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Investigating prototyping approaches of Ghanaian novice designers

  • Michael Deininger (a1) (a2), Shanna R. Daly (a2), Kathleen H. Sienko (a2), Jennifer C. Lee (a3) and Elsie Effah Kaufmann (a4)...


Increasingly, products are designed for global markets, yet studies of design practices primarily investigate designers from high-income countries. Specifically, the use of prototypes during design is likely affected by the background of the designer and the environment in which they are designing. To broaden our understanding of the extent to which prototyping best practices are used beyond Western designers, in this study, we conducted interviews with novice designers from Ghana, a middle-income country (MIC), to examine how Ghanaian novice designers (upper-level undergraduate students) used prototypes throughout their design courses. We compared the reported use of prototypes to best practice behaviors and analyzed the types of prototypes used. We found evidence that these Ghanaian novice designers used some critical prototyping best practice behaviors, while other behaviors were underutilized, specifically during the front-end phases of design and for the purpose of engaging with stakeholders. Additionally, virtual models dominated their prototyping choices. We discuss likely reasons for these trends based on participants’ design experiences and design contexts.

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