Designers prototype to test their design ideas before resources are invested in expensive and time-consuming software development

Quiz: Low to Hi-Fidelity Prototyping >>> Designers prototype to test their design ideas before resources are invested in expensive and time-consuming software development >>> UX Design: From Concept to Prototype

 

Prototypes represent designers’ current understanding of what the design needs to be like. They allow designers to test these ideas, get answers to questions that are still unresolved, and verify the design is on the right track before resources are spent on implementing ideas that might turn out to be a poor fit for the needs of the intended users.

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Ideally, testing of the prototype should be conducted by at least three staff members: the facilitator, who interacts with users and provides instructions; the computer, who runs the prototype in response to user actions; and the note-taker, who can focus on capturing the feedback from testers.

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Prototypes can help designers test a number of aspects of their design, from the overall design concept to the fine-grained user interaction and layouts.

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Showing wireframes is often an easy way to convey to testers the overall design concept. Similarly, showing wireframes of multiple ways a piece of functionality can work allows testers to compare them and articulate tradeoffs of different approaches, helping designers to decide how to proceed.

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How polished a prototype appears influences what kind of feedback you can get from testers. Prototypes that look polished signal that the designer has already made all big decisions and just needs help with refining the fine-grained design details.

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Low-fidelity prototypes can be made using a variety of materials, including paper, post-its, and tape. In spite of their simplicity, such prototypes can often demonstrate pretty sophisticated user interactions and provide a rich enough experience of the design that designers are able to get a lot of valuable feedback both about the design concept but also on layouts

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While wizard of Oz prototypes can be used to prototype complex screen-based applications, they are also very useful for testing of design concepts for systems that include sophisticated non-screen-based interactions, such as conversational interactions with voice-based intelligent assistants.

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While one can certainly prototype a complete system, lo-fi prototypes are also useful for testing components of a system, as long as those components are sufficiently fleshed out to allow completion of complete tasks.

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Since they represent the look-and-feel of the final design, as well as include all required navigational elements, hi-fi prototypes are an excellent way to get feedback on usability issues that were not caught with lower-fidelity prototypes.

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