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81

The book Communicating Design

Dan Brown has written a book about the art of communicating design. Here's an excerpt of the book description:

"...Dan Brown shows you how to make the documentation you're required to provide into the most efficient communications tool possible. He begins with an introductory section about deliverables and their place in the overall process, and then delves into to the different types of deliverables. From usability reports to project plans, content maps, flow charts, wireframes, site maps, and more, each chapter includes a contents checklist, presentation strategy, maintenance strategy, a description of the development process and the deliverable's impact on the project, and more."

At the time of writing this post, there is no sample chapter. But at Digital Web Magazine you'll find an excerpt from the chapter on competitive analyses.

Links:

  • The book at amazon.com Open link in new window
  • The book at amazon.co.uk Open link in new window
  • The companion website Open link in new window
  • An excerpt from the chapter on competitive analyses Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 18, 2006

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See also: Books (47)  Site and flow diagramming (6)  User research (23)  Personas (19)  Usability testing (68) 


 

82

Hand-crafting prototypes in Visio

The Q3 2006 issue of GUUUI looks at how to hand-draw prototypes in Visio using a tablet computer or a pen tablet. It's a fun, fast, dirty and dynamic technique, which is most useful early in the design process, when we are trying out lots of alternatives.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - July 02, 2006

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See also: Tools (106)  GUUUI articles (11) 


 

83

Review of the book Paper Prototyping

Pabini Gabriel-Petit has published a lengthy review of Carolyn Snyders book Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design.

Gabriel-Petit concludes:

"This is a valuable book on an important topic by an expert in usability. It demonstrates that paper prototyping is an effective technique that is useful in many contexts and provides a complete reference on how to use paper prototypes in usability studies."

Links:

Henrik Olsen - June 08, 2006 - via Putting People First

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See also: Books (47)  Usability testing (68) 


 

84

Video lecture about design thinking by Tim Brown from IDEO

Here's a one hour video starring Tim Brown from the design firm IDEO. He talks about how to fuel innovation by studying people and evolve and validate ideas through rapid prototyping and storytelling.

Links:

  • The video lecture Innovation Through Design Thinking Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 08, 2006 - via LukeW

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See also: Audio and video (48)  User research (23)  Talks and presentations (18) 


 

85

The book Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces

Being a strong advocate for prototyping, I'm a bit embarrassed that I haven't read Carolyn Snyder's book on paper prototyping until now. And I regret it. Her book has a lot to offer. If you are more into computer-based prototyping, you can still learn a lot from the renowned practitioner.

Carolyn assumes that if you want to build a prototype, it's because you want to test it with users. This has a strong influence on her workflow: Find test participants, create tasks, design the paper prototype, test it, refine it and test it again until you are confident that the design will work.

Something that fascinates me is that the book offers a ready-made step-by-step process for development teams to follow. Just add paper. The workflow seems to be a perfect companion for agile developments methods such as SCRUM.

On the negative side: Clients are almost absent in her book. And that's a pity, because prototypes are great for communicating with clients.

Links:

  • Companion web-site Open link in new window
  • The book at Amazon.com Open link in new window
  • The book at Amazon.co.uk Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 14, 2006

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See also: Books (47)  Usability testing (68) 


 

86

Review of Axure RP Pro

The Q2 2006 issue of GUUUI is a review of the prototyping tool Axure RP Pro.

The good:
- Drag and drop widgets onto a grid (as you might know it from Visio)
- Generate prototypes in a format that behaves like real web pages (i.e. you can interact with forms and pages can scroll)
- Save time on repetitive changes by using custom widgets and templates
- Simulate rich interactivity by showing and hiding layers
- Automatically generate user interface specifications

The bad:
- You can't navigate your pages inside Axure by clicking links and buttons
- Somewhat expensive

Links:

Henrik Olsen - April 01, 2006

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See also: Tools (106)  GUUUI articles (11) 


 

87

Axure RP Pro

Axure have released a version 4 of their dedicated prototyping tool Axure RP Pro. The tool is a very strong competitor to Visio.

Some great features:
- It has a adopted the basic concept from Visio, where you drag and drop widgets onto a grid
- The interactive prototypes are generated in real HTML, meaning that they behave like real web pages (i.e. forms are interactive and pages can scroll)
- It can automatically generate specifications in Word format
- With its Masters you can create custom widgets and templates to reuse in your pages
- With its Dynamic Panels you can simulate rich interactions by showing and hiding layers in response to users' actions

I can't tell if Axure is better than Visio, since I haven't used it for a project yet. But it sure looks promising. Download the demo to decide for yourself.

Links:

  • The prototyping tool Axure RP Pro Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 21, 2006

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See also: Tools (106) 


 

88

Online video interview with Jakob Nielsen

DevSource has published a nice 8-minute online video interview featuring Dr. Jakob Nielsen.

Nielsen addresses a wide range of topics, such as proper attitude for programmers, the importance of prototyping in design, and the reasons why PDF, Flash, and local search engines can hurt more than they help.

Links:

  • Online video interview with Jakob Nielsen Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 17, 2006 - via WebWord

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See also: Interviews (30)  Search (27)  Usability testing (68)  Audio and video (48) 


 

89

How to use PowerPoint for prototyping

Jensen Harris from Microsoft has posted a small practical tutorial on how to use PowerPoint for prototyping. Paste screenshots of the different interaction states into PowerPoint, use transparent shapes as link areas and put a static frame into the master background, so that you only need to put the interface elements which changes on each slide.

In Harris' opinion, the technique has several advantages compared to paper prototypes. Prototypes build in PowerPoint feel somewhat interactive, they can be modified more easily, and computer enabled prototypes feel more natural to usability test participants.

Of course, this method is rather primitive compared to prototyping with Visio.

Links:

  • Prototyping With PowerPoint Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 27, 2006

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See also: Tools (106) 


 

90

Visio - the interaction designer's nail gun (2nd edition)

The Q1 2006 issue of GUUUI is a second edition of an article on using Visio for rapid prototyping for the web that was published at GUUUI back in Q3 2002. The new edition includes a new and improved version of the GUUUI Prototyping Tool for Visio 2003.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - January 15, 2006

Permanent link Comments (6)

See also: GUUUI articles (11) 


 

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