Paper Prototyping

My process creating a paper prototype for a vibration-based message service. Simple phrases are converted into learnable vibration combinations that you can feel. The prototype pairs a wearable device (Apple watch) with a mobile application. This post includes notes about the design process as well as a short video demonstrating the prototype.

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The goal of this project was to explore paper prototyping. I set out to prototype a messaging system that conveyed short bits of information using vibrations similar to Morse code. Once the user learned the haptic language, they would know what a message said without looking at their device.

This has some cool implications — a user could receive a message while in a meeting or driving and know what it said without the distraction of looking at their device. This service could also be beneficial to non-sighted or vision impaired users.


I created two prototypes, which consisted of a cardboard Apple Watch iPhone. Each had a piece of Velcro allowing for screens to be quickly attached and interchanged as the user interacts with the prototypes. This allowed rapid prototyping of multiple screens and easy modification in the event a screen needed to be replaced. Haptic feedback was simulated by tapping a pencil on the prototype. The vibration patterns would have a learning curve, which was not be tested in this study.


Morse Messenger - Prototypes Morse Messenger - Prototypes


Morse Messenger - App Flow