Pretotype before you Prototype

Pretotyping is word that Alberto Savoia coined at Google in 2009 to refer to a stage that occurs prior to prototyping.

It’s all about:

Make sure you are building the right IT before you build IT right

Examples are:

  • When IBM wanted to see if it was worth developing a text-to-speech system they ran a test to gauge people’s reactions. Rather than actually build the software, they told the test participants it existed but simulated it by having a typist in another room. As a result they amended the amount of investment they made in this technology.
  • When Palm created the Palm Pilot, their co-founder wanted to avoid a mistake he made a decade earlier when their handheld was made too large. So to test out the size, he cut a block of wood to fit his shirt pocket and carried it around pretending to use it each day. This allowed his to confirm that if they built the device it would actually be useable.

It’s defined as: “Fake it before you make it” or:

Pretotyping is a way to test an idea quickly and inexpensively by creating extremely simplified, mocked or virtual versions of that product to help validate the premise that “If we build it, they will use it.”

There’s more info on the Pretotyping site including also a free PDF minibook, and a talk by Alberto Savoia


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