User Interface Design :: Projects :: UI Project Paper Prototype
You are going to create and test a paper prototype for your chosen project design.
Before testing your prototype, you should:
Take time to brainstorm a variety of different interface designs, sketching them by hand on paper or a whiteboard. You should play with many more than three designs, but you are only required to record three.
- Build your prototype
- Prepare a briefing for test users
- Write your scenario on separate index cards
- Practice running your paper prototype
- Select users
Draw the static background, menus, dialog boxes, and other windows. Decide how to implement the dynamic parts of your interface. Hand-sketching is encouraged! You don't have to prepare every possible screen in advance; it may be much easier to write responses on the fly.
This should be at most a page of information about the purpose of your application and any background information about the domain that may be needed by your test users (who may be classmates) to understand it. These are your notes for the briefing, so make them short, simple and clear, not dense wordy paragraphs. This is not a manual or quick-reference card. It should not describe how to use the interface.
Your scenario should have involved at least three tasks. You should write these tasks down to give to your users. Just write the concrete goal(s) of the task (e.g. "buy milk, tomatoes, and bread"). Don't write the specific steps to follow, since that's for your users to figure out. The tasks should be brief, roughly 5 minutes to run.
Practice playing the computer, learning the steps involved in making the prototype functional, such as rearranging pieces and writing responses. It isn't important to be fast, just competent and confident. A few trials are enough. Make sure your prototype can handle the tasks involved in your scenario.
Select users that are representative of your user base. If a teacher will be using your program you probably want to test them. You should run your test twice with different users each time if you want to make sure they are not familiar with the interface. Each test should involve at least three users.
Running the Tests
When you run your prototype on a user, you should do the following things:
- Brief the user
- Present one task
- Watch the user do the task
- Repeat with the other tasks
Use the briefing you wrote up to describe orally the purpose of the application and background information about the domain. Don't waste too much time on this: 1 minute should be enough.
Hand the index card to the user and let them read it. Make sure they understand the task.
Take notes from your observations.
Run as many tasks on the user as you have time for.
Bring extra materials on Testing Day. Having extra blank Post-it notes, correction tape, and index cards on hand will help you improvise if a user does something unexpected, or help you make small fixes to your prototype between users.
What to Turn In
Update the web page you created for your project by adding a section called "Paper Prototype." Create the following subsections:
- Prototype photos
- Scenario tasks
- Prototype iteration
Digital photos of the pieces of your prototype. Show the prototype in interesting states; don't just show a blank window. Although you will iterate your paper prototype during this assignment, the photos only need to show one iteration.
The briefing you gave to users.
Pertinent information about your users in each test. Do not reveal user names unless they are a teacher!
The tasks you gave to users, as you wrote them on the cards.
Usability problems you discovered from the testing. Describe what users did, but don't record users' names.
You did two rounds of paper prototyping. Describe how your prototype changed between those two rounds.