Using virtual world as prototyping tool


We’ve learned that virtual world can be very effective in providing students with an immersion experience for language teaching. This week, I am exploring the possibility of using the virtual world as a tool in the prototyping process.

Using the virtual world as part of the prototyping process can be very cost effective. Before building any physical prototypes, the virtual world can be used to check defects and fault first.

I came across a project sponsored by the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, a research done by the center for Life Long Learning and design used a virtual world to design a bus stop. The research is intended to study how public transportation can be more accessible, especially to those who have cognitive disabilities. The researchers translated the physical world movement into virtual environment and feed it back into the program (Dubin, n.d.).

There are several benefits to using virtual prototyping which were listed in the book, Virtual Prototyping.

  • Reduction of time
  • Saving cost
  • Increase of quality (Rix, Haas, & Teixeira, 1995)

Using the virtual world as a prototyping tool doesn’t mean that there is no need to make a physical prototype, but it can certainly be the first stage of the design process. While I was building my project I found using Second Life as a prototyping tool to be very easy. It is great that the designer can view the product from different perspectives and make adjustments accordingly. Making these kinds of adjustments in the virtual world is much easier and quicker than in the physical world.



Dubin, M. (n.d.). Virtual Reality in Design Prototyping. Retrieved July 24, 2015, from

Rix, J., Haas, S., & Teixeira, J. (1995). Virtual prototyping: Virtual environments and theproduct design process. Springer Science & Business Media.

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