Micro Challenge #28 – Creating a paper prototype

8 June 2020 - 4 minute read

Welcome to the twenty-eighth of Altitude Foundation’s #MicroChallenges2020

Today’s challenge will help you test out your idea by creating a paper prototype!

What’s a Micro Challenge?

These challenges are short activities to help you develop, revise or refresh your coding skills, posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Over the next few weeks, we are running a series of guest challenges, put together by our friend at Newcastle University Open Lab, Megan Venn-Wycherly. You can learn more about her work here and OpenLab here

These challenges work as stand-alone challenges and also as a mini-course which builds together. The first in the series can be found here.

Micro Challenge #28

Today’s challenge is to create a prototype of a product or idea you want to create. If you need inspiration, try using the ideation squares challenge to explore your thoughts. You might also want to look at our Prototype planning challenge.

Prototyping is where developers, designers or researchers create a really early version of a project to explore how possible the final product might work, and how people interact or use it.

Prototyping is also sometimes called the Wizard of Oz methodinspired by this iconic scene.

In HCI, we use Wizard of Oz prototyping to show what looks like a finished project (most of the time!), but is really just “a man behind the curtain”. It helps us explore how people might interact with our prototype projects. You can make videos, pictures, models etc… which represent what your system might look like if it were finished, and how users are intended to interact with it.

You can do this in a range of different ways. One way is paper prototyping – you can explore how it is used in professional contexts here.

The Challenge:

Today’s challenge is to try to create a paper prototype of your idea: you can see an example of paper prototyping here. Paper prototyping just means drawing your project.

Think about how you might demonstrate how a user interacts with your paper prototype (perhaps as a comic? Or a video? A flipbook?)

You don’t need to be an artist to do this – you just need to represent the user experience . Anyone can do this, no matter their artistic ability. 

Review it:

Once you have answered the above questions, check whether:

  • You have a clear idea of who your user and can explain how the user profile influences how they interact with the computer
  • You have an idea of what order you want your screens/images to appear.

Now you can start testing your prototype!


  • Could you get a friend or family member to use your prototype? What can you learn from that?
  • Share your ideas with Megan @Mwycher on Twitter for feedback and tips on how to take your challenge further. 

Share it

We would love to see what you have created! Please send any pictures, videos, or files of your activities to us – either via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram  using #MicroChallenges2020 or to challenges@altitudefoundation.org. If you are emailing them to us, please let us know if you are happy for us to share your stuff on our social media platforms (with credit, of course). 

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