Pop some popcorn, recline in your favorite recliner and rest your laptop. In five articles I will share with you some of the more interesting user experience videos on the web. They represent the importance of video as a tool for any designer working with new behaviors, emerging technologies and complex systems that unfold over time. From low-res, techfree prototypes to science-fiction-like future scenarios, this collection of videos will survey the various ways that designers are using this linear medium to explore possible functions, experiences, contexts and values afforded by new technology driven products and services. And we begin with: prototyping.
Video prototypes are used for the same reasons any prototypes are – testing, evaluating, iterating, communicating, etc. But video is an especially useful tool for designers who have to quickly represent design concepts that often involve complex relationships or require a high level of technology. It’s fast, cheap, easy to share and allows lots of space for faking it.
The Economizer is a three part video scenario created by Cooper, a design consulting firm in the US. This series is a great example of low-fi prototyping with video. In fact, it’s not even video, it’s still frames with a voice over. You have to love the hand drawn interfaces.
At the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, one of the fist workshops the students take is on the subject of video prototyping. Over the course of a week, students had to represent a concept as a low fidelity, low resolution prototype and then represent the same concept as a high fidelity, high resolution prototype in an empathetic scenario. Each student was given the concept for a service called KeyLess which would replace lost keys anywhere in the city in under 30 minutes. You can watch all the videos here.
Sketch-a-move is the concepts for a toy car by Anab Jain and Louise Klinker. While the concept for the car is technically feasible, this video prototype allowed the designers to answer the most important question – is it fun? – without having to worry about building a functional prototype. This prototype is a great example of how video opens up new possibilities for smoke-and-mirrors techniques. In this case, one can presume, someone behind the camera is controlling the cars with a remote control.
The RaMo System
The RaMo System is a network of portable devices for elderly homes. This video prototype, also made at CIID, explores the interface of these devices, how they work together, and how they work in the context of elderly homes. It even goes as far to explore how it can be a tool to involve family in the everyday lives of elderly people in the home. For a course about GUI, it was a great decision to use video and capture everything happening around the devices.
Next time: concepting