Mark van Harmelen – working with users and with drawings, paper and other rapid prototyping media

November 30, 2009 at 11:18 am | Posted in Middlemash | Leave a comment

Mark talking about the problems of designing systems – using paper is a suitable media for solving user-centric problems. Meaningful contact with users earlier in the process before you start to code, helps to bridge world between developers and users.

Sketches  -‘rich pictures situate the design’  for example the layout of a library search system.Can use them to show page/screen transitions. Can use whiteboard and camera – using Balsamiq protoyping tool http://www.balsamiq.com/ or The Bridge design process (for an example of this see  http://www.participatorydesign.com/BridgeIntro.pdf).

Brainstorming: can generate and broaden design ideas; helps with task analysis to break the task down into its components,sub-tasks and also to identify problems. Can use paper flowcharts to test and re-evaluate ideas with users.  Can extract objects from taskflow that have attributes and data attached to them.

Build paper prototype to show what the objects are like on the screen.eg dialogue boxes,and  identify particular tasks.Example of using students to test prototype of interface- along with a faclilitator – in a workshop scenario. By the endof the workshop, stick the ideas to the wall.

Machine prototypes also useful though : can pick up on problems due to number of clicks. Use Photoshop,Illustrator,as welll as open source tools like Inkscape and Gimp to manipulate images.

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