Who says you can’t prototype software?

Sometimes it's easy to dismiss the idea of doing some prototyping when the "thing" we're working on is as ethereal as a service offering or a software interface.  The usual suspect excuses are very predictable:

  • We can't prototype it because prototyping it is tantamount to building it
  • We need to design the entire interface if we're going to interact with it on the device, so why prototype it?
  • We don't have an interaction designer
  • We don't have a graphic designer
  • It'll take a few weeks to mock up the interface
  • We don't have time

But, as the video above shows, where there's a will, there's a way.  If you believe you can prototype it, you can.  Warning, shameless plug approaching: Elmo's Monster Maker was designed by some of my colleagues here at IDEO, and it's awesome.  Not only is it one of my kid's favorite apps, but it's one of mine, too.  It's fun, social, wacky, will make you giggle, and in the way of all good games, you just can't put it down. 

None of this happened by accident. Perhaps Mozart could dish out an entire perfect opera based on the music in his head, but for the rest of us, there's no substitute for getting something out quickly, and then improving it over and over and over until we have to ship it. Iteration makes perfect. Starting is the springboard to perfection.

Some relevant innovation principles: