Sketching is a great way to feel your way around a prototype, approaching it quickly from different angles. You can sketch on the back of a napkin, with cardboard, code, spreadsheets, Lego pieces, welding equipment, or the salt and pepper dispensers on your lunch table.
What makes a sketch a sketch is that it is low fidelity. It’s rough; it’s not about the details. The details can be worked on later.
What if you had no budget and no time? What can you accomplish in 30 minutes or less? Funny enough, adding constraints to yourself will increase your ability to be creative. It frees you from the urge to make it perfect, and will help you avoid kne-jerk reactions, such as outsourcing or immediately hiring developers to build a final product.
MacGyver (yes, that is now an accepted verb in the Oxford Dictionaries!) together the scrappiest prototype you can, with only the materials available in your desk drawer. It will be done in no time, and it will almost certainly teach you something new.
TIP! Ask yourself the following question: Do you really need to build it? Is there any way to get (most of) what you need from something that is on the shelf? Can you wire together existing products?
In early prototyping, you don’t need fancy materials if you know what you want to test. Tinkering with office supplies, paper, and everything else at hand is usually all you need. A coffee mug becomes a customer, ...