The Importance Of Guidance When Presenting Prototypes

We eat with our eyes. The sight of a juicy double-bacon cheeseburger or a cinnamon roll dripping with icing can make you want to stop everything and take a bite. Same goes for design.

The Importance Of Guidance When Presenting Prototypes

Which of these burgers would you rather eat?

Marketing Your Prototypes

When presenting a prototype, especially to a varied crowd, you’ve got to properly set the scene. The end user might stumble onto your product with little warning, but your stakeholders shouldn’t have that experience.

  • Give a proper introduction. Summarize problems the project’s attempting to solve, solutions being considered, and goals or outcomes expected.
  • Answer questions before they’re asked. Layout missing something? Photo choices temporary? Folks should know that.
  • Give your explanations context. Stash notes right inside your prototype so the team knows exactly what you had in mind.
  • Discuss failures and future iterations. However you document, include some history. Knowing the how and why of a design choice makes it easier to swallow.

A properly guided tour of your complex prototype is like providing someone a key on a map. Sure, you can figure things out if you stare long enough, but understanding the design language speeds up the journey.

The Right Tool(s) For The Job

From working prototypes to slide decks, here are a few ways to put your project’s best foot forward.


As evidenced by the rise (or re-re-rise) of the GIF, people love animation. Prezi is an online service that creates dazzling presentations (for those who eat with their eyes).


Google Slides

While Slides might not be the most robust tool on the block, it’s ubiquity is dang impressive. It runs in the cloud—and virtually everyone has a Google account.

Google Slides

Keynote / PowerPoint

These desktop dinosaurs are no slouch when it comes to whipping up an awesome presentation. Just make sure you upload your results online somewhere (like Speakerdeck).

Speaker Deck


More than just prototyping, InVision packs a whopping collaborative toolset. Tours are a great way to add guided, in-context explanations to your designs.


Better yet, each guided step of the tour can hold a threaded conversation, perfect for pinpoint discussion of sticky issues.

Share Your Progress With The Team

Keeping your team up to date on progress is about as important as the progress itself. A successful designer will make time to frame the conversation and get everyone excited about the decisions being made.

What do you use to present your prototypes? Let us know in the comments.

Onextrapixel – Web Design and Development Online Magazine

Presenting The Globe

Some of you may have seen press reports in recent weeks, announcing the installation of ‘The Globe’, an exciting contemporary commission in the Europe Galleries.

The Globe is a curved architectural sculpture made from a lattice of engineered beech that forms a ‘room within a room’. Whenever I need to visit the galleries (as part of our pre-installation prepping) I always make a point of popping along to admire this lovely smooth beech creation. Today I thought I’d just take a moment to explain a bit more about the intention and inspiration behind its design.

THe Globe - European Gallery's - This installation by the Cuban art collective Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters) is a response to the theme of the Enlightenment. 26th June 2015

Marco Antonio Castillo Valdes and Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez of Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters) standing inside their recently erected structure, June 2015.

The Globe has been designed by Los Carpinteros (the carpenters), an artist collective that was established in Havana in 1992. The duo (Marco Antonio Castillo Valdes and Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez) work between Madrid and Havana and have received international acclaim for their sculptural pieces. The Globe is their first major project for a London museum. The physical structure was fabricated and engineered by TinTab.

Los Carpinteros were asked to design a large-scale, thought-provoking contemporary installation for Gallery 4: The Salon. This gallery examines the theme of the Enlightenment. We wanted something that responded to this and would offer visitors an opportunity to pause and reflect as well as engage with some of the complex concepts involved. We also wanted to introduce visitors to a different kind of aesthetic experience to the rest of the galleries.

Record of the fitting out of the new Europe 1600 - 1800 Gallery, including lighting & installation of display cases;  V&A Museum;  7th July 2015.

Record of the fitting out of the new Europe 1600 – 1800 Galleries, 7th July 2015.

The structure refers to several images from the Age of Reason. It can be viewed variously as a hemispherical map of the world, a bookcase, an interior from a great library classifying all human knowledge, a symbol of the universe, or an architectural model. I particularly like how its design reflects not only the world but also, with its bookshelf/cell-like construction, the organisation of knowledge – which was central to Enlightenment thought.

An additional interpretation is of the structure being like a cage. An important reference for Los Carpinteros has also been the late 18th-century ‘panopticon’ – a circular jail in which a single guard located at the centre could keep watch over hundreds of prisoners. Los Carpinteros described The Globe as “the culmination of a 20-year fascination with the idea of the ‘panopticon.’”

Elevation, section and plan of Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon penitentiary, drawn by Willey Reveley, 1791

Elevation, section and plan of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon penitentiary, drawn by Willey Reveley, 1791. From The works of Jeremy Bentham vol. IV, 172-3

First devised in the 18th century by Jeremy Bentham, these structures promoted surveillance and control and were originally intended for prisons. Los Carpinteros envision The Globe as reinterpreting this format as “an observation point” midway through the galleries.

You can see Los Carpenteros’ interest in the ‘panopticon’ and their approach to creating structures reflected in some of their other work.

Installation view of Los Carpinteros at the Parasol unity foundation for contemporary art, 2015. Photo: Jack Hems. Courtesy of Parasol unit.

Installation view of Los Carpinteros at the Parasol unity foundation for contemporary art, 2015. Photo: Jack Hems. Courtesy of Parasol unit.

Los Carpenteros have described The Globe as a construction where: “our work as artists, craftsmen, designers and carpenters has a rare practical utility and function alongside its symbolism – with pleasingly ambiguous results.”

Like the salons of the 18th-century, where the ideas of the Enlightenment were debated and music was performed, The Globe provides a space for conversation, programmed salons, and special events. We will of course keep you updated on future events scheduled for this rather special ‘salon-space’.