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Gaining entry to real settings with Bridging Design Prototypes

Working on a new product concept? This approach enables to design something that your users might like to adopt

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25 May, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

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Gaining entry to real settings with Bridging Design Prototypes

The Bridging Design Prototype (BDP) approach is a human-centred design method that aims to strengthen the activity of design in new product development undertaken by small organisations with incomplete inter-disciplinary teams (e.g., individual designers, start-ups or SMEs).

A BDP is a fully functional rapid prototype built with features familiar to a user community and with novel features that a designer incorporates after careful analysis of relevant data. It capitalises on a user community’s prior knowledge and recognises their context realities. These characteristics bring users into the development process early: users incorporate the prototype into their real activities, while a designer or R&D team employs it for learning about the user community, their context and practice.

Early adoption of a concept idea in the form of a BDP may lead to socially inclusive products, active community participation, or might help in raising early capital for a small enterprise. A user community will only be prepared to incorporate a new product in their context, when through personal experience they qualify such a product as being useful, usable, and desirable.

BDPs must be fully functional rapid prototypes. Experimentation should not require the presence of designers. By functional, it means that users must be able to implement them into real activities. But, BDPs are not necessarily minimum viable products, as the digital or tangible materials with which they are built could have a limited lifespan.

The participants will be walked through the six BDP principles. Illustrative cases are drawn from projects in education, energy, and health. The presenter or her students have carried out these prototyping projects independently or in collaboration with a start-up or SME.

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash


GloriaGomez Catapult

Gloria Gomez, PhD

Design researcher, co-founder, honorary senior lecturer

Gloria undertakes applied design research in novel educational practice with Bridging Design Prototypes. She developed this approach during her PhD to gain entry to natural settings for working with difficult to access and technologically dis-inclined communities.

Individual designers (such as Gloria) or small organisations with incomplete R&D teams have been able to carry realistic studies with user communities. In Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand and USA, she has lectured and supervised graduate students of engineering and design backgrounds.

Gloria is co-founder, UX/UI design researcher at OceanBrowser Ltd (developers of OB3 – Online forums reimagined), an honorary senior lecturer at the Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney, and a executive committee member of the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ).



Gomez, G. (2023, 5 December). Bridging design prototypes (BDPs) – A design tool to resource sustainable, equitable, flexible learning. FLANZ: Invited Reflections

Gomez, G. (2022). The bridging design prototype approach: Strengthening the role of design as a strategic resource in small organisations. In E. Erturk & B. Otinpong (Eds.), CITRENZ 2022: Proceedings of the 13th Annual Conference of Computing and Information Technology Education and Research in New Zealand (pp. 37-47).

Gomez, G., Wilki Thygesen, M., Melson, A., Halkjær Petersen, M., Harlev, C., Rozsnyói, E., & Rubaek, T. A. (2020). Bridging design prototypes. In D. Gardiner & H. Reefke (Eds.), Operations management for business excellence: Building sustainable supply chains (4th ed.). Abingdon, England: Routledge.

Gomez, G. (2020). Bridging design prototypes & autonomous design. In Leitão, R. M., Noel, L., and Murphy, L. (eds.) (2020) Proceedings of Pivot 2020: Designing a world of many centers, 4 June, London, United Kingdom, Design Research Society