Thursday, January 25, 2007

Paper Prototyping: Quick and Cheap Design

I'm always on the lookout for ways to present mocked up user interfaces. Why? Because design is hard, and to do it well, you need to plenty of iterations and plenty of interaction.

So I was psyched to read the latest article on A List Apart which talked about Paper Prototyping. Paper Prototyping, is just what it sounds - mocking up a UI in paper. Like...

As the article points out, there are all sorts of reasons to do this. It's fast, cheap, and gets everyone involved - even those that aren't particularly technically savvy. If you're creative about it, you can model various user experiences too, such as submitting a form and getting back an error. Perhaps the best reason to go the paper route is because it gets everyone in a room with their laptops off, focused on the task at hand.

While I've done a bit of paper prototyping (mostly simple stuff, like mapping out sites where each page is an index card), I really like some of the suggestions offered in the article. Such as using colored paper, or actually trimming the paper to look like buttons or tabs. Simple, and clever stuff.

This certainly does bring a different meaning to cut and paste design.

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