Paper prototype is something of a misnomer since what I mean by it is any prototypical element that is essentially a viewgraph presentation. A more sophisticated version of paper prototype is one which uses any of the many computer programs that let you incorporate elements that you can click on to see different screens -- such program as Charisma, Powerpoint and others are often the first step in a very effective strategy involving the users. See also HierarchyOfPrototypes
In my experience,a paper PaperPrototype
works very well in sketching human factors systems - better than the GUI prototyping systems in fact. You can put the essence of the screen on a card - click a button with your pencil, show the next card. Change directions on a dime, where the GUI prototyper will take days while someone gets the buttons lined up. --RonJeffries
Most visual designers I know tend to prefer paper to prototype tools. One problem with using electronic tools is that they discourage change. They tend to take longer to build so you don't want to keep revising. The tools that are actually faster than paper and pencil tend to suffer from a few more problems:
- They result in an interface that looks generic-y.
- They fool the user into thinking that what-they-see-is-what-they-get.
- They give you a relatively small (and weak) set of elements to play with.
- They are static. I can scratch out a drawing or revise it right in front of the customer---hey, the customer can steal the pencil and show me what they really want.
- They don't handle DirectManipulation very well.
You can communicate more with a table, some paper, a pencil and good storytelling than with any prototyping package available.
Storytelling is the key. Works wonders with the users. They smile and become like kids again--- they use their imaginations.
Now, if only I can get the resulting application to live up to their expectations.
. It avoids most of the problems listed above. -- Igor Jese
I think it's important to add that the extra work of creating en electronic prototype is an investment that often brings about an emotional attachment to every little thing. -- KevinSwarts
This is a case where Wiki naming has lead to duplication. There was a discussion on this subject already in LowFidelityPrototypes
. -- KyleBrown
, PaperPrototyping IsAnythingBetterThanPaper