What Is Pretotyping
The best way to explain pretotyping is through examples, so let’s look at one. On the left is a pretotype of the Palm Pilot next to the final product.
The founder of Palm Computing, Jeff Hawkins, mocked up a Palm Pilot with wood and paper; then carried it with him for weeks pretending it was a working device. His objective was to learn if he would actually use such a device before going to the next, very expensive and time-consuming step, of building an actual working prototype.
Even though Hawkins did not use the term pretotyping (because we hadn’t made it up yet) that’s exactly what he was doing; simulating the core experience of having and using a Palm Pilot with the smallest possible investment of time and money to see if he would actually carry and use it.
Pretotyping Differs From Prototyping in one Important Respect:
The main objective of prototyping is to answer questions related to building the product. Can we build it? Will it work as expected? How cheaply can we build it? How fast can we make it?
The main objective of pretotyping is to answer questions about the product’s appeal and usage. Would people be interested in it? Will they use it as expected? Will they continue to use it? …