On Friday I attended BostonCHI’s seminar Tools of the Trade: User Experience Research and Design Skills. Since all courses were day-long, I had to choose only one. My choice was Prototyping Tips and Tools for Effective UX Design.
Here is an embedding of the instructor’s Prezi used during the course. It’s pretty good, except for the right-brain/left-brain crap, which is a myth.
A few things I learned:
- (meta) Prezi seems to be an extremely useful tool for presentations and/or videos
- CaseComplete appears to be a very useful tool for managing use cases and requirements and traceability between everything, even to test plans.
- FlairBuilder is a pretty good tool for prototyping. You can also use it for wireframing. Unfortunately, it still has some major bugs (it crashed several times for everybody in the class). The file format use XML; it’s simple enough to read it manually and I messed around with a bit and reloaded that modified file (the program didn’t choke with my hacked files, even when I purposely did weird things). Anyway, I like the fact that somebody else could easily write a program or script to reuse one’s Flair files, for instance creating visualizations of how all the elements are connected or activity diagrams.
- FlairBuilder card stacks are very useful. For some, it’s a new concept; for me, I had fond memories of card stack apps I’ve used in the distant past such as HyperStudio and one I made myself in high school with QuickBasic.
- Prototyping tools like FlairBuilder and Axure are worth using if you need to demonstrate a GUI with lots of transitions, etc. that would take a long time to actually code.
Prototyping may be more associated with web design but I have found it to be useful for other kinds of GUIs. Indeed, I am not a web designer at all. But I have no problem stealing good ideas from web design. In my experience, a working demo is better, but if you can’t do that in time (or if it would be a waste of effort) then prototype or at least make static mockups.Tags: GUI, interfaces, IxD, prototyping, ux