Interactive Excel prototyping

23 Jun 2009 - 2:11am
5 years ago
7 replies
1235 reads
Petra Liverani
2008

I created a paper prototype that was fun testing on local users but
when it got to testing remote users I thought perhaps I'd try to
create an online prototype. I started with PowerPoint but found the
macros deficient and a couple of things I wanted to do I couldn't. I
then ordered Effective Prototyping with Excel by Bergen et al,
expecting that their prototypes would involve some basic coding but
found they didn't. A programming colleague showed me a couple of
very basic code statements in Excel and I realised that with the
Control Toolbox widgets, .Visible = True and .Visible = False
statements, a couple of If statements, a little googling and a little
recording of macros to figure out some code, I could create a pretty
workable prototype, albeit only able to handle very specific use
cases.

I would appreciate responses on:
* the value of this type of prototype
* whether it is possible to have more control over formatting of the
Control Toolbox widgets, or, alternatively substitute the Forms
toolbar widgets which are more formattable
* other "bits of code" that non-coders can add to the repertoire
* ways of making the prototype more like a real prototype, that is,
not totally use case dependent, without going into real coding
territory
* any other suggestions

http://excelprototyping.weebly.com

Comments

23 Jun 2009 - 4:38am
susukoch
2009

I just hate excel-prototyping - and I´m totally in love with axure.com
- free trial version for 30 days available. I use Axure to create
classic wireframes and "dressing them up" with basic layouts for
test scenarios. Export to HTML - no hassle with codes. Take a
look...

www.axure.com

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23 Jun 2009 - 6:54am
Jacki Ray
2009

Using Excel is not a good idea for your case, you need a specialized tool. You can take a look at http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?GuiPrototypingTools, there are many tools for prototyping.

Personally I think ForeUI is very suitable for you, it can create prototype and export it as DHTML, which can be run on any web browser.

23 Jun 2009 - 6:49am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

The Excel prototype can be powerful if you are designing financial
tools or complex forms where you might want to simulate data input and
usage within the form. I teach a prototyping class and invite
students to use either PowerPoint or Excel to create interactive
prototypes. Excel is tougher, but I've seen some wonderfully
interactive forms that use the Excel functions to simulate data input,
output, and calculations - with little or no coding.

The big trick with Excel is understanding how the graphical layer and
the cell layer interact with each other.

For many things, PowerPoint and Axure are better tools, but for
looking at interactions for tools where data input, output, and
calculations are important, you can gain some good insight with Excel
as your prototyping tool.

Chauncey

On Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 8:11 PM, Petra<petral at iinet.net.au> wrote:
> I created a paper prototype that was fun testing on local users but
> when it got to testing remote users I thought perhaps I'd try to
> create an online prototype. I started with PowerPoint but found the
> macros deficient and a couple of things I wanted to do I couldn't. I
> then ordered Effective Prototyping with Excel by Bergen et al,
> expecting that their prototypes would involve some basic coding but
> found they didn't. A programming colleague showed me a couple of
> very basic code statements in Excel and I realised that with the
> Control Toolbox widgets, .Visible = True and .Visible = False
> statements, a couple of If statements, a little googling and a little
> recording of macros to figure out some code, I could create a pretty
> workable prototype, albeit only able to handle very specific use
> cases.
>
> I would appreciate responses on:
> * the value of this type of prototype
> * whether it is possible to have more control over formatting of the
> Control Toolbox widgets, or, alternatively substitute the Forms
> toolbar widgets which are more formattable
> * other "bits of code" that non-coders can add to the repertoire
> * ways of making the prototype more like a real prototype, that is,
> not totally use case dependent, without going into real coding
> territory
> * any other suggestions
>
> http://excelprototyping.weebly.com
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

23 Jun 2009 - 8:13am
Fred Sampson
2005

For more ideas on what you can do with interactive prototypes in Excel,
see http://www.effectiveprototyping.com/ep_excel.shtml; better yet, buy
the book (yes, I'm one of the authors).

-Fred

Petra wrote:
> I created a paper prototype that was fun testing on local users but
> when it got to testing remote users I thought perhaps I'd try to
> create an online prototype. I started with PowerPoint but found the
> macros deficient and a couple of things I wanted to do I couldn't. I
> then ordered Effective Prototyping with Excel by Bergen et al,
> expecting that their prototypes would involve some basic coding but
> found they didn't. A programming colleague showed me a couple of
> very basic code statements in Excel and I realised that with the
> Control Toolbox widgets, .Visible = True and .Visible = False
> statements, a couple of If statements, a little googling and a little
> recording of macros to figure out some code, I could create a pretty
> workable prototype, albeit only able to handle very specific use
> cases.
>
> I would appreciate responses on:
> * the value of this type of prototype
> * whether it is possible to have more control over formatting of the
> Control Toolbox widgets, or, alternatively substitute the Forms
> toolbar widgets which are more formattable
> * other "bits of code" that non-coders can add to the repertoire
> * ways of making the prototype more like a real prototype, that is,
> not totally use case dependent, without going into real coding
> territory
> * any other suggestions
>
> http://excelprototyping.weebly.com
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>
>
>

--

Fred Sampson

Email: fred at fredsampson.com

Web: www.fredsampson.com

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/fredsampson

Twitter: @wfreds

23 Jun 2009 - 9:56am
Benjamin Ho
2007

I use Axure as well.

Kyle Soucy from NH UPA also used Adobe Acrobat for prototyping.

I've seen others use Powerpoint as well.

I've never heard of using Excel as a prototyping tool.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Jun 2009 - 10:27am
Tomas Kafka
2009

I have good experience with prototyping using HTML and jQuery, it
allows quite advanced interaction, and with jQuery, it is the fastest
tool I have come upon so far... but I am a developer as well, so your
mileage may vary.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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24 Jun 2009 - 7:58am
Jonathan Arnowitz
2005

Hi Everyone,

I must admit I think there needs to a more nuanced discussion on prototyping tools. It is my experience (and indeed that of the other 3 co-authors of Effective Prototyping & Prototyping with Excel) that there is no one great end all tool. Each tool has a purpose, strengths and weaknesses. The more tools you have in your bag of prototyping magic tricks the better.

Excel without coding is meant to help people (who already know excel) to rapidly build prototypes without knowing any code and thereby just concentrate on the User Experience.

Having said that I can see enormous value in adding coding to Excel if it can be done effectively. If there is a quick and easy way to add code to an Excel Prototype that would be a great enrichment to Excel prototyping. However, in our experience it simply is not worth the effort. I have found using a better coding tool is probably a more efficient way to go. However, if you do get any coded samples working in Excel we would love to be able to add it to the Excel bag of tricks. But my fear is this may be harder to do than it is worth it.

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