$1 Prototype: A Modern Approach to Mobile UX Design and Rapid Innovation

$1 Prototype: A modern Approach to Mobile UX Design and Rapid Innovation by Greg Nudelman

Suitable for: beginners, research focussed professionals and advocates of ‘Lean’ techniques.

Time to read: 1.5-2 hours


The beginning of any UX design process is full of unknowns. In The $1 Prototype: Lean Mobile UX Design and Rapid Innovation for Material Design, iOS8, and RWD author Greg Nudelman introduces us to a lean, light weight UX methodology. The tech as a whole community has embraced the idea of failing fast, but the $1 Dollar Prototype methodology promotes a strategy of institutionalized failure in which UX practitioners fail fast, learn quickly, and can make rapid, cheap iterations (as the title suggests). Chalked full of case studies and real world examples, this book gives readers insight on the importance of prototype sketching and why testing early in the design process can yield rich insights and drive design implementation as the product becomes more refined through iteration.




Paper prototyping compared to the final implementation

The premise of the book is quite simple ‘the state of your prototype must reflect the state of completion of your system’. Rather than spending significant time crafting a prototype in mid or high fidelity, Nudelman makes a persuasive case for exploring design solutions quickly through sketching paper prototypes and testing with users (often times guerrilla style in coffee shops, food courts, or hallways) when the degree of uncertainty in the process is high.

The methodology discussed in this book is not only budget and time friendly, it also keeps the focus strictly on the user. Those who will be testing your product and providing feedback will likely be more open and honest about what they think of the interface due to its clear low quality state, leading to more candid and insightful feedback. Sketch prototyping as described in this book also removes any ego a UX professional might have attached to their design due to its clear disposability and extremely low time commitment. This would not be the case if a designer spent significant upfront time and energy into a high fidelity prototype.



Over the years paper prototyping has gained traction within the UX community. Prototyping tools such as PopApp and Marvel have even made paper prototyping more interactive, enabling designers to transform pen and paper sketches into tappable mockups.




The methodologies and concepts discussed in this book are by no means groundbreaking or new, however, the case studies and advocation for paper prototyping will give readers greater insight as to why they should be implementing this approach into their design process. Rapid, inexpensive, open-air, user centric experimentation focused on solving real problems has been proven to return significant ROI and Greg Nudelman’s book is a great foundation read for anyone seeking to learn more about the methodologies and value of paper prototyping.





Reviewed by: Mitchell Wakefield



Mitchell is a ‘Canadian guy living in Newcastle’. His interests are in digital user experience and innovation within fashion and luxury sectors. Mitchell is an advocate for open-source education initiatives and a self confessed constant knowledge seeker.

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