The previous week, part One of this post was dealing with some of the core ideas of why classic paper prototyping is no longer sufficient. This week, I will talk about why versioning of prototypes and the ability to acces, export and present the results are a necessity.
The Need for Digital Prototyping:
That big round table to which everyone gathers around can never be big enough! The bigger the table becomes, the more sketches and papers are on the whiteboard, the bigger the chance of losing out on some detail. A reasonable alternative would be making use of digital prototyping and to have that table digitized (including the papers, sketches and the words being said). Why keep working with the whiteboard, stacks of paper which have to be carried around the office? Digitizing the work and all what comes with it would make the chaotic meetings a thing of the past. Using a digital solution is a way which allows collaborative work-flow to be fully recorded, ammended, shared and viewed at at given time.
Team Work Challenge:
One of the requirements for successful team work is to administrate various versions of the same prototype. Versioning of prototypes has two meanings within this context:
(1) the different stages in development process which can be accessed at any time
(2) different versions of the same prototype
Once several people work on the same prototype the need for digital versioning quickly becomes apparent. While one is already working on the CSS, the other is still in the process of developing the menu bar; now can you see what may go wrong? Using a tool which gathers all the different process and work-flows of the various co-designers will help to unite the project into one single application and help the collaborative flow. Real-time collaboration will ensure that misunderstandings and miss-communication are reduced to a minimum. A team which works from different locations and on different elements within the same project are in dear need of such a tool!
Presenting the Results:
Once a prototype is finished, the real work starts. The prototype will be used for extensive usability tests, will be used for presentations and is part of the developers specification. All the various players need access to the prototype which again needs to be in various formats. Since it is pivotal to have a prototype ready for presentation, viewing and export, it should be digitized and ready-accessible on the Web. Well, not accessible to all, just to the one’s involved in the process of course!
Usability tests need to be run and an interactive and/or clickable prototype must be easily accessible to the test users. Furthermore, if qualitative feedback is what is needed, a moderator also would need to access the prototype without a problem. In addition, the developers and the rest of the design team must be able to quickly ‘click through’ and be able to make some minor changes if needed. This is why a prototype needs to be open to all the people involved, needs to be updated in real-time and be exportable to any format and at any time!
Part THREE will talk about the benefits of digital iteration cycles and talk about the positive impact digital prototyping can have on our environment. Hope to see you there!