Background and aim: The bridging design prototype (BDP) approach was developed to enable individual designers to gain entry into real setting for undertaking human-centred design (HCD) studies with difficult to access and technologically disinclined communities. During my PhD studies, I was an individual designer wanting to undertake HCD studies in preschools on the use of a new learning tool. This approach evolved from exploring ways to address three challenges I encountered in the application of some HCD principles. The first challenge was that I had no way to “watch [prospective] users as they perform[ed] the activities the new product [was] intended to assist...”. For the reason that the product idea was completely novel to this community. They did not perform product-related activities in their work setting. The second challenge was that I couldn’t meet the HCD principle of “start[ing] with a multidisciplinary team that includes representatives from marketing, technology, and user experience”. I was an individual designer researching this issue independently without a particular institutional or company affiliation. The third challenge was that I was an outsider to the Australian and New Zealand communities I was designing for. They did not see the relevance and benefits of the novel product I was proposing to them.
Method: Bridging Design Prototypes are fully functional rapid prototypes that user communities adopt into real activities, while designers employ them for learning about their context/practice.
Results and Conclusions: Case studies in educational, service and rehabilitation technologies will illustrate the six principles used to build them and how their early adoption may lead to socially inclusive technologies and users becoming designers.