Found some interesting or otherwise time-passable things on the web related to prototyping and our discussion on Wednesday. A List Apart runs deep-dish articles on web design. This article shows how paper is good for tabbed interfaces, widgets, and usability testing. He also suggests keeping a glue stick handy.
Pen-based low-fi vs hi-fi; use while keeping the above paper prototypes in mind.
- Sketching with a Sharpie - (37signals) - "Ballpoints and fine tips just don’t fill the page like a Sharpie does. Fine tips invite you to draw while Sharpies invite you to just to get your concepts out into big bold shapes and lines. When you sketch with a thin tip you tend to draw at a higher resolution and worry a bit too much about making things look good. Sharpies encourage you to ignore details early on."
A neat idea if you want to keep your prototypes looking rough.
- Napkin Look & Feel - "The Napkin Look & Feel is a pluggable Java look and feel that looks like it was scrawled on a napkin. ... Often when people see a GUI mock-up, or a complete GUI without full functionality, they assume that the code behind it is working. ... So the idea is to create a complete look and feel that can be used while the thing is not done which will convey an emotional message to match the rational one. As pieces of the work are done, the GUI for those pieces can be switched to use the "formal" (final) look and feel, allowing someone looking at demos over time to see the progress of the entire system reflected in the expression of the GUI."
This is a really good post that links to Napkin and other sources to express what we heard in class, namely, the more "done" the prototype looks, the more finished the client expects the entire application it to.
The SILK project grew out of someone's dissertation research. The current public release of Denim runs on Mac, Win, and *nix.
- DUB - DENIM and SILK - Research - "Through a study of web site design practice, we observed that web site designers design sites at different levels of refinement -- site map, storyboard, and individual page -- and that designers sketch at all levels during the early stages of design. However, existing web design tools do not support these tasks very well. Informed by these observations, we created DENIM, a system that helps web site designers in the early stages of design. DENIM supports sketching input, allows design at different refinement levels, and unifies the levels through zooming."
Referred to in the List Apart article, this is a neat site that shows the evolution of OS and application GUIs from their inception to today. It has sections for splash screens, icons, the tutorials that were included to help us learn how to click with a mouse, and a timeline showing the slow progress of GUIs from the Lisa and GEOS on up to Leopard. The site appears to have run out of gas around 2005 or so. I have personal experience of GEOS (Commodore 64 & PC), Amiga, DOS 3-5, Windows 3.x, Mac (mid-80s-early 90s), and OS/2.