🔵 Empathize phase & 🔴 Prototype phase

User-driven prototypes are created by users, rather than developed by you. When users create aspects of the design themselves, they reveal assumptions and desires that otherwise remain unmined. 

Your goal is not to integrate their ideas into your design, but to better understand their thinking and reveal undetected needs and insights. 

How to create a user-driven prototype

Strike a balance between how much you provide and how much you ask users to create. The ideal prototype should be scaffolded enough to spur generative thinking, but open enough to broaden user understanding. 

Some user-driven prototypes ask users to draw something (“draw going to the doctor”), make an object (“make a diaper bag with this paper and tape”), or compile artifacts (“tear out magazine pictures that depict your ideal mall shopping experience”). 

If you were designing a website for users to create custom t-shirts, a traditional prototype might be a mockup of the website. A user-driven prototype might be a blank piece of paper for users to draw their own website. Scaffolding to get users going might include empty boxes on the page for them to fill in with content. 


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