Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

Prototyping user experiences for connected products

Martin Charlier (Unmade), Claire Rowland (Independent), Tom Metcalfe (rain cloud), Elizabeth Goodman (18F / General Services Administration)
1:30pm–5:00pm Tuesday, 06/23/2015
Tutorial, Design
Location: Fire House
Average rating: ****.
(4.38, 16 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

Participants who actively prototype and design interfaces in their jobs would get the most out of this workshop, but anyone can participate. The workshop will be particularly helpful for participants who, so far, have predominantly worked on mobile or web interfaces and have less experience with other interface types from the Internet of Things.

Materials or downloads needed in advance

**Bring your charged smartphone with Instagram or Vine, if possible** Please bring along your fully charged smartphone (if you have one). It would be great if you had the Instagram app or the Vine app installed, and an account setup. If you have to choose one, go with Instagram. We're going to cover video-based prototyping techniques and this is easiest done through these apps. We'll be using a hashtag to get your videos into one place to discuss afterwards (so you might need a public account too).


Prototyping is an essential part of the digital UX design process, but the type of products designers work on is changing. Electronics prototyping is important, but focusing on experience prototyping early on is crucial to finding out whether you’re making the right product, and what kind of user experience it’s going to need. Conventional screen UI prototyping is only a part of this picture. Prototyping for interfaces other than screen-based UIs will become ever more important. And interactions may span multiple devices: it’s often not possible to design UIs in isolation.

This workshop will explore experience prototyping for connected products. Through collaborative exercises prototyping user journeys with novel interfaces and interactions, participants will learn about:

  • Methods particularly suitable for rapid, early-stage experience prototyping for connected products
  • Prototyping methods that are less common in software UX design, but are particularly useful for connected products, such as enactment, bodystorming and video sketching
  • Suitable prototyping methods for different types of interfaces, involving screens or not
  • How to prototype at the right fidelity to get the answers you need efficiently.

Prototyping materials will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring smartphones or tablets for video prototyping.

Photo of Martin Charlier

Martin Charlier


Martin Charlier is an independent design consultant based in London, and a co-founder of rain cloud, a new kind of connected weather device. Martin is a designer with experience across new media art, industrial design, interaction design, and design research. His speculative design work has been awarded by the Royal Society of Arts, and he is a fellow of the organization. Martin has previously worked at innovation firm frog design, cutting-edge art collective rAndom International, and digital service design consultancy Fjord. While at Fjord Martin was involved in the EU-funded Smarcos research project investigating design for the Internet of Things. With his broad range of design skills, Martin’s focus is on holistic product and service experiences going across the digital and the physical.

Photo of Claire Rowland

Claire Rowland


Claire is an independent UX design, research, and product strategy consultant working on Internet of Things products and services for mainstream consumers. She is the lead author of Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things, published by O’Reilly. Claire has a particular interest in the use of technology in mundane, everyday activities. Previously, she worked on energy management and home automation services as the service design manager for AlertMe.com, a connected home platform provider. Prior to this, she was head of research for the London studio of design consultancy Fjord, where she led Fjord’s involvement in the Smarcos EU consortium researching the interusability of interconnected embedded devices and services. She has worked in UX design and research for mobile, multiplatform, and web services since 1997.

Photo of Tom Metcalfe

Tom Metcalfe

rain cloud

Tom Metcalfe is a design consultant and co­-founder of rain cloud. His work is focused on building quality experiences and products within the Internet of Things.

Recently Tom produced REACT Objects Sandbox, a programme supporting six multi­disciplinary collaborations of academics and creatives to look at potential experiences in IoT.

Tom delivers workshops and talks internationally on both design and emerging technologies. Last year, he ran a workshop on IoT for Arts Council England; delivered a keynote on ‘UX in IoT’ at O’Reilly Solidcon; chaired a panel on IoT at Crafts Council’s Make:Shift; and ran a number of design thinking workshops, including one for the British Council, Korea Foundation, and 30 startups in Seoul. With REACT he was also involved in producing Unbox LABS Future Cities at the National Institute of Design, India.

Previously, Tom was senior creative and head of production design at Random International, and lead designer at the Product Research Studio, Dundee. He is currently a resident of the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol.

Photo of Elizabeth Goodman

Elizabeth Goodman

18F / General Services Administration

Elizabeth Goodman’s writing, design, and social science research focus is on interaction design for mobile and ubiquitous computing. She is a co-author of Designing Connected Products, published by O’Reilly in 2014, and authored the second edition of Observing the User Experience, a widely-used handbook of design research methods. Elizabeth has taught user experience research at UC Berkeley and site-specific digital art practice at the San Francisco Art Institute. She has worked with exploratory user experience research teams at Intel, Fuji-Xerox, and Yahoo! Elizabeth speaks widely on the design of mobile and pervasive computing systems at conferences, schools, and businesses. She has a masters degree in interaction design from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University and a PhD from UC Berkeley’s School of Information. Her scholarly research on interaction design practice has been supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and an Intel PhD Fellowship.