Paper Prototype (G6)


This is a major checkpoint in the project. Your group must submit its first prototype -- a paper prototype. The prototype should illustrate the basic components of the interface with sufficient detail to walk through the interface looking at navigation (labels and icons) and consistency. Ideal prototypes will be paper sketches or print-outs from a drawing program; you may build an executable prototype, but if you do you must print screen shots from it to proceed on paper with the initial analyses.

There are several reasons for building a paper prototype first. First, it will give you an easy way to get significant feedback on your ideas before spending the effort to implement them: remember that it's easy and cheap to make changes early in the design process, hard and expensive to do so later. Second, it allows your group and your instructor to discuss issues related to design, prototyping, and the project. Also, building your prototype now allows it to evolve as you start the process of revision, a key to creating an effective design.

You should be prepared to have a non-member of your team complete one or more tasks using your prototype.  You should also be prepared to discuss the ideas behind your design and why your interface design is likely to be a good one, referring to principles from the readings and to the results of your problem and task analysis. It is acceptable at this point to have more than one prototype. You may have a group consensus on which one is favored, but it is may be that different prototypes will have different patterns of strengths and weaknesses. You should be prepared to compare and contrast any ‘competing’ prototypes in a knowledgeable way.

By this week, you should also be preparing for your executable prototype. While you still have plenty of time for development, you need to decide upon and become comfortable with the development tools you plan to use.