The Desktop Walkthrough method is best used during the development phase of a service or space design project. It helps you test and refine concepts by enacting them using small scale models, a floor plan and some basic props. Anyone could do be a participant, even you. While testing, people will project themselves in the space by using figurines who represent them. This will allow designers to get very personal insight, which is exactly what you need during this phase of your project. Some designers use this method to pitch their ideas. The enactment and visual elements become the presentation. The Desktop Walkthrough method helps you to make tangible ideas that sometimes are hard to anchor into reality.
- Personification: playmobiles, legos or other figurines
- Service or space layout: large sheet of paper, post-its, sharpies, impression, pictures
- Props: imagination! Anything you find on the way is usable. (legos, push-pins, paper clips, etc.)
Advantages: by enacting a service and living the experience step by step, it helps you identify flaws in a concept or elements you forgot to consider; it is low tech and can be done very quickly with things you already have; usable many times throughout the process of prototyping.
Disadvantages: is not easily used for other types of design (need a floor plan, a physical space to interact with); if not conducted with a clear intention to test specific aspects or scenarios, it might give you very basic results.