10:50 - 12:30
Session: S44
[Prototypes and Tools] + Design
Understanding designers’ use of prototypes in smart product design
Smart Product Design; Prototype; Fidelity; Experienced Designers; Communities Of Practice

Various smart products with sensing and intelligent features have been emerging in the market, the design of which encounters new challenges from continuous technological advancement related to hardware, software, and the Internet. Among them, the communication barrier between designers and stakeholders from disparate backgrounds is a crucial one to overcome, considering that the information explained by the designers strongly depends on their professional experience. Previous literature clearly highlights the importance of prototyping in product development to support communication and development of ideas as they emerge in the team and beyond. The importance of communication and collaborative work/development of ideas is even more emphasised on smart product development because of its interdisciplinary nature; hence, appropriate prototyping is alsovital. However, research related to prototyping in smart product design is scarce. This study aims to comprehensively understand the differences in the prototyping between smart products and traditional ones (non-smart features). A survey was conducted to capture prototyping practices in the early stage of smart product design (SPD) compared to traditional product design (TPD) group. It is found that there are differences in the frequency of use and satisfaction with different prototyping tools between the SPD and TPD groups. From the perspective of prototyping tools’ dimensions (of fidelity), SPD designers pay more attention to the interactivity and environment of the tools, especially at the front end of the design process. The findings contribute to better supporting practices, and potentially guide the development of future prototyping tools that are specific to SPD.