Because of the evolution of markets and technologies, prototyping concerns should be kept updated almost day by day. Moreover, user centered design moves the focus towards interaction issues. Prototyping activities matching such characteristics are already available, but they are not so diffused in the industrial domain. This is due to many reasons; an important one is that a rigorous classification of them is missing, as well as an effective helping tool for the selection of the best activities, given the design context. The research described in this paper aims at defining a new classification of prototyping activities, as well as at developing a selection algorithm to choose the best ones in an automatic way. These goals are pursued by defining a set of characteristics that allow describing accurately the prototyping activities. The resulting classification is made by five classes, based on eighteen characteristics. This classification is exploited by the first release of an algorithm for the selection of the best activities, chosen in order to satisfy design situations described thanks to a different set of eleven indices. Five experiences in the field have been used up to now as a starting point for validating the research outcomes.
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