Developing a Prototyping Workshop: Pilot Study

Pilot Study Outline

As part of the UMI-Sci-Ed project, our team is working on developing a prototyping workshop that will run as part of an existing Enterprise Camp in CIT, in which Transition Year students create their own business ideas. We ran a pilot study of this workshop with nine adults last week, in order to test out the flow and content of the workshop. The participant group was made up of four engineering interns, two mathematics lecturers, two videographers and one computer science graduate. The following is a short description of our experiences.

Set-up and Room Layout

Participants were divided into two teams, one of four and one of five. A desk was provided to each team, and five chairs. Only one desk was provided per team, to mimic the amount of space teams would have in the actual camp. Materials were laid out on a large table in front of the two desks.



The following materials were provided to participants:

  • Paper (A4 and A3), pencils and pens
  • Coloured markers
  • Coloured paper
  • Cardboard
  • Plasticine
  • TI Sensor Tags
  • Scissors
  • Elastic bands
  • Sticky notes
  • PVA glue
  • Pritt stick
  • Sellotape
  • BluTack
  • Storyboarding sheets


  • Participants grasped the concepts fairly quickly, and needed no help working through their solutions
  • Both teams produced interesting prototypes by the end of the session
  • Storyboarding was highlighted as being the most difficult techniques to use, as none of the participants were comfortable drawing


Figure 2: A team of participants during the ideation stage

  • Participants suggested that perhaps a time limit should be given for each activity, and a timer shown to participants so that they could manage their time better
  • One participant suggested that it alternative methods of describing user scenarios, e.g. writing them out, should be highlighted as design techniques for participants that don’t like to draw

Figure 3: One of the prototypes produced by the two teams

Results and Recommendations

  • Time limits should be explained and highlighted to teams, so that they have forewarning the next portion of the workshop begins
  • More emphasis should be placed on other techniques that can substitute drawing
  • More time was required for the storyboarding stage – participants were slow to begin the ideation stage, and needed more time in the second stage (storyboarding) to make up for it.
2 years ago

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