March 22-25, 2006
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Workshops: Description

Cutting edge prototyping: paper based user trials

Stephen Brown, De Montfort University, United Kingdom
David Gerrard, De Montfort University, United Kingdom

'Cutting edge prototyping: paper based user trials' builds on the success of the mini workshop of the same name at Museums and the Web 2005. This half day hands-on workshop provides practical guidance on how to resolve web design issues using paper prototypes. Delegates will be introduced to the methodology and shown how it has been used to aid the design of a transport heritage site ( Using the same materials as used in the actual user trials, delegates will have the opportunity to experience and comment upon using paper prototypes to evaluate design concepts.

The workshop will assist delegates to answer the following key questions:

  1. Why build a prototype? What kind of insight into the finished design are we trying to achieve? What kind of issues about the design can prototyping uncover? How does paper prototyping reduce risk to the design and project as a whole? How does prototyping fit into an overall project methodology? When have we done enough prototyping?
  2. What do you need to build a paper prototype? What are we actually testing? The information you need to put in your paper prototype, and strategies for gathering it. What equipment is needed? In general, how "scientific" are such tests? Do they need to be conducted in a "scientific" manner? How should we recruit and work with testers?. Do they need to be from the core user base in order to provide valuable insight? Also, strategies for making them comfortable and getting them talking. Who should run the test? And what are their roles in testing?
  3. How long should it take to build a prototype? Which areas of the design should the prototype focus on? What is the prototype actually testing? Does it have to look professional? Do you need to be an artist to produce good prototypes?
  4. How should tests be run? How many tests should be conducted? How many cycles of testing should be undertaken? What type of questions do you need to ask? What subjects should you avoid? How long should the test last? Can the test be adapted to focus on new issues or "skirt over" issues that have already been noted?
  5. What do the results mean? What to look for during and after a test and how to interpret the results

Learning objectives

By the end of the workshop delegates will be able to:

Workshop: Brown + Gerrard [Afternoon]

Keywords: rapid prototyping, design, intelligibility, accessibility, navigatability, testing, evaluation