JohnGB on UXSE has answered my question outlining the steps he takes to handle paper prototypes:
I follow a 3 step process:
- Photograph or scan the paper prototypes and back the images up.
- Place all the paper prototypes in a sleeve or box.
- After the box has been idle for about 6 months, I usually throw the contents out. I only work with paper, but if I were working with physical prototypes, I would store the box with them in some cheap storage. In the rare situation that I find that I need paper prototypes again, I simply print them out from my backups.
No need to reinvent the wheel
I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask this, but I can’t yet find any online discussions about it. So my question is:
How do you manage your paper prototypes, sketches, and other physical objects created during a design process?
If this were a question about code, the answer would be simple enough (I think!) – a software code management repository (ala Git). We could even use Git to manage wireframes and other virtual creations.
But what do you do when it comes to pieces of paper, and post-it notes and such?
My idea so far, has been to get simple folders, time/datestamp the piece of paper and detail the iteration number (1, 2, 3…..). These are then nicely stored available for designers, coders, product managers to look through and see what was going on during the design process. I’ve only started this, so it might all go Pete Tong…
The only mention I have found of prototype archiving was earlier this year at a January London IA talk, Sjors Timmer spoke about Rem Koolhaus and his “Office for Metropolitan Architecture”, and how they manage physical prototypes and objects created during the process of designing.
Instead of creating prototypes, models and then throwing them away, OMA archive their physical objects -
The key part of the talk (for me) was the following (distilled nicely by Martin Belham):
During the course of designing a building, many models are made. These are a physical way of storing ideas. Clients don’t have to consult a large document to see what is proposed, because the models capture materials and colours as well as shape. Nothing is meant to be thrown away. OMA maintain a vast archive of their models, and so can very quickly re-visit the ideas that were generated during any particular project.
More detailed info is available in Sjors’ slides:
I’ve asked a question on UX SE about this, but if anyone reading this has suggestions, please lemme know!