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Kill your darlings: Solving design by throwing away prototypes

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We know that many approaches help us create products for people. Whether you’re working on an enterprise-wide site redesign or improving a departmental intranet or creating a new app for your startup, identifying purpose, effort, & consistency require clear communication.

Wireframing has held sway over UXers for the past 20 years. From its metaphoric origins in filmmaking to its pinnacle in countless UX books, wireframing stood as a key approach in defining both structure & interaction. In recent years, however, wireframing has come under attack. UX thinkers propose replacing wireframes with sketches and prototypes; yet we need to understand that bridge between idea and specification.

Within this session, we’ll look at where wireframes originated, how we can use sketching to understand direction, and where prototyping helps communicate structure, purpose, and approach more effectively. Yet while some people want to evolve their product through prototyping, they miss a valuable opportunity: Solving design problems through prototypes. We’ll look at both, but I’ll make the argument that throwaway is often a better design tool.

What You’ll Learn:

The benefits of prototyping, both throwaway and evolutionary
Why throw away prototypes?
A case study showing a redesign process as an archetypal and practical approach

Published in: Design
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Kill your darlings: Solving design by throwing away prototypes

  1. 1. Kill Your Darlings Solving Design by Throwing Away Prototypes March 24, 2015 Joe Sokohl @RegJoeConsults @MojoGuzzi
  2. 2. What We’ll Talk About §A brief history of wireframing §The benefits of prototyping §Why throw away your work? §A case study showing a redesign process as an archetypal and practical approach !2@RegJoeConsults
  3. 3. !3@RegJoeConsults
  4. 4. !3@RegJoeConsults http://deneroff.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Futureworld-02.jpg
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  7. 7. !4@RegJoeConsults http://www.fastaanytimelock.com/Frank-Lloyd-Wright-Falling-Water-Site-Blueprint-by-BlueprintPlace.html
  8. 8. !4@RegJoeConsults
  9. 9. !5@RegJoeConsults http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prograph
  10. 10. !6@RegJoeConsults http://www.levenez.com/NeXTSTEP/InterfaceBuilder.jpg
  11. 11. !7@RegJoeConsults
  12. 12. !8@RegJoeConsults
  13. 13. !9@RegJoeConsults …version 28!
  14. 14. !10 Prototypes Cats and dogs living together
  15. 15. What is a prototype, anyway? !11@RegJoeConsults Representa)ve   model  or  simula)on   of  the  final  system Todd  Zaki  Warfel,
 Prototyping:  A  Prac//oner’s  Guide
  16. 16. Why Should We Prototype? !12@RegJoeConsults Reduced  risk   Smaller  systems   Less  complex  systems   Reduc)on  in  creeping   requirements   Improved  visibility
  17. 17. Why Should We Prototype? !13@RegJoeConsults Genera)ve   Show,  tell  &  experience   Reduc)on  of  misinterpreta)on   Savings  in  )me/effort/money   Reduc)on  of  waste   Real-­‐world  value
  18. 18. !14@RegJoeConsults
  19. 19. !14@RegJoeConsults …taken to design meetings where they are used to provide a physical reference for discussion and analysis.
  20. 20. !15@RegJoeConsults
  21. 21. !15@RegJoeConsults
  22. 22. !16 Throwaway versus Evolutionary Which do we use?
  23. 23. 17@RegJoeConsultshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/3978302604/ Cycle of Design
  24. 24. 17@RegJoeConsultshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/3978302604/ As I see it, knowing how to prototype, test, and evaluate results quickly is the most valuable skill for designers of persuasive technology. BJ  Fogg,  “Crea)ng  Persuasive  Technologies:  An  Eight-­‐Step  Design  Process” Cycle of Design
  25. 25. The Perils of Prototyping Which is harder to change: a program with 1000 lines of code or a 1000 square foot slab of concrete? § The concrete is ten inches thick and has steel reinforcing rods criss-crossing within it. Every cubic foot of it weighs almost 100 pounds. § The software has almost no physical existence at all. It weighs nothing. It consumes no space. A few microamps and those bits flip from zero to one without a second glance. !18@RegJoeConsults http://www.cooper.com/journal/2008/05/the_perils_of_prototyping
  26. 26. The Perils of Prototyping Which is harder to change: a program with 1000 lines of code or a 1000 square foot slab of concrete? § The concrete is ten inches thick and has steel reinforcing rods criss-crossing within it. Every cubic foot of it weighs almost 100 pounds. § The software has almost no physical existence at all. It weighs nothing. It consumes no space. A few microamps and those bits flip from zero to one without a second glance. !18@RegJoeConsults http://www.cooper.com/journal/2008/05/the_perils_of_prototyping The answer to my question seems a simple one, doesn’t it?
  27. 27. !19@RegJoeConsults This is the first one. This is it exactly. This is my hand-wired prototype, not a real Apple I or Apple ][ PC board. There are 4 white 2KB EPROMs on the upper board - that's how I developed BASIC and all the other routines of the Apple I. This is an Apple ] [ prototype. I can tell by how few chips it is. The Apple I had a computer board attached to my video terminal board, in the prototype stage." __Steve Wozniak hTp://www.geekculture.com/joyoWech/joystuff/apple1cake/firstapple.jpg
  28. 28. Use evolutionary prototypes (EVPs) when… § User requirements are (almost) defined. § Few interaction and visual design problems exist, and information architecture is defined. § UX team is highly experienced. § UXers also create the deployable front-end code. § Usability testing is summative, not formative. § Project requires little documentation. !20
  29. 29. Use throwaway prototypes (TAPs) when… § User requirements are ill-defined. § Major interaction or visual design (or both) issues remain, and the IA is not well defined. § You have less experienced UXers. § UX does not do development. § Usability testing is formative and occurs multiple times throughout the project. § Project requires detailed documentation. !21
  30. 30. 22@RegJoeConsultshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/3978302604/ Sketching vs. Prototyping Bill Buxton, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design
  31. 31. !23@RegJoeConsults TAP TAP/EVP EVPTAP Paper Axure Macaw/Webflow Fireworks/Sketch/ Photoshop/ Illustrator/ InDesign…. HTML/JS/CSS Balsamiq/
 iPlotz/iMockup... + Firm Reqs– Vague Reqs + Design Details – Design Details
  32. 32. !24 Melding sketches, quick wireframes, and prototyping Case Study
  33. 33. The Project: Redesign site into a modern, user-centered experience !25@RegJoeConsults From this… To this…
  34. 34. We Did… § Heuristic analysis § Data analysis § Market research analysis § Personas § Mood boards & visual design § User journeys/scenarios !26@RegJoeConsults
  35. 35. Mobile First
  36. 36. Mobile 2
  37. 37. Digital Exploration !29 Carrier 12:00 PM Page Title http://www.domain.com Google Up to 150% of amount purchased Up to 150% of amount purchased Up to 150% of amount purchased Trip interruption protection Trip interruption protection Trip interruption protection Trip interruption protection Trip interruption protection 1 2 3 1 Classic w/Trip + 2 Classic 3 Basic $356 $326 $256 Benefits Coverages
  38. 38. !30 Desktop sketch
  39. 39. .. !31
  40. 40. More Realized Sketches -- Version 1 !32
  41. 41. More Realized Sketches -- Version 2 !33
  42. 42. Prototyping in Axure (but it could be anything) !34@RegJoeConsults
  43. 43. !35 Many thanks! Joe Sokohl joe@RegularJoeConsulting.com @RegJoeConsults

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