Iterations: High-level Prototyping

Iterations: High-level Prototyping

Bwere, Daniel E.


  1. A client is an individual with a challenge, whom we are trying to design a solution for.



Iteration is the repetitive process of performing an activity with a desired outcome in mind. In the Human-Centred Design, iterations are done in the implementation stage when prototypes of the final product are developed from low-level unfurnished to high-level furnished prototypes.


How does the process come about? 

Since the HCD approach is being considered, then a product is designed to be feasibly accommodating to the client[1] in quo. How can this be achieved? Initially,  all insights on the design were gathered from interviews. Now, a low-level prototype is built following those insights. This prototype is given to the client so as to be tested. The client then gives back feedback following the user experience he/she had from using the prototype. 

This feedback is then used in furnishing the low-level prototype, upgrading it to a higher-level prototype. This process is done repetitively till the possible satisfaction can be achieved from the client usage of the device.


Iteration instance

This week, we were developing prototypes for the length board project. The first prototype was a scale-down version in terms of height from the original length board. Here are its features can be described below:

  • The adjoining board was made of acrylic to imply cutting down the overall weight of the length board, but also enable durability in terms of corrosion when it comes to sterilization of the board between measurements.

  •  The edges of the acrylic were sandwiched by 3mm plywood, to increase the surface area in contact with the bearings in the headpiece. 

  • The edges of the prototype were filed to increase user safety (to both patient and health personnel operating the board).

  • The slider consisted of a pair of bearings, one bearing on each side of the headpiece.

  • The base was made of 3mm plywood, joined to the adjoining board with strong adhesive and triangle connectors.

This low-level prototype was given in presentation to the health personnel  at Muhimbili National Hospital. The following was their feedback:

  • The initial width of the adjoining board (1 foot) wasn’t practical in general wards.

  • The base being of wood tends to rot when it siphons water. 

  • The headpiece didn’t have a locking mechanism to hold in place when taking measurements. It was loose, thus achieving linearity was difficult.

A higher-level prototype was then created following the feedback obtained from the client. The features of the prototype were as follows:

  • The adjoining board was made of double 9mm plywood, extending 5ft in height and 1.5ft in width.

  • The headpiece was attached with 2 pairs of bearings, a pair on each side. This helped achieve linearity/normality of the headpiece when taking measurements.

  • Screws were used in joining loose points, then they were grinded to attain smoothness of the board.

  • A slot was cut into the headpiece where the readings were to be obtained from the scale.

  • The base was made of acrylic to avoid rotting effects of wood bases

  • Tyres were added at the hind of the base to ease portability, and a holding mechanism drilled near the top end of the adjoining board

  • Triangle and square connectors were used to hold the adjoining board with the base to avoid the board toppling over


The instance above elaborates practically how iteration goes about. The instance above consists of a single iteration. But to reach maximum satisfaction, a product could undergo multiple iterations.

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