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Re: [agile-usability] Prototyping Tools

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  • Elizabeth Whitworth
    ... If your team has macs I would recommend Omnigraffle professional. We have a set of standard interface elements that we have created into a stencil, and
    Message 1 of 43 , Jan 9, 2008
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      Do any of you have experience or thoughts on the use of web based
      prototyping tools (Simunication, iRise, other) to create hi-fi
      prototypes as input to product backlog items, product owner,
      development team?

      If your team has macs I would recommend Omnigraffle professional. We have a set of standard interface elements that we have created into a stencil, and creating quick mock-ups or customer demos now is simply a matter of drag and drop. If you want you can also specify on-click events to create a simple click-through prototypes. It is also very easy to put together flow diagrams and wireframes with the omnigraffle editing tools. I can't imagine making a design without Omnigraffle anymore. The best things about it are: extremely easy and enjoyable to use,  you can create reusable stencils and download stencils other people have made online, and you can specify masters to serve as backgrounds to other screens.

      That said, I don't use omnigraffle for complex prototyping of interaction designs. For that I use paper prototypes, and the most hi-fi we get is pasting photoshop print-outs on cardboard. 

      Before I settled on Omnigraffle I also played around with Axure (only for Windows). Axure has many of the same features, but no stencils, and a more features specifically supporting the creation and documentation of working prototypes. After several times sitting down with the program, however, I didn't manage to create a usable prototype, and so my first impression after the few times I used it was that it was fiddly with too high a learning curve to be helpful.

      Like the other people on this list, I don't really subscribe to creating hi-fi prototypes. The only time we make them in our company is when we need to create a demos for sales to show to potential customers. When designing, I find that if I try to make a working prototype I often end up spending more time fiddling with the prototype than actually designing. On the other hand, I have a colleague who is an absolute whizz in flash, and she can create and tweak prototypes in a much shorter time than I can. We work well together: I make the wireframes and holistic paper prototypes, and she does the hi-fi mock-ups of specific parts of the design that we need to see moving/working.

      cheers, liz






      On Jan 9, 2008 4:09 AM, Bob Sarni <agilepm@...> wrote:

      Do any of you have experience or thoughts on the use of web based
      prototyping tools (Simunication, iRise, other) to create hi-fi
      prototypes as input to product backlog items, product owner,
      development team?

      Good thing? Bad thing? Will the tool constrain the team too much and
      limit their creativity?

      I have not used these tools before but have certainly used post
      it/whiteboard type prototypes in the process.

      Thanks for your input


    • Brian Weiss
      First off, I d just like to say I love reading all the opinions out there as I m on an island here... So have we reached violent agreement yet? :D Considering
      Message 43 of 43 , Jan 17, 2008
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        First off, I'd just like to say I love reading all the opinions out there as I'm on an island here...
         
        So have we reached violent agreement yet? :D
        Considering there are myriad ways to present wireframes and flows...whatever works for you, well, works for you. So far, at this place I'm at, user studies done with Flex/Flash based prototypes that look close to a branded/finished product have worked very well. The feedback has been excellent and it seems quicker to me to get the users focused and into the scenarios. That said, and again for me, the paper wireframes have been better at getting business requirements on the table with Stakeholders and other internal partners as they get hung up on the interface of the prototypes too much. The nice thing about alternatives is you can try them all...
         
        We all did get a good laugh out of the Flex "paper" skin Frédéric Monjo mentioned: http://fleksray.org/skins/edding/Edding.html and actually might try it out.
        And if a Stakeholder asks "Is this what we're getting?" I've decided to say "Yes. Yes it is."
         
        -Brian

        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Fred Beecher <fbeecher@...>
        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 3:39:08 PM
        Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: Prototyping Tools


        On 1/15/08, thomas lissajoux <thomas@systemesagil es.com> wrote:

        I think we're getting back to what Brian Weiss mentioned at
        the beginning of this thread : having hi-fi prototypes too often
        leads to stakeholders pointing to differences and details in
        production work.

        So this leads me to some other question ?
        What does prevent user experience testing to be conducted with
        paper prototypes (+ trend boards + visual identity sketches) ?

        My own opinion : not much.

        If you're doing a highly interactive site with a lot of rich interactions, you're missing a whole lot. If you're just doing a standard Web page where you click from page to page, then you wouldn't be missing much.

        Interactive (notice how I didn't say "high fidelity"... I'll get to that in a bit) prototypes yield much more accurate information in user testing of Web sites that rely on rich interactions. Why? Well, it's all about context. Paper is NOT the context rich interactions are meant for, and people will correspondingly be confused. For simple Web sites, it's close enough. If you really want to know whether a rich interaction is usable or not, it needs to be in an interactive format if you want to get reliable, actionable data from user testing.

        Responding to your musings about hi-fi prototypes.. . I think that fidelity is only *one* aspect of a prototype. *Interactivity* is the other. You can have a lo-fi interactive prototype, which is typically what Axure produces... essentially interactive wireframes. You can also have hi-fi prototypes that are low on interaction, such as printed JPGs. In my experience, I've found that stakeholders respond to lo-fi interactive prototypes pretty much as they do wireframes. I have been in some situations, however, where the interactivity was communicated much more effectively than in wireframes, which led to constructive feedback from stakeholders *pre* development.  

        - Fred



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