Drew Hemmet kindly did a workshop with us on the practices of Open Prototyping in our studio. We tried to apply the principles on our honours projects, which got me quite interested in actually using it.

Drew Hemmet (that guy looking at your browser’s address bar) is a founder of Future Everything  – annual festival, which is being regarded to as an innovation lab for digital culture. Open prototyping often takes place in the festival itself, with people applying its methods to directly make the festival visitors part in it.

Open prototyping is to develop and test a concept or process through input of external contributors. Projects are open to many contributors and also are often made with a public audience in mind. They benefit from the co-creation of many external contributors and the interface to a real public.


In the case of my Honours Project, open prototyping could be used by creating   a cookery experience for people to try out. They would be challenged to cook a recipe that they haven’t tried before. Conversational help (a simulation of conversational user interface) would be provided.

In the workshop itself, we first created pairs and explained our project to the paired person. Then, that person had to stand up and express what is our project about to the rest of the class. Good motivation to listen to others and also to notice how others see and re-interpret your project.

Then we split into groups, in which we talked about one persona for each of our projects. My persona is a young girl, inconfident but excited about cooking, depicted below:

Young girl discovering the world of cooking

Young girl discovering the world of cooking

We then generated contents for the FutureEverything Communication canvas, which helps us to talk about our project, who is it for and what take away for the future research & development of our project we’ve gained. We were also asked to think at which stage of our project we’ll actually meet our persona. I will be meeting the potential user in between research & design (Approved by Drew, since he is a strong advocate of research-led design).

When do you meet your project's persona?

When do you meet your project’s persona?

Open Prototyping Canvas

We decided on a particular way of using open prototyping with our project. In my case, it would be a Wizzard of Oz prototyping method provided to wide public (in some stall for example), where a person can literally put an apron on and start cooking.



Research activity

Wizzard of Oz prototype offered to people from the public – maybe a person who can also invite his/her friends to cook for, so this proposition is a win-win. Taking in mind that I tend to use some cooking vocabulary which people might not know.

The objective of the open prototyping concept

Make people experience cooking, learning how to keep the conversation with them going

One external contributor and their role

Person who is happy to cook for himself/friends.

The motivation of external contributors

  • Food!
  • Learning experience
  • Fun 🙂

Expected outcomes

  • Knowledge on how to keep the conversation with user going well
  • Insights into obstacles in the cooking experience

This workshop was very useful and I am looking forward for this open prototyping session with some people in the future. Ahead of me is the decision onto the actual route of prototyping with wizzard of oz – most likely I will use some voice calling method and provide the participant a handsfree or very loud smart device, so that my voice is heard over the cooking noise 🙂