-fidelity (unfinished) prototype to the potential users a bit strange given they are used to be assessed based on the successful running of their software. We recommend emphasizing that the early feedback on design ideas could save a lot of effort in re-building a design the user cannot use. Students might appreciate examples from real-life prototypes such as modelling the first personal digital assistant using a piece of wood. Another example could be prototyping a new item in a restaurant menu by placing the item in the menu without actually serving it and measure the demand on it.

Assessment for Learning

Once the students are underway and have started to self-organise in their teams, the educators’ role should be focussed on  ensuring that the students are taking into real consideration the feedback and learning from the ICH-HCI workshop for the design and, more generally, keeping their prototypes close as possible to  data generated and information collected throughout the activities. This can be achieved by posing a number of open-ended questions linked to these two areas throughout this activity.

Assessment 'How to'

As well as devising questioning and scaffolding to ensure the students stay on focus and continuously apply previous learning, this preliminary design activity will be entirely evaluated by the community itself, who will provide feedback on the usability of the prototypes and the consistency with perceived ICH issues during the Sharing prototypes activity.

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Download Word File of activity in English
Student Assignment Editable Word File


  • Let the students self-organise.
  • Let the community members evaluate the prototypes during Sharing prototypes.