Rapid Prototyping Tools

23 Jan 2007 - 8:19am
3 years ago
38 replies
3852 reads
Janna Cameron
2004

Hello,

I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow me to make a "paper
prototype" that I can share with a remote participant. I have been
using DENIM (http://dub.washington.edu/denim/)- which does everything I
need. I am looking for an alternative because of performance issues.
Any recommendations?

Janna

Comments

23 Jan 2007 - 8:22am
Ari
2006

i really like Axure (www.axure.com), it kills three birds with one stone -
IA/wire frames, functional specs and prototypes. it's not cheap but has
steadily improved with each version and will shave significant time off your
projects once you master it (not hard).

On 1/23/07, Janna Cameron <janna.cameron at desire2learn.com> wrote:
>
>
> Hello,
>
> I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow me to make a "paper
> prototype" that I can share with a remote participant. I have been
> using DENIM (http://dub.washington.edu/denim/)- which does everything I
> need. I am looking for an alternative because of performance issues.
> Any recommendations?
>
> Janna
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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>

--
----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flyingyogi.com

23 Jan 2007 - 8:25am
Henrik Olsen
2006

Hi Janna

If you are the happy owner of a tablet computer or a pen tablet you
can hand-draw prototypes on your computer using Visio.

You can read more about it in my article Hand-crafting prototypes in Visio:
http://www.guuui.com/issues/03_06.php

--
Henrik Olsen
www.guuui.com - The interaction designer's coffee break

On 1/23/07, Janna Cameron <janna.cameron at desire2learn.com> wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow me to make a "paper
> prototype" that I can share with a remote participant. I have been
> using DENIM (http://dub.washington.edu/denim/)- which does everything I
> need. I am looking for an alternative because of performance issues.
> Any recommendations?
>
> Janna

23 Jan 2007 - 8:29am
Ari
2006

sorry, i mis-read your posting regarding wanting a paper prototyping tool.
nothing comes to mind unless you're using a custom Visio stencil or
something to that effect.

On 1/23/07, Henrik Olsen <henrik.olsen at guuui.com> wrote:
>
> Hi Janna
>
> If you are the happy owner of a tablet computer or a pen tablet you
> can hand-draw prototypes on your computer using Visio.
>
> You can read more about it in my article Hand-crafting prototypes in
> Visio:
> http://www.guuui.com/issues/03_06.php
>
> --
> Henrik Olsen
> www.guuui.com - The interaction designer's coffee break
>
>
> On 1/23/07, Janna Cameron <janna.cameron at desire2learn.com> wrote:
> >
> > Hello,
> >
> > I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow me to make a "paper
> > prototype" that I can share with a remote participant. I have been
> > using DENIM (http://dub.washington.edu/denim/)- which does everything I
> > need. I am looking for an alternative because of performance issues.
> > Any recommendations?
> >
> > Janna
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flyingyogi.com

23 Jan 2007 - 8:34am
Janna Cameron
2004

I took a look at this. Can you make working controls (like radio
buttons and fields)? We love Visio - the only downfall has been that we
can't test form entry.

Janna

-----Original Message-----
From: henriksolsen at gmail.com [mailto:henriksolsen at gmail.com] On Behalf
Of Henrik Olsen
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 8:26 AM
To: Janna Cameron
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Rapid Prototyping Tools

Hi Janna

If you are the happy owner of a tablet computer or a pen tablet you can
hand-draw prototypes on your computer using Visio.

You can read more about it in my article Hand-crafting prototypes in
Visio:
http://www.guuui.com/issues/03_06.php

--
Henrik Olsen
www.guuui.com - The interaction designer's coffee break

On 1/23/07, Janna Cameron <janna.cameron at desire2learn.com> wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow me to make a
"paper
> prototype" that I can share with a remote participant. I have been
> using DENIM (http://dub.washington.edu/denim/)- which does everything
I
> need. I am looking for an alternative because of performance issues.
> Any recommendations?
>
> Janna

23 Jan 2007 - 8:39am
Anonymous

I like the FLASH UI components since they are totally
interactive:

http://www.adobe.com/support/flash/applications/creating_forms/

--- Janna Cameron <janna.cameron at desire2learn.com>
wrote:

>
> Hello,
>
> I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow
> me to make a "paper
> prototype" that I can share with a remote
> participant. I have been
> using DENIM (http://dub.washington.edu/denim/)-
> which does everything I
> need. I am looking for an alternative because of
> performance issues.
> Any recommendations?
>
> Janna
>
________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association
> (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............
> http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help ..................
> http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ...
> http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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> http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
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> Resource Library ...........
> http://resources.ixda.org
>

Rick Evans
bhaktivani.com  ,  mergingcurrents.com
       attentive2design.com

23 Jan 2007 - 8:53am
Marc Rettig
2004

Hi,
You can make what Chris Edwards used to call a "Sketchy Thingy"....

1. Sketch your interface on paper. Make parts more or less as you would for
a paper prototype -- what various views look like when you change, etc. And
you can sketch little rollover and highlight states if you want.

2. Slap the sketches on a scanner. Trim them down to size in your favorite
image editor.

3. Use Dreamweaver or Director or Flash or whatever to wire the parts
together into an interactive sketch.

These can be really quick to make, they communicate "not finished yet" as
effectively as a paper prototype, and you can make them fully navigable if
you have the time. I've used Dreamweaver to make sketched sites complete
with rollovers and pop-ups in a day.

I have also helped the client get what will stay the same and what will
change by including hi-fi images of the parts that won't change. "See? Your
current logo area and top-level navigation look just the way they always
have. It's just the sketchy parts that we're talking about." The mix of
hi-fi and pen sketch is kind of an odd look, but in that situation it was
very effective.

Also, if you're testing features that just aren't realistic unless people
can experience them online, you often can plop a hi-fi widget for that into
your sketchy thingy. So, for example, you might have a video play inside a
little sketched frame.

Endless fun, dirt cheap, and I think it achieves what you're after.

- Marc

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Marc Rettig
Fit Associates, LLC

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Janna
Cameron
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 8:20 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Rapid Prototyping Tools

Hello,

I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow me to make a "paper
prototype" that I can share with a remote participant. I have been
using DENIM (http://dub.washington.edu/denim/)- which does everything I
need. I am looking for an alternative because of performance issues.
Any recommendations?

Janna

23 Jan 2007 - 8:54am
.pauric
2006

If you've completed work within demin on this project, and then hit the
scaling/performance issue, I can suggest breaking the work in to multiple
files, then linking them together at a higher level, i.e. draw and imagemap
the home page to link off to sections of the site create in demin. This is
more of a short term hack than an elegant solution to the issue

Alternatively, as Ari points out, use Visio or Omnigraffle (mac) to draw
each page, then imagemap the buttons to actively link the pages together. I
like doing the linking work in dreamweaver as its got excellent file
management functionality allowing you to complete most of the work within
the GUI, with very little html work. Drag the output of visio/omni in to a
blank html page> select an area of the image to be a link > use the mouse to
point to the linked file : done. I think I still have some tutorials I
create on this process for visio, if you're having trouble getting started
let me know and I'll dig them out.

Here's an example completed in Omni, you can see how most of the design
intent is captured, its a clearer format and indefinite scaling.
http://web.mac.com/pauric_ocallaghan/vlan2/vlan_summary.html
(note: these screens form part of a more complete spec, much functionality
is defined elsewhere)

One of the biggest advantages of this style of prototyping over Demin is the
re-use of stencil components, the more you use visio/omni the more efficient
these tools become.

23 Jan 2007 - 9:03am
Bernie Monette
2005

--
Bernie Monette
InterActive Arts
Internet Presence Management
http://www.iaai.ca monette at iaai.ca 416 469 4337

> From: Rick Evans <javaswinger at yahoo.com>
> Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 05:39:19 -0800 (PST)
> To: Janna Cameron <janna.cameron at desire2learn.com>, <discuss at ixda.org>
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Rapid Prototyping Tools
>
> I like the FLASH UI components since they are totally
> interactive:
>
>
> http://www.adobe.com/support/flash/applications/creating_forms/
>
> --- Janna Cameron <janna.cameron at desire2learn.com>
> wrote:
>
>>
>> Hello,
>>
>> I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow
>> me to make a "paper
>> prototype" that I can share with a remote
>> participant. I have been
>> using DENIM (http://dub.washington.edu/denim/)-
>> which does everything I
>> need. I am looking for an alternative because of
>> performance issues.
>> Any recommendations?
>>
>> Janna
>>
This may not be what you want but it is quick-Flex builder from
Adobe/Macromedia creates a plain interface very quickly. It is in beta right
now...oops...looks like it is beyond that. What I have liked about it is
that it produces an interesting interface quickly. The backend is whatever
you wish. As well it is based on eclipse-so it is kinda open
sourcey...(whatever that means)

Go to http://www.flex.org or
http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=flex

Cheers,

Bernie

23 Jan 2007 - 9:08am
Mark Schraad
2006

>1. Sketch your interface on paper. Make parts more or less as you would for
>a paper prototype -- what various views look like when you change, etc. And
>you can sketch little rollover and highlight states if you want.
>
>2. Slap the sketches on a scanner. Trim them down to size in your favorite
>image editor.
>
>3. Use Dreamweaver or Director or Flash or whatever to wire the parts
>together into an interactive sketch.

Photo proto can do this pretty quickly utilizing the layers in photoshop.

23 Jan 2007 - 9:16am
Henrik Olsen
2006

No, unfortunately, Visio can't render working forms - as far as I know.

>
> Hi Janna
>
> If you are the happy owner of a tablet computer or a pen tablet you can
> hand-draw prototypes on your computer using Visio.
>
> You can read more about it in my article Hand-crafting prototypes in
> Visio:
> http://www.guuui.com/issues/03_06.php
>
> --
> Henrik Olsen
> www.guuui.com - The interaction designer's coffee break
>

23 Jan 2007 - 9:37am
Vishal Subraman...
2005

There were some extensive discussions on Rapid Prototyping Tools (not
specifically paper prototyping) a few months back. You might want to check
that out. I second Ari on Axure especially if you are interested in
extending your paper prototypes into interactive ones later in the project.
Its a diagramming tool (hence really fast) and can generate HTML markup
(unusable in the final product) to simulate the real product.

The wireframing tool is not as powerful as Omnigraffle (if only they came up
with an Interactive prototyping tool), but is decent. And their interaction
toolkit covers most commonly used ones, incl ajax type interactions.

Does anyone in the group have any experience with enterprise tools like
iRise & Serena?

-Vishal

23 Jan 2007 - 9:46am
.pauric
2006

Vishal: Does anyone in the group have any experience with enterprise tools
like
iRise & Serena?

This is worth a read http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/visio_replaceme

23 Jan 2007 - 9:53am
Vishal Subraman...
2005

I've read this, also seen the iRise demo etc...but its awfully expensive
(and powerful too). Both because its enterprise level- we could deploy Axure
in our group effectively coz it impacts only the Ixd group, but iRise
would involve the entire product food-chain. I want to know if anyone has
first-hand experience with it.

On 1/23/07, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Vishal: Does anyone in the group have any experience with enterprise tools
> like
> iRise & Serena?
>
> This is worth a read http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/visio_replaceme
>

23 Jan 2007 - 10:40am
Kiesel, Jeffrey...
2007

I've used iRise, and it seems to be very similar to Axure, from what I
can tell from the Axure website:

- Define Requirements
- Map Requirements to screens
- Conduct basic usability testing on screens

I remember iRise being very, very expensive, but they offer a
comprehensive suite of products, whereas Axure is just the prototyping
studio.

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
pauric
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 9:46 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Rapid Prototyping Tools

Vishal: Does anyone in the group have any experience with enterprise
tools
like
iRise & Serena?

This is worth a read http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/visio_replaceme
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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23 Jan 2007 - 2:49pm
Vishal Subraman...
2005

Jeffrey,
Isn't iRise and enterprise level s/w that encompasses the entire process
from project management, product requirements, design requirements,
technical requirements, prototyping etc? Axure does only the last in the
list (It has design requirements too, but is rudimentary). Axure is not
an enterprise level tool.

Would you care to elaborate your experience using iRise...pros/ cons? do you
still use it?

-Vishal

On 1/23/07, Kiesel, Jeffrey (User Experience) <Jeffrey_Kiesel at ml.com> wrote:
>
> I've used iRise, and it seems to be very similar to Axure, from what I
> can tell from the Axure website:
>
> - Define Requirements
> - Map Requirements to screens
> - Conduct basic usability testing on screens
>
> I remember iRise being very, very expensive, but they offer a
> comprehensive suite of products, whereas Axure is just the prototyping
> studio.
>
>
>
>
>

23 Jan 2007 - 5:33pm
Scott Bower
2006

We are using a combination of Flash, Illustrator, XML, XAML, MS Blend,
Visual Studio and Serena Composer to cover behavior, content and
context with documentation. Changing the XAML (the visual design/switch
between skin fidelity) and the XML (data) and the RTM files makes for a
living model.

Serena on its own is a great prototyping tool. You can bind your
wireframes to XML and live web services, easily. You can have working
forms and live data in a wireframe. It also has a wonderful workflow
interface that is easier and more flexible than Visio, especially if
team members are not familiar with UML. Visio is a generalist tool,
Serena was designed for prototyping and storyboarding. You can email a
simple functional prototype for review without the end user needing
only the Serena Reviewer app, which is free from the company site. You
can place low fidelity , functioning controls on top of visual JPEG
files as well. It just doesnt cover behavior to well.

For behavior, Flash is quick for me due to my skill set, I can copy and
paste wireframes into it. Processing, Jitter, After Effects, Shake, or
VVVV could work as well if you are dealing with prototyping visually
rich data visualizations without actually building it.

Scott
On Jan 23, 2007, at 9:16 AM, Henrik Olsen wrote:

> No, unfortunately, Visio can't render working forms - as far as I know.
>

23 Jan 2007 - 10:20pm
Michael Angeles
2007

Both Visio and OmniGraffle let you exporting wireframes as PDFs that
are clickable and just as functional as what Denim will produce. You
can use this to some extent to prototype, but you can't easily
demonstrate interaction in forms, or show animated effects. You can,
however, step through interactions, so the document becomes sort of
like a non-linear storyboard. I say it can be non-linear, because you
can jump around through the structure if you make each link in the UI
clickable, e.g. global navigation elements.

I did a quickie screencast demonstrating this:

http://urlgreyhot.com/personal/weblog/creating_prototypes_with_omnigraffle

-Michael

> I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow me to make a "paper
> prototype" that I can share with a remote participant.

24 Jan 2007 - 9:36am
Kiesel, Jeffrey...
2007

Scott,

My team is evaluating wireframing and prototyping tools. How do you use
flash? For demonstration movies on how the user would interact? Or an
interactive demo the user can navigate through?

~jk

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Scott Bower
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 5:34 PM
To: discuss
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Rapid Prototyping Tools

We are using a combination of Flash, Illustrator, XML, XAML, MS Blend,
Visual Studio and Serena Composer to cover behavior, content and
context with documentation. Changing the XAML (the visual design/switch
between skin fidelity) and the XML (data) and the RTM files makes for a
living model.

Serena on its own is a great prototyping tool. You can bind your
wireframes to XML and live web services, easily. You can have working
forms and live data in a wireframe. It also has a wonderful workflow
interface that is easier and more flexible than Visio, especially if
team members are not familiar with UML. Visio is a generalist tool,
Serena was designed for prototyping and storyboarding. You can email a
simple functional prototype for review without the end user needing
only the Serena Reviewer app, which is free from the company site. You
can place low fidelity , functioning controls on top of visual JPEG
files as well. It just doesnt cover behavior to well.

For behavior, Flash is quick for me due to my skill set, I can copy and
paste wireframes into it. Processing, Jitter, After Effects, Shake, or
VVVV could work as well if you are dealing with prototyping visually
rich data visualizations without actually building it.

Scott
On Jan 23, 2007, at 9:16 AM, Henrik Olsen wrote:

> No, unfortunately, Visio can't render working forms - as far as I
know.
>

________________________________________________________________
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24 Jan 2007 - 1:49pm
Brett Williams
2006

Thanks Michael, the video was cool and gave me some great ideas . . .
I just downloaded OmniGraffle Pro yesterday based on seeing the
suggestion of a poster here, and now after seeing what it can do, I'm
looking forward to adding it to my tool-belt.

Thanks to IxDA and everyone for the great ideas.

bw

On Jan 23, 2007, at 10:20 PM, Michael Angeles wrote:

> Both Visio and OmniGraffle let you exporting wireframes as PDFs that
> are clickable and just as functional as what Denim will produce. You
> can use this to some extent to prototype, but you can't easily
> demonstrate interaction in forms, or show animated effects. You can,
> however, step through interactions, so the document becomes sort of
> like a non-linear storyboard. I say it can be non-linear, because you
> can jump around through the structure if you make each link in the UI
> clickable, e.g. global navigation elements.
>
> I did a quickie screencast demonstrating this:
>
> http://urlgreyhot.com/personal/weblog/
> creating_prototypes_with_omnigraffle
>
> -Michael
>
>> I am looking for a tool that would essentially allow me to make a
>> "paper
>> prototype" that I can share with a remote participant.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

24 Jan 2007 - 2:47pm
markhhoff@earth...
2006

Thanks for taking the time and effort to show how to use OmniGraffle Pro to
prototype. I¹ve used Canvas to create clickable PDF prototypes, but have
always like the fell of the OmniGraffle interface. Will be using it from now
on.

Mark
--
Mark Hoffman < markhhoff at earthlink.net>
Mark Hoffman Associates, Inc.

24 Jan 2007 - 3:06pm
Mark Bardsley
2006

I don't have a mac at work so I don't have the pleasure of using OmniGraffle
Pro for most of my IA deliverables. I have had fine experiences though,
using Visio in exactly the same way only I export to HTML. All the
wireframes are connected via either a document stencil navigation area or a
background. The "hot spots" which are shapes or text are hyperlinked to
wireframes within the same file. The exported HTML can end up being quite
large because each page is exported as a nice JPEG. I once made a Visio file
with about 40 interconnected wireframes (a prototype of sorts). The exported
HTML was about 5 MB. I bet a 40 page PDF would be about half that size.

Mark Bardsley
Senior Information Architect
The Lux Group, Inc.
luxworldwide.com

-----Original Message-----

Thanks for taking the time and effort to show how to use OmniGraffle Pro to
prototype. I¹ve used Canvas to create clickable PDF prototypes, but have
always like the fell of the OmniGraffle interface. Will be using it from now
on.

Mark
--
Mark Hoffman < markhhoff at earthlink.net>
Mark Hoffman Associates, Inc.

25 Jan 2007 - 8:50am
vutpakdi
2003

Michael Angeles wrote:
> Both Visio and OmniGraffle let you exporting wireframes as PDFs that
> are clickable and just as functional as what Denim will produce.
I use Canvas (on Windows and Mac) to do the same thing. I make my
design spec and concept "sketchbooks" clickable so that a reader can
click on elements in the interface and navigate through most of the doc
that way.

Ron

25 Jan 2007 - 8:58am
Kiesel, Jeffrey...
2007

I've seen canvas mentioned a few times on here. What is it??

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Ron
Vutpakdi
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 8:50 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Rapid Prototyping Tools

Michael Angeles wrote:
> Both Visio and OmniGraffle let you exporting wireframes as PDFs that
> are clickable and just as functional as what Denim will produce.
I use Canvas (on Windows and Mac) to do the same thing. I make my
design spec and concept "sketchbooks" clickable so that a reader can
click on elements in the interface and navigate through most of the doc
that way.

Ron
________________________________________________________________
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25 Jan 2007 - 8:58pm
vutpakdi
2003

Kiesel, Jeffrey (User Experience) wrote:
> I've seen canvas mentioned a few times on here. What is it??
>
Canvas is a jack of all trades graphics application from ACD Systems
which acquired the original publisher, Deneba Software (www.deneba.com
still works).

Canvas is primarily a technical illustration package (vector graphics)
that has good text support, good bitmap graphic editing support
(including limited support for Photoshop plugins), and some basic page
layout capabilities. A combination of a good part of Illustrator, some
Photoshop, a bit of InDesign thrown and a few Canvas tools thrown mixed
together in a seamless package. Very good import and export
capabilities as well.

I do most of my design work in Canvas, primarily creating clickable PDF
design specs at the wireframe, photo-realistic level, or somewhere in
between. Particularly helpful capabilities include multi-layer support
at the master page and the individual page level, the guides for
alignment, as well as the ability to create hyperlinks out of text and
graphics objects.

Canvas runs about $350 for the general package (and more for the GIS or
the scientific imaging versions). Available for Windows and Mac OS X.

Canvas does have its quirks, and ACD Systems seems to be clueless about
what a gem of an app that they have. Still, I love Canvas since it suits
what I do so well.

Ron

26 Jan 2007 - 12:09am
Jeff Axup
2006

Just to stir things up a bit, I think it's intriguing that the original
question was about paper prototyping and nearly all the answers have been
about medium-high fidelity prototyping tools. I tend to find that the
software industry as a whole has a tendency to jump to high-fidelity too
quickly which reduces design flexibility and discourages innovation. Paper
(real paper/foam/cardboard) is a great stage to stay at as long as you're
not getting slowed down significantly by the medium.

the best paper prototyping tool is a pencil and paper or a whiteboard,
paired with a digital camera. i use whiteboards constantly. take a
high-resolution photo of it and send it as an attachment over e-mail. if
you're doing remote usability testing, then that's another issue entirely.
The photographed wireframe/prototype is really basic, and that's part of why
it works well and works very rapidly. Nearly all of the higher-fidelity
tools bring restrictions (e.g. placement, excessive detail, pre-made
widgets, etc.) that can greatly restrict early design processes.

As for medium/high fidelity tools, I use Smartdraw (smartdraw.com) which has
linking capabilities and seems to have a much more intuitive and
task-oriented interface than Visio.

Also, just had a thought that one of the reasons whiteboards are so good is
that usually designs drawn on them are both created AND visible by groups.
They also hang in public places. Good design seldom happens from one person.
Having a design space easily seen and edited by many stakeholders is part of
good early design conceptualization.

Cheers,
Jeff

____________________________________________________________________________
Jeff Axup Ph.D. Candidate - University of Queensland, Brisbane,
Australia
Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting

Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group Usability
E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com
Academic: http://www.infenv.itee.uq.edu.au
____________________________________________________________________________

On 1/25/07, Ron Vutpakdi <rvutpakdi at entouch.net> wrote:
>
> Kiesel, Jeffrey (User Experience) wrote:
> > I've seen canvas mentioned a few times on here. What is it??
> >
> Canvas is a jack of all trades graphics application from ACD Systems
> which acquired the original publisher, Deneba Software (www.deneba.com
> still works).
>
> Canvas is primarily a technical illustration package (vector graphics)
> that has good text support, good bitmap graphic editing support
> (including limited support for Photoshop plugins), and some basic page
> layout capabilities. A combination of a good part of Illustrator, some
> Photoshop, a bit of InDesign thrown and a few Canvas tools thrown mixed
> together in a seamless package. Very good import and export
> capabilities as well.
>
> I do most of my design work in Canvas, primarily creating clickable PDF
> design specs at the wireframe, photo-realistic level, or somewhere in
> between. Particularly helpful capabilities include multi-layer support
> at the master page and the individual page level, the guides for
> alignment, as well as the ability to create hyperlinks out of text and
> graphics objects.
>
> Canvas runs about $350 for the general package (and more for the GIS or
> the scientific imaging versions). Available for Windows and Mac OS X.
>
> Canvas does have its quirks, and ACD Systems seems to be clueless about
> what a gem of an app that they have. Still, I love Canvas since it suits
> what I do so well.
>
> Ron
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

26 Jan 2007 - 4:55am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 26 Jan 2007, at 05:09, Jeff Axup wrote:

[snip]
> Also, just had a thought that one of the reasons whiteboards are so
> good is
> that usually designs drawn on them are both created AND visible by
> groups.
> They also hang in public places. Good design seldom happens from
> one person.
> Having a design space easily seen and edited by many stakeholders
> is part of
> good early design conceptualization.
[snip]

Absolutely. In fact, if I'm luck enough to have the stakeholders co-
located, I find that I rarely need any sort of hi-fi wireframe/
prototype. Whiteboards and paper sketches, with digital snapshots for
backup/distribution, are more than enough.

Cheers,

26 Jan 2007 - 9:34am
Vishal Subraman...
2005

Jeff,

I agree with you on Paper Prototyping esp in early stages (a nice article
came up on ALA recently: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/paperprototyping),
but I think you got the semantics wrong.

> Just to stir things up a bit, I think it's intriguing that the original
> question was about paper prototyping and nearly all the answers have been
> about medium-high fidelity prototyping tools

Just by creating prototypes on an electronic medium, doesn't make it med/
high fidelity. We can create low fidelity prototypes in any of the tools
mentioned in the discussion (or create high fidelity paper prototypes if one
would wish). Fidelity refers to the amount of detail in the wireframes.

-Vishal

On 1/26/07, Jeff Axup <axup at userdesign.com> wrote:
>
> . I tend to find that the
> software industry as a whole has a tendency to jump to high-fidelity too
> quickly which reduces design flexibility and discourages innovation. Paper
> (real paper/foam/cardboard) is a great stage to stay at as long as you're
> not getting slowed down significantly by the medium.
>
> the best paper prototyping tool is a pencil and paper or a whiteboard,
> paired with a digital camera. i use whiteboards constantly. take a
> high-resolution photo of it and send it as an attachment over e-mail. if
> you're doing remote usability testing, then that's another issue entirely.
> The photographed wireframe/prototype is really basic, and that's part of
> why
> it works well and works very rapidly. Nearly all of the higher-fidelity
> tools bring restrictions (e.g. placement, excessive detail, pre-made
> widgets, etc.) that can greatly restrict early design processes.
>
> As for medium/high fidelity tools, I use Smartdraw (smartdraw.com) which
> has
> linking capabilities and seems to have a much more intuitive and
> task-oriented interface than Visio.
>
> Also, just had a thought that one of the reasons whiteboards are so good
> is
> that usually designs drawn on them are both created AND visible by groups.
> They also hang in public places. Good design seldom happens from one
> person.
> Having a design space easily seen and edited by many stakeholders is part
> of
> good early design conceptualization.
>
> Cheers,
> Jeff
>
>
> ____________________________________________________________________________
> Jeff Axup Ph.D. Candidate - University of Queensland, Brisbane,
> Australia
> Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design
> Consulting
>
> Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group
> Usability
> E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
> Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
> Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com
> Academic: http://www.infenv.itee.uq.edu.au
>
> ____________________________________________________________________________
>
> On 1/25/07, Ron Vutpakdi <rvutpakdi at entouch.net> wrote:
> >
> > Kiesel, Jeffrey (User Experience) wrote:
> > > I've seen canvas mentioned a few times on here. What is it??
> > >
> > Canvas is a jack of all trades graphics application from ACD Systems
> > which acquired the original publisher, Deneba Software (www.deneba.com
> > still works).
> >
> > Canvas is primarily a technical illustration package (vector graphics)
> > that has good text support, good bitmap graphic editing support
> > (including limited support for Photoshop plugins), and some basic page
> > layout capabilities. A combination of a good part of Illustrator, some
> > Photoshop, a bit of InDesign thrown and a few Canvas tools thrown mixed
> > together in a seamless package. Very good import and export
> > capabilities as well.
> >
> > I do most of my design work in Canvas, primarily creating clickable PDF
> > design specs at the wireframe, photo-realistic level, or somewhere in
> > between. Particularly helpful capabilities include multi-layer support
> > at the master page and the individual page level, the guides for
> > alignment, as well as the ability to create hyperlinks out of text and
> > graphics objects.
> >
> > Canvas runs about $350 for the general package (and more for the GIS or
> > the scientific imaging versions). Available for Windows and Mac OS X.
> >
> > Canvas does have its quirks, and ACD Systems seems to be clueless about
> > what a gem of an app that they have. Still, I love Canvas since it suits
> > what I do so well.
> >
> > Ron
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

26 Jan 2007 - 10:47am
ychisik
2006

No, no, no Jeff got the semantics just right.

The issue is not whether one can create low fidelity prototypes in a digital
environment; you obviously can, but the suggestive nature of the prototyping
tools as Jeff noted:

>...Nearly all of
> the higher-fidelity tools bring restrictions (e.g. placement,
> excessive detail, pre-made widgets, etc.) that can greatly restrict
> early design processes.

The great thing about paper prototyping is that it starts from a blank
canvas with no suggestions, i.e. a pallet of widgets or preconceptions
(other than those in the minds of the participants) you can then take the
designs and e-mail them around or slice and dice them into a digital tool
and carry on from there...

As for the meaning of fidelity I would regard the " the amount of detail in
the wireframes" as a resolution, fidelity would be the correspondence
between the look of an object in the prototype to the "real" thing, i.e.
does a web widget look like a web widget.

Yoram

*************************************
Yoram Chisik
DCD candidate and sandwich maker extraordinaire
UB - School of Information Arts and Technologies
Free advice and opinions - refunds available.
http://iat.ubalt.edu/chisik

26 Jan 2007 - 4:15pm
Dan Saffer
2003

An aside: Kathy Sierra had a great post on matching the type and
quality of your prototypes to the type of feedback you want to get. A
really good way of thinking about this topic:

"[O]verpromising by delivering a flashy (or Photoshopy or Powerpointy
or Visioy) demo is tempting, but it's short-term gain (you're a hero
to your client, boss, the public) with long-term pain. But there's
another problem with overdone demos that's just if not more damaging
than wrong expectations:

The more "done" something appears, the more narrow and incremental
the feedback."

http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/12/
dont_make_the_d.html

26 Jan 2007 - 4:22pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Jan 26, 2007, at 4:15 PM, Dan Saffer quoted Kathy Sierra:

> But there's
> another problem with overdone demos that's just if not more damaging
> than wrong expectations:
>
> The more "done" something appears, the more narrow and incremental
> the feedback."

Of course, there are times when this is a desirable result.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

The World is not set up to facilitate the best
any more than it is set up to facilitate the worst.
It doesn't depend on brilliance or innovation
because if it did, the system would be unpredictable.
It requires averages and predictables.

So, good deeds and brilliant ideas go against the
grain of the social contract almost by definition.
They will be challenged and will require
enormous effort to succeed.

Most fail.
- Michael McDonough

27 Jan 2007 - 7:34am
vutpakdi
2003

Jeff Axup wrote:
> I tend to find that the
> software industry as a whole has a tendency to jump to high-fidelity too
> quickly which reduces design flexibility and discourages innovation. Paper
> (real paper/foam/cardboard) is a great stage to stay at as long as you're
> not getting slowed down significantly by the medium.
>
Oh, I agree entirely that starting out with sketching tools is very
important early on. I use paper and pencils and also whiteboards and a
digital camera as well. At work, we used to have these digital
whiteboards in at least one conference rooms on each floor.
Unfortunately, the digital whiteboards seem to have been forgotten or
lost in the latest move. :-(

A nice compromise for me when I am working alone is the combination of a
TabletPC and Alias (now Autodesk) Sketchbook Pro. I get the combination
of working with a pen on a blank slate with the utility of having a
digital medium with layers.

Whether or not I show these early sketches to stakeholders varies
though: I've found that stakeholders have to have some experience
working with me before they can accept/understand actual sketches vs. a
wireframe.
And, I found out that no matter how much the stakeholders ask for it,
going to a high fidelity prototype at all can be a bit of a mistake, so
I always think very carefully before going that route (if at all).

I did once see a Java Look and Feel that essentially made a Java Swing
app look like it was completely handdrawn with crayons and pencils.
I've lost the link though. :-(

Ron

7 Jun 2007 - 8:51am
Richard Bye
2007

Can anyone provide a quick how-to for saving Visio (2003) files as a
'clickable' PDF? Do I need to buy Acrobat?

Cheers

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=13919

7 Jun 2007 - 3:41pm
Henrik Olsen
2006

Here's a toturial on saving Visio files as clickable HTML (which is a
better medium for prototypes, since HTML pages don't have fixed page
heights):
http://www.guuui.com/issues/02_07.php

Henrik Olsen
www.guuui.com

On 6/7/07, richard bye <Richard.bye at networkrail.co.uk> wrote:
> Can anyone provide a quick how-to for saving Visio (2003) files as a
> 'clickable' PDF? Do I need to buy Acrobat?
>
> Cheers
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=13919

7 Jun 2007 - 5:29pm
Richard Bye
2007

Thanks Henrik

I've been using the guuui.com guide with success but want to
distribute a single file for comments / feedback. A (clickable) PDF
would be ideal because people would be able to 'read' it offline.

I've neard that it can be done but am not sure how.

Cheers
Richard

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=17054

8 Jun 2007 - 7:40am
vutpakdi
2003

richard bye wrote:
> Can anyone provide a quick how-to for saving Visio (2003) files as a
> 'clickable' PDF? Do I need to buy Acrobat?
>

My guess is that you'll need to acquire Acrobat Professional or possibly
some other PDF generation tool.

Doing a quick search yields PrimoPDF which is a free PDF converter.
Problem is I don't know if it will save the link information or not (my
guess is no).

I'm afraid that I can't help you more because I use Canvas (from ACD
Systems) to create my clickable PDFs. All I have to do is set up the
links in Canvas and then save as a PDF file. The clickable PDFs make a
greate distribution system since, as you've noted, there is only one
file to distribute.

A trick that I use is to use a tabloid size "paper" in my document.
That way, I can lay out my windows at full scale and have room for
callout text and margins. When looking at the document on the screen,
the reviewer can zoom to 100% (to see things at life size) or zoom to
fit (to see the callout text). Because Acrobat handles paper scaling
well, the reviewer can also easily print either to regular letter paper
or to tabloid paper.

Ron

8 Jun 2007 - 2:00pm
Dave Rogers
2006

I've been creating clickable PDFs from Visio since 2000. The short
answer is that it is fairly easy, but you'll need at least Acrobat
Standard to do it.

Back in 2004, I wrote a tutorial for gotomedia that offers some
pointers:
http://www.gotomedia.com/gotoreport/may2005/news_0505_usable2.html

And in an act of shameless self-promotion, I wrote a more detailed
how-to chapter for Effective Prototyping for Software Makers.

Let me know if I can help further.

Dave Rogers
http://www.uxcentric.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=13919

9 Jun 2007 - 5:44am
Richard Bye
2007

Fantastic stuff. Thanks very much for your help.

Cheers
Richard

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=17054

13 Oct 2010 - 4:41am
Dan Moser
2010

You can check as well Justinmind Prototyper. It is fast, you can get your sketches done really easily. Moreover, if you ever need something more complex with interactions and so, you can extend your work. The idea is  that you can choose the fidelity degree you need in each case, from basic sketches to fully interactive wireframes.

Additionaly, if we're talking about sharing, you can export your work to HTML or use our other tool, Justinmind UserNote, to publish it. Your stakeholders will be able to check it online and even perform comments over it. Another great feature if you create interactive wireframes, is that UserNote integrates with remote usability testing tools so you can run usability tests online and using your wireframes as a base.

Have a look here:http://www.justinmind.com/blog/

Cheers,

Dan

@Justinmind

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