Prototyping tools resources

28 Feb 2009 - 11:19pm
5 years ago
26 replies
416 reads
Angel Marquez
2008

I don't think Andrei's chart was implying making one prototype; but, rather
using one group of technologies for as many prototypes as you want for
specific platforms giving a broad overview of their effectiveness along with
tools and resources to do so. I think what tools and resources go with what
platform needs to be more apparent.
The graph reminds me of this:
http://epsonality.com/

*no need to trample the jewels, I am fully aware of the overwhelming
un-acceptance of full on flash sites.

Comments

1 Mar 2009 - 1:13am
Angel Marquez
2008

I would make it so you could toggle the grid so along with selecting a
platform and seeing the overview you would also be able to select your
performance criteria and the tech package would present itself to you
directing you to the tools and resources based on your decision.
jQuery rules.

2 Mar 2009 - 5:24am
Andrew Boyd
2008

On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 7:02 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
> I think one of they keys here is that Andrei's perspective on prototyping is
> very different from the majority. That's not to say it's strictly right or
> wrong, but I find it a bit myopic, narrow, and shortsighted. It seems to be
> very 37signals—this is the way we do it and it's really the only way that
> matters.

Hi Todd,

I'm probably the polar opposite of Andrei's "if it don't move, it
ain't a prototype" view... to me, if it is a representation of a
concept used for communication purposes, then it's a prototype. To
avoid confusing people, I usually apply the word only to visual
constructs - wireframes, whitesites, pixel-perfect Photoshop
masterpieces, three lines scrawled on the back of a napkin,
architectural blueprints, a storyboard that illustrates a process
flow. If it's a thing that shows stuff, rather than being stuff
itself, then it's a prototype - regardless of what I might use to
create it.

I grant that Andrei's mileage may vary.

Best regards, Andrew

--
---
Andrew Boyd
http://uxaustralia.com.au -- UX Australia Conference Canberra 2009
http://uxbookclub.org -- connect, read, discuss
http://govux.org -- the government user experience forum
http://resilientnationaustralia.org Resilient Nation Australia

2 Mar 2009 - 5:48am
Roundand
2009

If it's a thing that shows stuff, rather than being stuff
> itself, then it's a prototype - regardless of what I might use to
> create it.

There's an interesting report in 2005 (
http://www.usability.gov/pubs/062005news.html) reviewing research into the
effectiveness of low-fi (paper) v. hi-fi (software) protoypes. Dr. Bob
Bailey concludes that "[i]n other words, low-fidelity prototypes appear to
be as effective as high-fidelity prototypes at detecting many types of
usability issues.", though he then goes on to discuss circumstances where
hi-fi is preferable.

As a software developer I always preferred doing code prototypes, but I'm
finding the arguments for sketching very persuasive - I've seen a whole lot
of over-commitment and premature lock-in to prototypes, and on one grimly
ironic occasion I was even sent out to maintain a horribly under-designed
system that had been developed years earlier as a prototype in a workshop by
my own trainees.

Can anyone tell me if the article is a valid summary of the research, now or
then?

Francis.

2 Mar 2009 - 7:46am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Mar 2, 2009, at 5:24 AM, Andrew Boyd wrote:

> to me, if it is a representation of a concept used for communication
> purposes, then it's a prototype.

While I hold a fairly liberal definition of a prototype, it's not that
liberal. I define a prototype as a representative simulation of a
final system that shows changes in states of that system. In other
words, while a single static element cannot be a prototype, a series
of them that represent the changes in state of a system (e.g. begin
point and end point) can be a prototype.

So, to me, a sketch isn't a prototype. A series of sketches, however,
that shows a beginning state and some transition to another state can
be used as a prototype. Same thing with wireframes. I don't consider a
wireframe a prototype, but if you give me a few of them that I can use
to show changes in the state of a system, then I can use it as a
prototype.

When you talk physical devices, that changes a bit. A wood or foam
block can be a prototype. It's not pixel perfect or painted exactly
like the final product, but it can represent and simulate the
interaction with the product or system the way the final piece does.

The first prototype of a Palm pilot was a block of wood. IDEOs
prototypes of the Microsoft mouse were foam. Both static, yet an
interactive representation of the final system.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

4 Mar 2009 - 4:21pm
Adrian Howard
2005

On 2 Mar 2009, at 12:46, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:
[snip]
> In other words, while a single static element cannot be a prototype,
> a series of them that represent the changes in state of a system
> (e.g. begin point and end point) can be a prototype.
[snip]

Y'know that reminds me of Scott McCloud's definition of comics in
Understanding Comics. He excluded single panels (e.g. Far Side)
because of that lack of a time element.

(which is arguable... of course... but that's beside the point :)

Adrian

5 Mar 2009 - 3:45pm
Mary Deaton
2008

In Todd's definition, a storyboard can be a prototype, but a one-page
mock-up cannot be. Right?

On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 1:21 PM, Adrian Howard <adrianh at quietstars.com>wrote:

>
> On 2 Mar 2009, at 12:46, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:
> [snip]
>
>> In other words, while a single static element cannot be a prototype, a
>> series of them that represent the changes in state of a system (e.g. begin
>> point and end point) can be a prototype.
>>
> [snip]
>
> Y'know that reminds me of Scott McCloud's definition of comics in
> Understanding Comics. He excluded single panels (e.g. Far Side) because of
> that lack of a time element.
>
> (which is arguable... of course... but that's beside the point :)
>
> Adrian
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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--
Mary Deaton
Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we will

5 Mar 2009 - 7:31pm
Todd Warfel
2003

I series of storyboards could be used in the prototyping process, but
I wouldn't necessarily call it a prototype. That's one of those grey
areas.

On Mar 5, 2009, at 3:45 PM, Mary Deaton wrote:

> In Todd's definition, a storyboard can be a prototype, but a one-page
> mock-up cannot be. Right?

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

6 Mar 2009 - 12:40am
Andrew Boyd
2008

Hi Todd,

to clarify: a prototype shall be a series of representations of a
screen or screens?

Best regards, Andrew

On Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 11:31 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
> I series of storyboards could be used in the prototyping process, but I
> wouldn't necessarily call it a prototype. That's one of those grey areas.
>
> On Mar 5, 2009, at 3:45 PM, Mary Deaton wrote:
>
>> In Todd's definition, a storyboard can be a prototype, but a one-page
>> mock-up cannot be. Right?
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> President, Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice:  (215) 825-7423
> Email:  todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM:    twarfel at mac.com
> Blog:   http://toddwarfel.com
> Twitter:        zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

--
---
Andrew Boyd
http://uxaustralia.com.au -- UX Australia Conference Canberra 2009
http://uxbookclub.org -- connect, read, discuss
http://govux.org -- the government user experience forum
http://resilientnationaustralia.org Resilient Nation Australia

6 Mar 2009 - 8:02am
pyces
2007

I disagree. Even a one-page paper sketch can be a prototype - just a
low-fidelity prototype. See Carolyn Snyder's book, Paper Prototypes. I
often sketch ideas out before heading to Visio where they become
mid-fidelity prototypes. Once you add some colors and images - then it's
a high-fidelity prototype.

Courtney Jordan

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Todd Zaki Warfel
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 7:32 PM
To: Mary Deaton
Cc: list IXDA
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Prototyping tools resources

I series of storyboards could be used in the prototyping process, but
I wouldn't necessarily call it a prototype. That's one of those grey
areas.

On Mar 5, 2009, at 3:45 PM, Mary Deaton wrote:

> In Todd's definition, a storyboard can be a prototype, but a one-page
> mock-up cannot be. Right?

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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6 Mar 2009 - 9:41am
Dave Malouf
2005

I really feel you folks are confusing mock-up with prototype.
IMHO, if I can't use it, it ain't a prototype. Maybe, human as
computer paper-prototypes fit the bill, but otherwise, a series of
screens, are mock-ups and an interactive click-through is a
prototype.

The distinction is important b/c the line lets us know what level of
data we can achieve from each. Otherwise, if everything is a
prototype there is no means of discerning when to use what tool when
in what part of the process.

Ya know there is a reason why there are 20 words for "snow" in
Intuit/Eskimo. Sometimes, being discreet allows for more accurate
communication. The mass rush to generalize everything in the UX
community is really becoming annoying.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=39316

6 Mar 2009 - 10:13am
SemanticWill
2007

On Mar 6, 2009, at 6:41 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> I really feel you folks are confusing mock-up with prototype.
> IMHO, if I can't use it, it ain't a prototype.

exactly. If it is not something that a user can actually engage with,
then its a sketch, or wireframe or picture. If there is no behavioral
dynamic that emerges between user and system, then they are just
staring at a picture.

> Maybe, human as
> computer paper-prototypes fit the bill, but otherwise, a series of
> screens, are mock-ups and an interactive click-through is a
> prototype.
>
> The distinction is important b/c the line lets us know what level of
> data we can achieve from each. Otherwise, if everything is a
> prototype there is no means of discerning when to use what tool when
> in what part of the process.
>
> Ya know there is a reason why there are 20 words for "snow" in
> Intuit/Eskimo. Sometimes, being discreet allows for more accurate
> communication. The mass rush to generalize everything in the UX
> community is really becoming annoying.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=39316
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

6 Mar 2009 - 12:42pm
Katie Albers
2005

Well, Webster's has this to say about it: "Pro"to*type\, n. ... An
original or model after which anything is copied; the pattern of
anything to be engraved, or otherwise copied, cast, or the like; a
primary form; exemplar; archetype." Whereas a mock-up is "a model,
often full-size, for study, testing, or teaching: a mock-up of an
experimental aircraft" according to Random House. Comparing the two
leads me to believe that the prototype would necessarily exist before
the mock-up.

Interestingly: The page of dictionary.com where these were found
contains an ad for a Rapid Prototyping tool called MockupScreens.

And there aren't 20 words for snow in Inuit. First of all, the Inuit
speak multiple languages, so it isn't a rational datum. Secondly, the
linguistic structure of most of those languages is such that "number
of words" equating to any single word in English is impossible.
Thirdly, English has snow, sleet, drift, blizzard, flurry, slush,
powder, flakes. You can say that those all mean slightly different
things, and that is both true and important; but it does not mean that
having 8 words for snow is a measure of how important it is in our
culture; that theory has been long abandoned by linguists.

Yes it is, I believe, true to distinguish between a pre-complete
entity that functions and a pre-complete entity that doesn't (and no,
I didn't mean "incomplete"), but that doesn't mean that mock-up and
prototype have /ab initio/ been defined to mean those things. There's
actually evidence that in other, analogous, fields, the reverse is true.

So, while no one is a bigger fan of careful definition than I, I
believe it's a mistake to assume that everyone who doesn't agree with
you on which is which is fundamentally in error. We need to come to a
common understanding of these terms, but it is NOT the case that there
*was* a common understanding which has been breached.

kt

Katie Albers
Founder & Principal Consultant
FirstThought
User Experience Strategy & Project Management
310 356 7550
katie at firstthought.com

On Mar 6, 2009, at 6:41 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> I really feel you folks are confusing mock-up with prototype.
> IMHO, if I can't use it, it ain't a prototype. Maybe, human as
> computer paper-prototypes fit the bill, but otherwise, a series of
> screens, are mock-ups and an interactive click-through is a
> prototype.
>
> The distinction is important b/c the line lets us know what level of
> data we can achieve from each. Otherwise, if everything is a
> prototype there is no means of discerning when to use what tool when
> in what part of the process.
>
> Ya know there is a reason why there are 20 words for "snow" in
> Intuit/Eskimo. Sometimes, being discreet allows for more accurate
> communication. The mass rush to generalize everything in the UX
> community is really becoming annoying.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=39316
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

6 Mar 2009 - 2:45pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Mar 6, 2009, at 9:42 AM, Katie Albers wrote:

> Well, Webster's has this to say about it: "Pro"to*type\, n. ... An
> original or model after which anything is copied; the pattern of
> anything to be engraved, or otherwise copied, cast, or the like; a
> primary form; exemplar; archetype." Whereas a mock-up is "a model,
> often full-size, for study, testing, or teaching: a mock-up of an
> experimental aircraft" according to Random House. Comparing the two
> leads me to believe that the prototype would necessarily exist
> before the mock-up.

I'm not sure how you arrive at that conclusion.

The definition clearly states that the prototype is the "first" or an
original after which production or copying for production ensues. That
means it's inherently the last thing made before the real production
begins of the product. The mock-up is used for study and testing, and
is not defined to be the one after which everything is copied. So it
comes before the prototype.

This is precisely why I use the metrics I did in my Building a Digital
Concept Car, which kicked off this whole thread. I make prototypes
with clients and I even use the term "digital concept car" to fully
imply it will be a reasonably working model of the real deal. As such,
the prototypes we make at Involution are intended to be the final
design spec to be used as such going into production. Stuff made for
the prototype can be highly leveraged in making the real product, as
listed in the chart on the presentation. This is precisely why "paper
prototyping" has been an incredibly poor term, and I almost left it
off the diagram since I don't even really consider it a prototype, but
more of something akin to the sketching phase of a project, which I
think happens *before* the mock-up phase. It's sketching. It's
modeling. Sure... but prototyping? Not by definition.

Iterating on the prototype is where I think too many people get hung
up. I can understand why people think it's impossible to iterate on
such a thing, but it's actually easier precisely because the richer
you go, the more real you make it, the better you can make adjustments
that have real impact on the final product.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

6 Mar 2009 - 1:20pm
Uday Gajendar
2007

Good lord this thread has just devolved into an embarrassment! (and
whatever happened to Saffer's admonition--no more tedious endless
definition threads!)

For the last time: http://www.ghostinthepixel.com/?p=130

And if you're still that confused about wireframes (and mockups) vs
prototypes, well God help you. Because I sure can't!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=39316

6 Mar 2009 - 9:20am
Erik Stolterman
2005

Hi list

Since this thread is about the nature of prototypes, I might push for
a paper I wrote with some colleagues on the topic. It was published in
ToCHI last summer. You can download it here
http://www.box.net/shared/static/6cg0s7crjh.pdf
it is called "The Anatomy of Prototypes"

Best
Erik
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Erik Stolterman
Professor of Informatics • Director of HCI/design
School of Informatics • Indiana University

web: http://hcid.informatics.indiana.edu/eriksite/
blog: http://transground.blogspot.com/

6 mar 2009 kl. 14.02 skrev Jordan, Courtney:

> I disagree. Even a one-page paper sketch can be a prototype - just a
> low-fidelity prototype. See Carolyn Snyder's book, Paper Prototypes. I
> often sketch ideas out before heading to Visio where they become
> mid-fidelity prototypes. Once you add some colors and images - then
> it's
> a high-fidelity prototype.
>
> Courtney Jordan
>
> -----Original Message-----

7 Mar 2009 - 1:38pm
Todd Warfel
2003

Explain to me how a one page sketch can be a prototype? A concept,
sure. But a prototype?

The point of a prototype is to communicate a design concept and see
how it works. You can't really see/show how something works with just
one sketch.

On Mar 6, 2009, at 8:02 AM, Jordan, Courtney wrote:

> I disagree. Even a one-page paper sketch can be a prototype - just a
> low-fidelity prototype. See Carolyn Snyder's book, Paper Prototypes. I
> often sketch ideas out before heading to Visio where they become
> mid-fidelity prototypes. Once you add some colors and images - then
> it's
> a high-fidelity prototype.
>
> Courtney Jordan

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

7 Mar 2009 - 2:34pm
Adrian Howard
2005

On 7 Mar 2009, at 18:38, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> Explain to me how a one page sketch can be a prototype? A concept,
> sure. But a prototype?
>
> The point of a prototype is to communicate a design concept and see
> how it works. You can't really see/show how something works with
> just one sketch.

[snip]

An experience with a client a few years back comes to mind...

We were working on an old-school information-based website for an
organisation. The client wanted the site split by org-chart. We
thought this wouldn't match the users needs. The client insisted that
they understood the issue - and the public had no problem finding the
appropriate areas of the organisation. We pointed out this was because
they had humans redirecting them to the right area because their
interactions were face-to-face or on the phone. He disagreed.

So...

I drew a mock home page on a piece of paper with the six or so
organisational areas as the main navigational areas.

I asked whether this was what he wanted? He said yes.

We asked the client which area he would go to if he wanted X, Y or Z.
He, unsurprisingly, knew the correct answers [Actually - it turned out
later that one of his answer was actually incorrect! But that doesn't
matter for the story]

We took the client and the piece of paper outside onto the street and
stopped a random person and asked them the same questions. They had no
idea. As did the next random person. As did the next. The client was
convinced on #3. We went back inside and had a productive conversation.

So - single piece of paper produced in under a minute. We could give
it to users with a goal. We could get a very good idea of their
behaviour with that goal. That gave us just enough information to move
forward.

Prototype? Not-prototype? Does/should anybody care? :-)

Cheers,

Adrian

7 Mar 2009 - 2:39pm
Chauncey Wilson
2007

There are different types of prototypes and a sketch can, for example,
be used to illustrate a prototype of a visual or layout style or even
suggest interaction. Buxton makes a big point about sketches not
being prototypes (see pages 138-141) in his recent book on Sketching
though his chart on page 138 shows a gradual transition. You can use
a sketch with annotation to describe how someone might use a single
component in a larger system and that would shift from pure sketch to
a representation where there is some interaction. Storyboards can
prototype interaction, but they can be just a series of sketches so we
have to ask if a single sketch is just a sketch, but more than one
sketch is a prototype (even with clickable links?). I think that you
can see how something works at a particular level of granularity with
a sketch. It is sometimes useful to give people rough sketches and ask
them to envision how something might work (perhaps in future
workshops).

Chauncey

On Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 1:38 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
> Explain to me how a one page sketch can be a prototype? A concept, sure. But
> a prototype?
>
> The point of a prototype is to communicate a design concept and see how it
> works. You can't really see/show how something works with just one sketch.
>
> On Mar 6, 2009, at 8:02 AM, Jordan, Courtney wrote:
>
>> I disagree. Even a one-page paper sketch can be a prototype - just a
>> low-fidelity prototype. See Carolyn Snyder's book, Paper Prototypes. I
>> often sketch ideas out before heading to Visio where they become
>> mid-fidelity prototypes. Once you add some colors and images - then it's
>> a high-fidelity prototype.
>>
>> Courtney Jordan
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> Principal Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice:  (215) 825-7423
> Email:  todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM:    twarfel at mac.com
> Blog:   http://toddwarfel.com
> Twitter:        zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

7 Mar 2009 - 2:41pm
Todd Warfel
2003

I'd call that a bucket test. Now, if you'd put together some lower
level pages that go beyond that top level nav to let people actually
explore the pieces underneath and see how they interact with it, then
I'd say w/o question you've got a prototype.

On Mar 7, 2009, at 2:34 PM, Adrian Howard wrote:

> Prototype? Not-prototype? Does/should anybody care? :-)

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

7 Mar 2009 - 2:43pm
SemanticWill
2007

no doubt this will come down to a DTDT, Todd, but people will come
forward with examples of how they used a sketch to test something
(structure of info, for instance); or labels and call it a prototype
whereas we all know you can't test behavior with a sketch - and
therein lies the rub. It doesn't really matter, I suppose - but for
me, and for you, and for Dave M - the key is behavior. With a paper
prototype - with moving parts - you can show, and test - the behavior
of an accordion, or a carousel, and many other interactions - but with
a sketch, or one of my wireframes - you can't without heavy
annotations and explanations but it is still a sketch because the user
can't interact with the thing.

~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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http://www.linkedin.com/in/semanticwill
aim: semanticwill
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twitter: semanticwill
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On Mar 7, 2009, at 1:38 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> Explain to me how a one page sketch can be a prototype? A concept,
> sure. But a prototype?
>
> The point of a prototype is to communicate a design concept and see
> how it works. You can't really see/show how something works with
> just one sketch.
>
> On Mar 6, 2009, at 8:02 AM, Jordan, Courtney wrote:
>
>> I disagree. Even a one-page paper sketch can be a prototype - just a
>> low-fidelity prototype. See Carolyn Snyder's book, Paper
>> Prototypes. I
>> often sketch ideas out before heading to Visio where they become
>> mid-fidelity prototypes. Once you add some colors and images - then
>> it's
>> a high-fidelity prototype.
>>
>> Courtney Jordan
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> Principal Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice: (215) 825-7423
> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> Twitter: zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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7 Mar 2009 - 2:48pm
SemanticWill
2007

also -
does it really matter what websters or the OED defines as a prototype
- what matters is the proper conveyance of information within a
community of practice, that is, Interaction Designers. We no doubt
need it when discussing something, which no doubt will be something
totally different for architects, for whom testing behaviors is
irrelevant, or car designers, who will have their own use and
definition of a prototype. Is it a mound of clay? No - that is a
model. Can you drive a prototype? Yes - then you are testing
interactions within a context of behaviors of user with system.

~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
http://blog.semanticfoundry.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/semanticwill
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: semanticwill
twitter: semanticwill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Mar 7, 2009, at 2:41 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> I'd call that a bucket test. Now, if you'd put together some lower
> level pages that go beyond that top level nav to let people actually
> explore the pieces underneath and see how they interact with it,
> then I'd say w/o question you've got a prototype.
>
> On Mar 7, 2009, at 2:34 PM, Adrian Howard wrote:
>
>> Prototype? Not-prototype? Does/should anybody care? :-)
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> Principal Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice: (215) 825-7423
> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> Twitter: zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

7 Mar 2009 - 2:54pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Mar 7, 2009, at 2:48 PM, Will Evans wrote:

> does it really matter what websters or the OED defines as a prototype

Not sure how much Webster's definition applies, since that appears to
focus primarily on physical object prototypes rather than software
system prototypes. Perhaps they should update their definition.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

7 Mar 2009 - 3:22pm
Chauncey Wilson
2007

Just some snippets of definitions of "prototype":

“…An easily changeable draft or simulation of at least part of the
interface” (Hackos & Redish, 1998, p. 376)

"Prototypes" are representations of a design made before final
artifacts exist. (Buchenau & Suri, 2000)

“Tangible speculation” (Robert Graves)

“…an approximation of the product along one or more dimensions of
interest.” (Ulrich & Eppinger, 1995).

“…externalizing and making concrete a design idea for the purpose of
evaluation.” (Munoz, 1992)

A prototype is a common artifact that represents the evolving system
under development (Atwood, Burns, Girgensohn, Lee, Turner, Zimmermann,
1995)

A way to explore questions at each phase of the development cycle

Any representation of design ideas; this can include existing products
that provide design advice; a model of a final product; a sketch, a
simulation, ....

In understanding interaction, we can use a sketch of the
social/physical environment and indicate flow and concerns (the Rich
picture, for example, is a prototype of the stakeholder environment).
Some very simple sketches can convey much about interaction (I'm
thinking Feynmann diagrams from physics and various flow models that
we use in product design). Link analysis for example, is a human
factors diagram that can show how often controls or equipment are used
and how often the operators have conflicts or wasted motion.

Chauncey

On Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 2:48 PM, Will Evans <will at semanticfoundry.com> wrote:
> also -
> does it really matter what websters or the OED defines as a prototype - what
> matters is the proper conveyance of information within a community of
> practice, that is, Interaction Designers. We no doubt need it when
> discussing something, which no doubt will be something totally different for
> architects, for whom testing behaviors is irrelevant, or car designers, who
> will have their own use and definition of a prototype. Is it a mound of
> clay? No - that is a model. Can you drive a prototype? Yes - then you are
> testing interactions within a context of behaviors of user with system.
>
> ~ will
>
> "Where you innovate, how you innovate,
> and what you innovate are design problems"
>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Will Evans | User Experience Architect
> tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
> http://blog.semanticfoundry.com
> http://www.linkedin.com/in/semanticwill
> aim: semanticwill
> gtalk: semanticwill
> twitter: semanticwill
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Mar 7, 2009, at 2:41 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:
>
>> I'd call that a bucket test. Now, if you'd put together some lower level
>> pages that go beyond that top level nav to let people actually explore the
>> pieces underneath and see how they interact with it, then I'd say w/o
>> question you've got a prototype.
>>
>> On Mar 7, 2009, at 2:34 PM, Adrian Howard wrote:
>>
>>> Prototype? Not-prototype? Does/should anybody care? :-)
>>
>>
>> Cheers!
>>
>> Todd Zaki Warfel
>> Principal Design Researcher
>> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
>> ----------------------------------
>> Contact Info
>> Voice:  (215) 825-7423
>> Email:  todd at messagefirst.com
>> AIM:    twarfel at mac.com
>> Blog:   http://toddwarfel.com
>> Twitter:        zakiwarfel
>> ----------------------------------
>> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
>> In practice, they are not.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

7 Mar 2009 - 4:00pm
Katie Albers
2005

Oh, for...

This will probably surprise a lot of you, but I don't actually care
what we take "prototype" to mean, vs. model vs. sketch vs....
whatever. I get my panties in a bunch when people claim a commonality
of understanding of a word, when that commonality clearly isn't
extant. Hence my dictionary definitions. They demonstrate that there
are recognized definitions for these words outside of our little
sphere. The ongoing discussion illustrates that there are not commonly
held definitions for those words *inside* our little sphere. My plea
is simply that we stop using words as though we were, individually,
the final arbiters of their meaning to the community.

There are perfectly good modifiers that can help us. For example,
while some of us may believe that to say "Paper prototype" is deeply
wrong, I think we do understand what is meant by it. Similarly,
"interactive model" may appear to be both redundant and oxymoronic,
but I suspect that we would have a good general idea of what it
referred to.

I don't mind having a professional vocabulary - I think it's a very
good idea - but the fact that we argue over its elements is ample
evidence that it doesn't exist as a commonly understood set of words.
The professional vocabulary is still shaking out.

In the meantime, can we try to communicate our questions, comments,
answers and discussion in such a fashion that we can understand one
another, rather than scoring points off one another for word usage?

Katie Albers
Founder & Principal Consultant
FirstThought
User Experience Strategy & Project Management
310 356 7550
katie at firstthought.com

On Mar 7, 2009, at 11:54 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

>
> On Mar 7, 2009, at 2:48 PM, Will Evans wrote:
>
>> does it really matter what websters or the OED defines as a prototype
>
> Not sure how much Webster's definition applies, since that appears
> to focus primarily on physical object prototypes rather than
> software system prototypes. Perhaps they should update their
> definition.
>
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> Principal Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice: (215) 825-7423
> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> Twitter: zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

7 Mar 2009 - 4:23pm
Chauncey Wilson
2007

While the discussion on this list about vocabulary shows that we have
different views of common terms, the words you use in organizations
can have powerful effects since words like "design" and "prototype"
are often loaded terms (think companies where developers think that
they are the "designers" and the user experience team thinks that they
are "designers" and "prototypes" are viewed by the company as working
code models whereas "prototypes" to the first new interaction designer
fits into one of the categories that we are debating.

The debate here is among people with different experiences who view
prototyping and design differently and while it may seem a bit
hostile, it is useful is understanding how the groups we work with
might also react to our personal definitions and might even help us
think about how our view isn't the only view.

Buxton made a big deal out of this topic in his book and though I
disagree with him, his distinctions are still useful as are the ones
revealed by our debate about the meaning of "prototype".

Though, perhaps we have exhausted this for now :-).

Chauncey

On Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 4:00 PM, Katie Albers <katie at firstthought.com> wrote:
> Oh, for...
>
> This will probably surprise a lot of you, but I don't actually care what we
> take "prototype" to mean, vs. model vs. sketch vs.... whatever. I get my
> panties in a bunch when people claim a commonality of understanding of a
> word, when that commonality clearly isn't extant. Hence my dictionary
> definitions. They demonstrate that there are recognized definitions for
> these words outside of our little sphere. The ongoing discussion illustrates
> that there are not commonly held definitions for those words *inside* our
> little sphere. My plea is simply that we stop using words as though we were,
> individually, the final arbiters of their meaning to the community.
>
> There are perfectly good modifiers that can help us. For example, while some
> of us may believe that to say "Paper prototype" is deeply wrong, I think we
> do understand what is meant by it. Similarly, "interactive model" may appear
> to be both redundant and oxymoronic, but I suspect that we would have a good
> general idea of what it referred to.
>
> I don't mind having a professional vocabulary - I think it's a very good
> idea - but the fact that we argue over its elements is ample evidence that
> it doesn't exist as a commonly understood set of words. The professional
> vocabulary is still shaking out.
>
> In the meantime, can we try to communicate our questions, comments, answers
> and discussion in such a fashion that we can understand one another, rather
> than scoring points off one another for word usage?
>
> Katie Albers
> Founder & Principal Consultant
> FirstThought
> User Experience Strategy & Project Management
> 310 356 7550
> katie at firstthought.com
>
>
>
>
>
> On Mar 7, 2009, at 11:54 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:
>
>>
>> On Mar 7, 2009, at 2:48 PM, Will Evans wrote:
>>
>>> does it really matter what websters or the OED defines as a prototype
>>
>> Not sure how much Webster's definition applies, since that appears to
>> focus primarily on physical object prototypes rather than software system
>> prototypes. Perhaps they should update their definition.
>>
>>
>>
>> Cheers!
>>
>> Todd Zaki Warfel
>> Principal Design Researcher
>> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
>> ----------------------------------
>> Contact Info
>> Voice:  (215) 825-7423
>> Email:  todd at messagefirst.com
>> AIM:    twarfel at mac.com
>> Blog:   http://toddwarfel.com
>> Twitter:        zakiwarfel
>> ----------------------------------
>> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
>> In practice, they are not.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

9 Mar 2009 - 4:10pm
Adrian Howard
2005

On 6 Mar 2009, at 06:41, David Malouf wrote:

> I really feel you folks are confusing mock-up with prototype.
> IMHO, if I can't use it, it ain't a prototype. Maybe, human as
> computer paper-prototypes fit the bill, but otherwise, a series of
> screens, are mock-ups and an interactive click-through is a
> prototype.

I'm certainly thinking of a human in the loop when we're talking about
paper prototypes. Otherwise there isn't any behaviour to observe.

> The distinction is important b/c the line lets us know what level of
> data we can achieve from each. Otherwise, if everything is a
> prototype there is no means of discerning when to use what tool when
> in what part of the process.

Except by talking about the advantages and disadvantages of different
tools in different contexts?

Calling something a prototype, or a mock up, or a wireframe, or
whatever doesn't help much. I think this thread shows that different
folk have very different definitions.

Saying something works badly or well without giving enough information
about the context where that something works badly or well seems
fairly pointless to me.

There are situations where paper prototype works really, really badly.
There are situations where putting together a quick HTML/Javascript
click-through is a huge over-commitment that will only slow
development down. There are situations where a hi-fidelity functional
prototype is the only thing that will answer our questions.

I'm probably as guilt as this as anybody, but we need to be talking
more about _where_ paper prototypes, hi-fi prototypes, man-behind-the-
curtain demos, etc., etc. work (or not as the case may be).

And less time arguing definitions :-)

> Ya know there is a reason why there are 20 words for "snow" in
> Intuit/Eskimo.
[snip]

And just to prove what an annoying pendant I can be.... there aren't
20 words for "snow" in "Eskimo". Or at least it has nothing to do with
them living in a snowy environment and having to make finer
definitions that an English speaker :-)

The "Eskimo" languages are polysynthetic - where words and word-
boundaries are not as clear cut as a they are in English and European
languages. So the "Eskimo" for - say "thick snow" (not real example)
can look like a separate word - when it's actually a regularly formed
construct of several smaller morphemes ("snow" modified by "thick").

I seem to recall being told that if you juggle your definitions
appropriately you can get English having more snow related words -
because we have lots of different words for snow concepts (avalanche,
sleet, powder, etc.) that would be expressed by a single common "snow"
morpheme in the "Eskimo" languages with appropriate modifications.

I'm sure googling around will get you more detail than my hazy memory
from the year of linguistics I did back at uni :-)

Cheers,

Adrian

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