Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Pretotype It" book is done and ready for download

I've just finished writing and editing the first pretotype edition of "Pretotype It."

As you might expect, it's a pretotype book (a pretobook? a Minimum Viable Book?) with some rough edges.  But it has enough meat to be worth your while, and the initial reviews from my colleagues at Google have been positive.

Here's the cover:

You can download the full PDF from Google Docs (note: this link has been updated to the Second Pretotype Edition and I've removed the Scribd link since they've started charging for downloading the PDF.)

Let me know if you have problems downloading it, I might hit some quota maximum (says he optimistically.)

You should be able to read the entire book in well less than an hour.  

Let me know what you think of it, and feel free to send me your pretotype stories, I plan to add several "case studies" and examples from other people in the new edition.




  1. just finished reading this book and right after I stumbled upon this "wooden ipad" article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44334747/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/ :) Pretotyping in it's final stage, done testing, sell the pinocchio

  2. I teach design thinking as a process for creative problem definition and solving, and the rationale behind 'pretotype' is exactly the kind of prototyping we teach (and practice).

    And speaking of additional 'pretotype' examples, here is an old one that is quite good: "This example concerned the design of a portable computer for architects who need to gather a lot of information during visits to building sites. One of the first questions the designers explored was what form would be appropriate for their users. Without much ado they weighted a pizza box to the expected weight of the computer,
    and gave it to an architect to carry on a site
    visit. They watched how he carried the box, what
    else he carried with him, and what tasks he needed
    to do during the visit."

    The quoted paragraph is excerpted from Houde, S.,
    and Hill, C., What Do Prototypes Prototype?, in Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction (2nd Ed.), M. Helander, T.Ê Landauer, and P. Prabhu (eds.): Elsevier Science B. V: Amsterdam, 1997.

    That article btw discusses the purposes and terminology of prototypes, and it's quite relevant to your model.

  3. I'd like to know what pretotyping provides, compared to the older "Paper prototyping" method:

    I noticed that there is a book about paper prototyping too, though I don't remember its title.

  4. @Jean-Charles, thank you for your comment. I assume you have not read the book. If you do, you'll see that there are many examples of pretotyping that are VERY different from paper prototyping. The latter is a technique used primarily for experimenting with user interaction - how to build and design something. Pretotyping is about answering the question: Should we build this something in the first place. While for some types of products there may be some overlap, they are quite different in goal and scope. I hope you read the book, it's free and a quick read <40 minutes from beginning to end.

  5. Thank you for publishing the book on Google Docs. It was a good read, and you gave me some ideas on how I can reduce the risks and cost of failure for a couple of my ideas. Chapter 4 was great. I hadn't thought of "The Provincial" before. Good stuff.

    BTW, scribd is trying to make money off your work. I couldn't download it without first either uploading something, paying for a monthly subscription, a day pass, or a year pass - though I can read it online. I just thought you should know.

  6. @Douglas, I just learned that - after a while - Scribd moves a document into "Archive" at which point they start charging people for downloading the document. I've removed the link to Scribd and provided a link to Google docs instead.