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Cantina at SXSW 2018: Prototyping a Connected Driving Experience

Austin, Texas, continues to express the cutting edge of film, interactive media, music and high-level thinking at its annual SXSW conference. Its rise in popularity within the tech community was spurred by startups like Foursquare and Twitter launching it’s services during the conference. Now, tens of thousands of people descend upon the city every year to catch a glimpse of the latest trends and soak up advice from top leaders such as Elon Musk, Sen. Bernie Sanders and the Terminator himself, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This is why it was such an honor for Cantina to be included among the presentations this year. We got back to the basics by explaining the importance of prototyping at scale. The goal was to give attendees a chance to experience and practice rapid prototyping using simple, low-fidelity materials as a way to explore design and externalize thinking.

Setting up cardboard cars for the workshop

In our daily lives as designers and developers of connected digital products, we do a lot of prototyping. This can range from paper drawings to high-fidelity digital prototypes or at scale mock-ups. There is a certain power in going beyond explaining an idea and actually showing someone how it will work.

When prototyping at scale, you aren’t only exposed to the theory of how something might behave or function, but you get to sit down and actually experience how it will work. The workshop helped us demonstrate how you can stick out your hand for a direct physical interaction and quickly realize, “No, this won’t work. I can’t reach that button. Let’s move it.” Arriving at this conclusion was cheap, easy and quick.

Teams begin to prototype their ideas

Our SXSW workshop divided people into teams who then prototyped ideas for new drivers, carpooling, and self-driving cars. By the end, workshop attendees had seen their team’s ideas go from concept to prototype in under 2 hours.

Prototyping at Scale workshop

“Great prototyping will speed up the process, reduce the cost and ultimately give us a better design,” said George White, Chief Innovation Officer of Cantina.

At Cantina, we believe prototyping is a key part of the product development cycle, both in exploratory and refinement stages. It’s not enough to simply have an idea: you need to create something that allows you to feel, experience, experiment and test it to get it right.

Sometimes it’s OK to get back to the basics when trying to cultivate fresh ideas for your company’s digital presence.


If you’d like to learn more about this prototyping workshop or others we offer, please get in touch for more details.

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