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171

Defence of paper prototyping

Despite advances in prototyping technology paper prototyping is still Jared Spool's favourite approach.

The downside of computer based prototyping tools such as Visio, Dreamweaver and Acrobat is that:
- They are clumsy, time consuming and too cumbersome for producing rough designs
- You get bogged down with lining things up neatly and other micro-design activities that take time and tell us nothing about the design's effectiveness
- They are restrictive, since only one person at a time can update the interface

In Jared Spool's opinion the programs are great once the basic design elements are established, but for the initial round of tests, they are overkill and distracting.

Links:

  • The article Looking Back on 16 Years of Paper Prototyping Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2005

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See also: Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

172

Balancing fidelity in prototyping

Many web development teams build prototypes that are too resource-demanding. The Q3 2005 issue of GUUUI takes a look at how to make the right trade-off between graphic detail, the level of interactivity and the breadth and depth of features covered by the prototype.

The conclusion:
- Don't get carried away in making the prototype look pretty
- Keep interactivity at a medium to high level
- Don't compromise on breadth
- Compromise as much as you can on depth

Links:

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2005

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See also: GUUUI articles (11)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

173

Eyetracking as a supplement to traditional usability tests

SURL have studied how eyetracking can be used to supplement traditional usability tests. They found that eyetracking data can be used to better understand how users search the interface for a target and what areas of a page are eye-catching, informative, frequently ignored and distracting.

The study is based on a test of three toy e-commerce sites, which is described in detail in the article.

Links:

  • The article Hotspots and Hyperlinks: Using Eye-tracking to Supplement Usability Testing Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 02, 2005

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See also: Research (129)  Web page design (40)  Eye-tracking (14)  Usability testing (68) 


 

174

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 (106)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

175

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? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 17, 2005

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See also: Research (129)  Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

176

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 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 08, 2005

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See also: Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

177

Formal vs. informal usability reports

Formal reports are the most common way of documenting usability studies, but according to Jakob Nielsen informal reports are faster to produce and are often a better choice.

"You can maximize user interface quality by conducting many rounds of testing as part of an iterative design process. To move rapidly and conduct the most tests within a given time frame and budget, informal reports are the best option."

Links:

  • The article Formal Usability Reports vs. Quick Findings Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 25, 2005

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See also: Usability testing (68) 


 

178

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)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

179

How to use eyetracking for website redesigns

This case study by Eyetools demonstrates how eyetracking analysis can be used for guiding a redesign of a website. The before and after heat maps reveal significant improvements to users attention to content and navigation on a home page.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - March 24, 2005

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See also: Cases and Examples (28)  Eye-tracking (14) 


 

180

Introduction to Use Case diagramming

Norm Carr and Tim Meehan have written two nice articles on Use Case diagramming. According to the two authors, Use Cases provide a simple and fast means to decide, specify, and communicate the purpose of a project. Use cases are visual maps of all agreed-upon functionality and can be a powerful tool for controlling the scope of the project.

Links:

  • The article Use Cases Part II: Taming Scope Open link in new window
  • The article What's the Problem? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 08, 2005 - via UI Designer

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See also: Use Cases (3) 


 

Browse GUUUI postings

Methods and the design process

Prototyping and wireframing (119)  Usability testing (68)  Cost-justification and ROI (27)  User research (23)  Personas (19)  The design process (24)  Eye-tracking (14)  Card sorting (13)  Web traffic analysis (12)  Expert reviews (11)  Implementing user-centred design (9)  Site and flow diagramming (6)  Envisionments (4)  Use Cases (3) 

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