The main concept of the Fibri app is to connect the sensors of an electric bike (e-bike) to an artificial intelligence (AI) platform in order to provide an extraordinary biking experience. Here’s what it looks like:

A connected digital service that extends the biking experience.

The sensors send data through low power connections such as Bluetooth or LoRa network to the AI and then the AI uses the data to make a simple bike ride more enhanced. You can then use it to workout or to make travel more comfortable, provide traffic information, plan routes or send notifications about health issues. The AI also decides the level of support the electromotor should provide based on riding data. Sounds pretty cool, huh?

Here’s the challenge: how do you present the concept to the client?! This time a simple .ppt is not something they’d buy into. You need to make them feel it and taste it. To achieve this, I’ll show you how to make a quick but effective imagination session.

What is an imagination session? It is when you involve your client in the product presentation by recreating one or more fractions of the user experience with some multimedia support.

To demonstrate this, I’ll show you how I prototyped one specific part of the Fibri app. Our experience begins when the user decides to have a workout. (Fibri can turn any e-bike into an effective fitness machine.)

So let’s imagine that our user - let’s name him Franklyn - reaches his bike in the garage. The auto lock will sense that the rider is near so unlocks automatically. Next, the bike senses that Franklin has grabbed it and sends this information to the AI. Then, Fibri starts to speak to Franklin through his iPhone’s earplugs.

For now, I’ll show you a quick prototype of the experience that comes after this. You’ll see it as a presentation, so click straight forward and click to play the videos/sounds.

As you can see, we were able to prototype the basic audio and visual impulses that our app will generate. We can now imagine how our bike will plan our route, support us with the motor when needed or notify us in any case. This time, I added the visuals of our smartwatch app, but the whole thing would work without it too.

Of course, we couldn’t replicate the feeling when the motor starts to help when the bike senses that you’re exhausted but it’s more than enough to wow our client and convince them to buy into our idea.

So, here’s what you need to create a demonstration for a non-UI app.

  1. Choose a story.
    Look at the customer journey and choose only a fraction of that. Try to slice the whole picture into smaller, achievable chunks. Focus on validating the idea not on recreating the whole experience.

  2. Imagine.
    Since it would be too costly, ineffective or even impossible to reproduce certain functionality or behavior of the app, try to support the imagination and leave our brain to fill the gaps. As happened in the case of Fibri, it is likely that you won’t be able to take your clients for a bike ride. For me, a simple video did a very good job.

  3. Outsource. A simple concept can quickly become time-consuming and turn into a struggle if there are many skills needed to create your prototype. Video, sound editing, IoT programming, electronics, etc. In the case of Fibri, I chose Fiverr to fill my skill gaps. It’s cheap and the result is satisfying for a prototype - sometimes very professional.

  4. Simplify. Frankly, you don’t want to include all the functionality and test it against all use cases or scenarios. Just choose a straight direction and drive stakeholders through it. Though it is a good idea to think about how you will handle certain situations, you don’t need to include them into an interactive prototype.

  5. Involve the client. If you know your client enough to decide whether it is an option, you should customize the experience for him/her. They’ll feel involved and energized. It’ll be your added value that you could give them the feeling they expect from the product at a very early stage. It might serve as an advantage to you if there’s competition.