Time and representational devices in rapid application development

D Tudhope*, P Beynon-Davies, H Mackay, R Slack

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper discusses an ethnographic study of a commercial prototyping software development project. A distinguishing feature of the development was its concentration in one span of time and in one room, with both users and developers participating. This gave rise to a working practice based around the use of low technology representations of design. The case study explores practical issues important for prototyping: time management, user involvement, everyday design representations and the development environment. The mundane nature of design representations facilitated user participation. The public representations of work on the walls showed the current state in design of different components of the system and facilitated collaborative activities. The case study was part of a larger research project (1995-1998) which investigated the commercial use of prototyping in the UK. The development was influenced by a recent trend in commercial prototyping practice, Rapid Application Development (RAD). Implications of the case study for RAD and participatory design are discussed. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-466
Number of pages20
JournalInteracting with computers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001


  • prototyping
  • ethnography
  • rapid application development
  • user participation
  • design representations


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