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Tag: prototyping

A/B Testing a Physical Prototype

Recently I wrote about a little UX exercise I did at work. It was about prototyping for designers. I’ve been building a prototype of a donation box, to help a colleague to collect some compensation for his expenses—Designers also should build physical prototypes


Meanwhile, that fellow colleague has set up an a/b-test, to find out how to increase the amount per donation. It’s very interesting to see, which issues, or hypothetical improvements were already addressed, while not being aware of my last article.

  • Security — there’s no lock on the prototype
  • Insertion slot — big coins, like our 2€, don’t fit
  • Visual Design — as it is a quick and dirty prototype, the design is quite basic, even ugly

Compare the prototype (original) versus the first mature model (variant).

This first model of a mature donation box comes with several improvements:

  • A lock to prevent people from stealing money — although, as I already mentioned, we’re all good people 😉
  • Wider insertion slot allows throwing in the 2€ coin
  • Premium designed, wooden chest

The preliminary result is quite clear. So far — after circa three weeks — the variant outscores the original by 54:15 Euros.

Still, that’s by far not enough to fully compensate my colleague’s expenses. But, as I also mentioned in the original article.

[…] without forcing anyone to cover the exact amount of their consumption. And, without hurting the colleague’s need to do good to the community.

And finally, the range of sweets has also been expanded. So now I’ll go over to get another candy bar.

Designers Also Should Build Physical Prototypes

Paper clips container with a post-it. Reads Candy Bar Sponsorship.

My very basic, yet fully functional physical prototype

When designing digital products we, as UX Designers, deal with screens, pages, and page flows. We rarely get physical. Maybe sometimes we make paper prototypes for e.g. website navigation. But typically our experience doesn’t reach beyond digital.

Imagine areas where physical objects and digital applications merge. Think about a smart home use case, where things are interacting with associated apps. Software that, on a digital screen, lets you control the settings of a smart device. If you want to create a really good app for a smart home use case, you need to know how the physical object works.

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