Iterative design

Relates to the concept of releasing versions of a design, based on a cycle of prototyping (or initialisation), testing, analysing and refining a product or process. Iterative design is commonly used in the development of human computer interfaces.

The first step is to develop a prototype, which is then evaluated by a focus group; their feedback is then used to improve the product and create the next version. The process then starts over again. Changes are easiest and less expensive to implement in the earliest stages of development, before the product becomes too complex.

The eventual aim is to ensure optimum accessibility, quality and functionality for all users. The process should be repeated until user issues have been reduced to an acceptable level.

For interface design, usability testing is an important part of the iterative design process, as this can elicit the system’s real requirements, from a user’s perspective.

Related methods include: Accessibility analysis, Interface design, Prototyping and Usability analysis.

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