Our Process
While Potion’s design philosophy forces us to wrestle with complexity, our funnel-like creative process guides us with each step toward simplicity. We start by casting a wide net, collecting every bit of content that may figure in to the final product. Then we begin the creative part of our process, developing complete concepts that take into account the content, the context, the physical space and the audience. At that point, we winnow the ideas down until we have the one concept that all parties at the table agree is the right direction to head in. This leads us into design development and software development, which together represent the bulk of the work in our process. Finally, we install the interactive and document its functioning, so that it can be updated and maintained long into the future.
At the start of every project, Potion works with the client to determine their needs and researches precedents relevant to the project . We identify the key audience(s) for the final product, survey relevant physical spaces and begin assessing sample content. Finally, we establish clear “guiding principles” for the project to ensure that the project stays true to the intended goals throughout the design process.
Concept Development is the most important phase of the five design phases. Because each of our interactives is an original work, we begin by exploring multiple preliminary concepts which each establish a specific interaction scenario and information architecture; we also investigate potential visual metaphors to guide interactive behavior and create sketches for potential interfaces. Through wireframe sequences and paper prototypes, Potion proceeds through an iterative process winnowing through multiple concepts with the client in order to reach a single direction to pursue. We then refine and expand upon this concept, taking it from sketch form towards a more fully realized design. By the end of this phase, Potion produces a final document that contains a detailed narrative describing the concept and a set of storyboards illustrating its essential form.
Our interactives take on real depth as we move into Design Development. The purpose of this phase is to refine the aesthetic qualities of the design and to address all details of the software interface. Constantly seeking innovative ways to elevate the experience, we take everything from the project’s environment to its audience into account. If an existing branding or style guide exists, Potion extends those elements into the interactive domain. Otherwise, Potion generates multiple design treatments applied to a single storyboard selected from the Concept Development phase. Each of these treatments establishes a color palette, a specific typographic direction and elements of graphic styling. At the end of Design Development, Potion presents the final design to the client as a complete set of storyboards and motion studies.

During this phase, Potion also begins Content Development by gathering the client’s media assets and preparing them for delivery in interactive form. In parallel, we perform a technical assessment of the installation locations to assess possible issues, and we provide hardware specifications and estimate the total hardware budget.
Once the design review process is complete, we begin the technical production, which includes both software development and physical development. In general, Potion software is written in C++ utilizing the PotionCode interactive software library and PotionSense digital sensing technology. Over the course of development, there are three major software releases: alpha, beta and final. The alpha release presents a working model of the information architecture and includes a few special aspects of the final product. The beta software release is the first release intended for hands-on testing. The beta software implements nearly all of the specific functionality, with a few specific exceptions. As its name implies, the final software release includes all of the functionality set forth in the Concept Development phase. The final deliverable for this phase is the release version of software ready for installation.
Once on site, Potion works with local contractors and A/V providers to integrate and install the interactive’s hardware, release software and instruct the client in its operation. Though Potion provides support documentation, a guide to daily operation and remains on call for troubleshooting, we’re pleased to report that our clients only call with good news. Our work stands on its own.