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Protosketching with the U.S. Navy

Facilitating decision-making through rapid prototyping.


To introduce the U.S. Navy to modern development practices and technologies, we implemented a mobile website in a single afternoon that mocked the functionality of what was really needed, allowing critical design and technology decisions to be made rapidly.

An abstract image of a website being prototyped on a laptop.

The challenge

The U.S. Navy Reserve had a critical need to improve the digital experience of sailors writing orders for their reserve duties. Making this functionality accessible via mobile devices was a critical requirement, but whether to do this via native mobile apps or responsive web design remained an open question.

The solution

Using a technique that we pioneered, called "protosketching," we broke the afternoon into 3 sprints of one hour each. In this space of time, we were able to quickly write user stories that were acted upon by our programmers in the protosketching session to complete a functional mock-up in 3 hours. This allowed the Navy to make decisions efficiently and effectively about next steps in a major project.

The results

Major project decisions were de-risked at relatively low cost.