DIY has caused an influx of mass customization and rapid propogation of ideas wants massive customization (3-D printing technologies, open source software). Makers will start to own the interaction model through environmental changes.
The old model is massive variation leading to a favorite construct, leading to slightly less variation, leading again to a favorite construct. Now the model is shifting to massive change and customization to deliver the first valuable product which is rigorously tested. A methodology of commercially viable production is best.
Use expedient technology to try and stand up a model as fast as possible. When standing up a model use agreed upon fidelity and index of user vision to design. There is no need for excess wireframing over and over, the sim is the artifact.
Step one is generative white-boarding on a big board often with the client and outside stake holders such as engineering resources. By participating everyone loses their baggage and reliance on their ego. If needed, guide and force them through the interactive mapping.
Secondly, select the first viable idea. This is a democratic process but also one that isn’t looking for a perfect solution, just one that seems to answer the most problems for the end goal.
Next, code to fidelity – make quick and dirty prototypes in Fireworks, HTML, Flash, etc. to create a model that can still show interactivity through touch, hover, interaction models, etc.
Finally, you will reach a critical mass. This can be used as a sales tool and demoware, it can be used for user testing, for heuristic modeling, or simply to allow those who are constructing the finished product a model to build off of (to see the capabilities in action).
Now that hardware and software is much more approachable, it allows individual interaction designers, visual designers, and experience designers to get more intricate with their vision in front of clients. This also allows a greater level of validation to be performed at the design level rather than at the code level where it incurs much greater cost. A rapid-failure model means more viable designs in the long term; it “Ends the Tyranny of the Engineer Class”
There is another issue – as the hardware and software is more approachable, it is also becoming fragmented. The information wants to be free, but no one will document and release important info to further hack those concepts.
Prototypes as proof-of-concept still needs the same language around technical implementation (that is, you still need to build the the thing). use the PASSMADE principle:
Do not underestimate the importance of putting even the smallest artifact in the hands of the client to inform interactive decisions.
New technologies are available which allow for a lower barrier of entry into prototype and simulation creation for clients. By getting some measure of sim into stakeholder’s hands you greatly improve the chances of making better, more reasoned design choices. Interaction models, especially in complex software. Gesture technology is best viewed in prototype.
When using these technologies to create the sims, be sure to account for time for the agreed upon fidelity. If running your UX on a budget, lower fidelity interactions can save you headache while still accounting for interaction troubles.