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11

Creating interactive prototypes with Adobe Acrobat

In a two-part article Dave Rogers from gotomedia explains how to build interactive prototypes in PDF by creating your pages in your favourite prototyping tool (e.g. Visio) and linking them together in Adobe Acrobat.

It sounds a bit cumbersome to me compared to exporting your pages to HTML directly from your prototyping tool (as explained in my article Visio - The interaction designer's nail gun). But the approach has the advantage that you can build working forms in Acrobat.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - May 26, 2005 - via Column Two

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See also: Tools (52) 


 

12

Fidelity and media is irrelevant in usability tests

An experiment by Group for User Interface Research has shown that low- and high-fidelity prototypes in both computer and paper media are equally good at uncovering usability issues.

The results support the idea of using low-fidelity prototyping techniques for design and testing. But development teams can choose whatever medium and level of fidelity they consider appropriate, since medium and fidelity has no effect on the quality of usability tests.

Links:

  • The article High or Low Fidelity, Paper or Computer?

Henrik Olsen - May 17, 2005

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See also: Usability testing (32)  Research (94) 


 

13

Prototyping for user testing

There are several important factors to consider when you are planning to do prototyping for user testing. In this article from July 2002, Chris Farnum explains how to make the right choice about fidelity, level of interactivity and the medium for your test.

"In theory, low-fidelity sketches are also a time-saver, but this really depends on your point of view. Personally, I like to draw diagrams and wireframes in Visio where I can revise and move things around without erasing and redrawing."

"In the grand tradition of Goldilocks, I find myself drawn to the middle approach. A medium-fidelity approach tends to include some visual design and a level of detail somewhere between high and low fidelity."

"You can mix these three variables (fidelity, interactivity and medium) in many different combinations. The exact combination you choose should match the goals you determine for your testing."

Links:

  • The article What an IA Should Know About Prototypes for User-Testing

Henrik Olsen - May 08, 2005

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See also: Usability testing (32) 


 

14

How to represent sample data in interaction designs

Dan Brown has made a poster that describes techniques for representing sample data in interaction designs. The techniques discussed are:

- Using actual data
- Using dummy data invented by the designer
- Replacing data with variable names
- Illustrating data through repeated characters (such as 9 or X)
- Replacing data with Latin or Greek text

The poster outlines the pros and cons of each technique, how stakeholder might respond to them, and best practices.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - April 05, 2005 - via UXCentric

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See also: Posters (5) 


 

15

Projects should start with interaction design

Traditional system development starts with abstract system specifications and ends with interface design. To Jason Fried, this is backwards.

"Functional specifications documents lead to an illusion of agreement. A bunch of people agreeing on paragraphs of text is not real agreement. Everyone is reading the same thing, but they're often thinking something different. This inevitably comes out in the future when it's too late."

Instead we should start from the user interface and build out from there.

"...the interface is the functional spec. First with some quick and simple paper sketches, then directly into HTML. Unlike paragraphs of text that are open to alternate interpretations, interface designs are common ground."

Links:

  • The article Getting Real, Step 1: No Functional Spec

Henrik Olsen - February 15, 2005 - via UI Designer

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See also: The design process (14) 


 

16

Prototyping ends the war between clients and developers

In his online book, Client vs. Developers Wars, Eric Holter explains how time commonly wasted in miscommunication during web projects can be poured into actually improving sites by incorporating prototyping into the design process. He tells the woeful tale of conflicts and negative experience, which everybody involved in web development know all too well, and shows how the power of interaction design can change the dynamics of the web design process.

The book is free for download. A must read for interaction designers.

Links:

  • The online book Client vs. Developer Wars

Henrik Olsen - June 19, 2004

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See also: Online books (5)  Books (33) 


 

17

Use Cases and interaction design

Use cases are widely used in large projects to capture the functional requirements of software systems. The Q2 2004 issue of GUUUI looks at how uses cases can serve as a powerful tool for brainstorming workflows and bridging the gaps between design and development.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - April 01, 2004

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See also: GUUUI articles (9)  Use Cases (3) 


 

18

Bridging use cases and interaction design

Use cases are widely used during the analysis phase of a project to model user requirements. In the hands of interaction designers, use cases can be a powerful tool to guide interface design. But use cases was originally developed to support the design of software components, and are often used in a way that is not well suited for supporting interaction design.

In this reprint from the book Object-Modeling and User Interface Design, Larry L. Constantine and Lucy A. D. Lockwood suggest an approach to use cases, which forms a more solid bridge between requirements analysis and interaction design, and between design and implementation.

Links:

  • The book chapter Structure and Style in Use Cases for User Interface Design
  • The book at Amazon.com
  • The book at Amazon.co.uk

Henrik Olsen - March 13, 2004

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See also: Use Cases (3) 


 

19

Magnetic interface design toolkit

Building prototypes with this tool might not be ideal, but it could be useful for workshops and brainstorms - if it's big enough. Anyway, here you can buy your very own Magnetic Interface Design Toolkit maybe just for the fun of it.

Links:

  • The Magnetic Interface Design Toolkit

Henrik Olsen - May 21, 2003 - via EASE

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See also: Funny tools and games (10)  Tools (52) 


 

20

New Version of DENIM Available

Berkeley's Group for User Interface Research have released version 1.1 of DENIM, a visual prototyping system for early stage website design. The two changes of note are that the input system (SILK) is much more responsive and you can now print the prototypes. DENIM is designed for sketching of prototypes - a graphics tablet is highly recommended.

Links:

Tim Lucas - April 30, 2003

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See also: Tools (52) 


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