Step 3: UX Prototyping

Step 3: UX Prototyping

Prototyping is somethings that we do because we need answers. Either we don’t know, we can’t visualize it or we have other questions we need to answer before investing big time. 

I like to segment prototyping into three areas: The Concept Design, the Interaction Design, the Screen Design (and aesthetic concerns). The Concept Design is more unsure that the Screen Design

Conceptual design (proof-of-concept) is often often done by sketches, pretotypes or simple prototypes and is also used for obtaining intellectual property and to show to investors for raising money. Interaction designs need some functionality and is often done by making mock-ups, wireframes or functional prototypes. Now when wanting feedback from distributors, buyers, and retailers it’s better with the more solid Screen Design that is close to a final design and manufacturing details.

  • Paper prototype Usability Testing
    • Usability testing on paper versions of wireframes or sketches that users can simulate slicks and talk through their thoughts and decisions
    • Who does it? Anyone can do this
    • Key Benefits:
      • Fastest way to validate ideas/assumptions
      • Cheapest way to validate ideas/assumptions
      • You can do this at any time you are not sure what is the best UI for a specific problem

  • Wireframes
    • Grayscale mockups showing layout and position of page elements (can range from low-fidelity to exact grid-based resolution)
    • Who does this? Typically UX, designer, but anyone can do it!
    • Key Benefits:
      • Easiest/cheapest way to realize and test ideas
      • Great to get early feedback
      • Can be done at any stage of development
  • Qualitative Usability Testing
    • Quick and easy usability testing of qualitative nature that anyone can do (just read Steve‚Äôs book!)
    • Who does it? Anybody in the team
    • Key Benefits:
      • Relative inexpensive, can afford multiple tests
      • Can provide improved design insight insight
      • Results can be fed back into the design process immediately
  • Mockups
    • Mockups, wireframes and prototypes are not so cleanly distinguished in software and systems engineering, where mockups are a way of designing user interfaces on paper or in computer images. A software mockup will thus look like the real thing, but will not do useful work beyond what the user sees. A software prototype, on the other hand, will look and work just like the real thing. In many cases it is best to design or prototype the user interface before source code is written or hardware is built, to avoid having to go back and make expensive changes.

      Early layouts of a World Wide Web site or pages are often called mockups. A large selection of proprietary or open-source software tools are available for this purpose.

      The Queens castle in Denmark “Amalieborg” as a “mock-up” in Lego. today we can make interactive mock-up/wireframes of software by using a application like axure.

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