Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Paper Modeling

I love the utter simplicity of paper prototyping for user interface design. I've seen wire frames scrawled on white board, done in PowerPoint or Visio and using sophisticated modeling tools but never in paper cut-outs. Given the inherent fluidity of business requirements and short time to market whatever your tool, it should lend itself to change relatively effortlessly and with input from several sources. Paper sounds perfect for this.

I also like it that : you can also use paper prototypes to run a technology-free design meeting: turn off your laptops, stop checking your e-mail, and focus on the task at hand. Getting all hands on board for the duration of a design session is incredibly hard with so many e-distractions. You end up burning the hours and producing documentation that does not represent the team's best output.

Working with real things like paper, scissors, pen and glue stick is likely to increase involvement with the task at hand and also aid problem solving - kindergarten teachers swear by tactile and visual learning tools. Going back to basics could not hurt.

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