As part of our approach to designing iteratively, we initialised the prototyping stage by returning to the drawing board. Sketches lead to conceptual models and user scenarios, which progressed to manipulating small-scale to large-scale physical objects. To summarise, our prototypes lead to effective group discussion based on concepts, insights and ideas that had not been thought of primarily.

Prototype Stage 1 – Sketching

To better understand what our project The Faces of Amnesty would look like visually we started by simply sketching out the basic aesthetics of the project. The Faces of Amnesty consists of cubes that will be projected onto. As you can see below there are three cubes;

The Top Cube:

  • Will be thin as it will only include text. “Amnesty International”.
  • This is to ensure that passersby and participants know that the street demonstration is about the organisation, Amnesty International.

Middle Cube:

  • The middle cube will be the largest cube as it will include the main content of the street demonstration.
  • The top of the middle cube will display a positive statement about an Amnesty achievement. For example “55,000 prisoners of conscience freed since 1961”.
  • Below the positive statement will be a selfie of a willing member of the public made into a face mosaic of the 55,000.
  • The reason for this interactive feature is to show members of the public and participants the things that Amnesty have accomplished, these are The Faces of Amnesty, we all stand united in the fight for our human rights.

The Bottom Cube:

  • Will also be thin as it will only include text.
  • This cube will display “#FacesOfAmnesty”.
  • The reason for displaying a specific hashtag to the public and participants is to try and gain social meida and media attention, to rasie awareness, educate and reach as many people as possible with our positive Amnesty street demonstration.

example sketch

What we gained from this…

From the prototype sketch, we found that having four cubes would look better, providing the information on individual cubes will allow for information to be represented more clearly to onlookers.

Prototype Stage 2 – Photoshop

After basic sketching of our idea, we digitalised it using Photoshop to provide a more realistic perspective of the cubes and the information and imagery that would be included within the cube projections.


What we gained from this…

By utilising Photoshop to digitalise a basic example of The Faces of Amnesty we were able to a better idea of what the project would like in a 3D perspective with more realistic content. Establishing that the cube concept would be feasible to implement and would allow for four individuals to interact with the project at any one time, while any number of people could view the street demonstration.

Prototyping Stage 3 – Small Paper Prototype

After stages 1 and 2 of prototyping, we decided that it was time to transform our idea from 2D to 3D. We created small paper cubes to transform the project from 2D to 3D very basically without including any example content, as we wanted to get a feel for proportions and scale of the thinner cubes.

What we gained from this…

From paper prototyping, we were able to establish that the three thinner cubes should be half the height of the larger cubes. However, when we begin prototyping at a larger scale we may find that having the three thinner cubes half the height of the large cube may be too much.

Prototype Stage 4 – Larger Cardboard Main Cube

As the previous prototypes haven’t contained a lot of detail, we decided to create the large cube out of cardboard and attach example face mosaics onto the cube.

What we gained from this…

As shown above you can see how visually appealing the face mosaics look on the cube. Though this is only an example, we plan to have different willing members of the public on each side of the cube to allow for multiple interactions. We also decided that in relation to the final prototype we will demonstrate a variety of different examples on each side of the cube, as it would be difficult and time-consuming to generate a face mosaic of those viewing/testing our prototype on the fly in the Presentation & Viva session.

Prototype Stage 5 – Lego Prototype

Building The Faces of Amnesty out of lego.

What we gained from this…

Although simple, creating The Faces of Amnesty cubes out of lego allowed us to think about the ratio of the cubes in a 3D perspective with tangible objects.

Prototype Stage 6 – Designing the Cube out of Cardboard

In order to visualise the project interface as a group, we assembled cubes out of recycled cardboard. This exercise gave us an idea of the appropriate dimensions of the cube and what impact they would instigate in the flesh, probing questions leading to relevant answers, such as:

  • Is this size [50cm x 50cm] big enough to capture the eyes of our audience? – For the prototype presentation, we felt that the size of the cubes should not be smaller than that of the cardboard prototypes. The cubes need to be big enough for audience members to feel captured by the content, the text should be of an appropriate readable size.
  • Should the cubes have a black or white background for the projection? Or should we buy projection paint, specialised for professional projector backgrounds? – After speaking with Keir, we now understand that the background  cube should not matter. As long as the cubes don’t have texture or lines affecting the interface, a simple white background should be fine.
  • Is cardboard a suitable material for the prototype? – Again, Keir informed us that the prototype needs to be of an impressive quality. We do not necessarily need to have the cubes custom built, although it would be beneficial if the cubes were of a professional quality. In response to this, we searched online for physical cube shapes. On the iKea website, we found storage boxes for paper, however they were made out of cardboard and not up to spec. We found multiple cube shapes online in the form of furniture and custom decor, albeit too expensive and not the right shape. Since our cubes need to be of a specific size and shape, we contacted a carpenter from Devon. He informed us that he would be able to assemble the project interface at a cost, of which we were not prepared to pay. Abbey found some appropriate material from the project room, which is easier to manipulate and cost effective. We’ll explain more in this post.

Working with cheap material allowed us to get creative and make mistakes, thus representing an iterative approach to designing the cube to scale.

Whilst discussing the construction of the cubes, Keir informed us that we need to consider the technical requirements list. We sketched out the project scenario onto cardboard to get an idea of the equipment required i.e. gazebos for the protecting the projectors in the event of harsh weather etc.

 What we gained from this …

Although the cardboard material was not up to spec, this exercise was beneficial in cementing the group vision for the project. We realised that the cubes need to be of a semi-professional standard in material and, through effective group discussion, agreed that the technical requirements are essential to the project in the final stages.

Overview of how the prototype works…