P’eco: Video Prototyping

P’eco: Video Prototyping

This project aimed to investigate the role of prototyping in design.

The following topics were covered:

  • Contextual Interviews with Video
  • Ethics in the use of Video
  • Video Prototyping
  • Brainstorming with video
  • Use of video to communicate design ideas

Based on the paper The Starfire we produced two versions of our design idea and evaluated both renditions with focus groups.  The product that our team chose to video prototype was an ecological printer that would run on recycled paper, print on fading ink (to re-use the paper) and itself recycle paper to print on.  The ideas were generated through several brainstorm sessions.

Topic: Video Prototyping
Project: Hi vs Lo fidelity video prototypes
Date: March 2010
Role: Research of topic, video “screen” writer, videos “director”, data analysis.

According to the requirements, two video prototypes, a lo-fi and a hi-fi one were produced.  Our group decided that we would use for change in fidelity the look and feel of the product itself.  Both videos would have the same storyline, same actors, and so on, but when showing the product, one would be “closer” to a real one, and another one would obviously be fake.  Since we were conveying the idea of  a printer, for the high fidelity, we used a real printer from our office and printer interfaces were flash interfaces that were overlaid on the video.  On the other hand, for for the lo-fi, we made a printer out of a cardboard that was covering a metal structure  and the interface on both the printer and the pc (where the user was getting the printing properties) were paper-based.


After the videos were edited and done, we had to ask potential users how each video conveyed the idea.  We were interested in finding out if participants would be “convinced” more with one video vs another one, and their overall feelings with them.  We asked 8 participants to first watch one of the videos (either the lo-fi or the hi-fi version, picked randomly) and then complete a short questionnaire and answer to addtional interview questions. Following this, we asked them to watch the second video and then complete a second questionnaire and same set of interview questions so as to check the difference in their answers.

The questionnaire had 3 parts, where the participants had to rate:

  1. Attitude of the participant towards using the printer in the video watched
  2. Perceived usefulness of the printer
  3. Perceived usefulness of the printer’s functionalities.

The questionnaires used were based in the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), i.e. models about how users come to accept and use a technology.

The interviews used were structured and were mainly so as to get more information about the order and flow of the design, and also about the interaction, the functionalities and the feasibility of the printer.


The results of the evaluation showed that the participants generated more ideas and were more critical after watching the lo-fi prototype first. Additionally, we found out that they could think of more functionalities to add after watching the lo-fi video prototype.  An interesting point is that they thought that not many functionalities could be added to the printer when watching the hi-fi version first.  They explained  that since “it looks like the printer we use in the office already” it was hard for them to think how to change it.  On the other hand, when asked to compare the two videos, they said that the hi-fi prototype of the printer looked more realistic and feasible in the near future.

**Videos are available upon request.  This research was published at SIGDOC: On the effect of visual refinement upon user feedback in the context of video prototyping.

Sources: The “Starfire” Video Prototype Project: A Case History, Tognazzini, B., Proceedings CHI ‘94

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