How do makers, hackers, and artists go about creating prototypes when they don't know where to start?
I enjoy reading crafts and electronics blogs like MAKE, CRAFT, whip up, etc. Part of the reason is because I love being surprised and inspired by what cool things people are cobbling together. There are some creative makers out there! I always come up with fun projects after going through my blog feeds.
My question: how do people begin to design prototypes of ideas when they don't know what they're doing? I get the feeling that a lot of people have a basic knowledge of process--either a programming language for software, an artistic skill for craft, electronics for circuit-reliant projects. But what if you don't?
Advice from makers always seems to echo the idea that you should just go for it and make prototypes. How does a complete neophyte break down a project idea into a process?
Here's an example. Just today, I was thinking about how cool it would have a video game-themed scale. The scale would store data for two people: player one and player two. If a person's weight went up, there would be a negative sound effect. If the weight went down, something happy would play. It's like Sonic's losing-rings chime versus his triumphant 1-UP music
For all my ideas, I'd have no clue how I'd even begin with such a project. How do makers figure out where to start to make their ideas reality?