Effective Prototyping for Software Makers


  • Jonathan Arnowitz, Google, Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA
  • Michael Arent, SAP Labs, Palo Alto, CA, USA
  • Nevin Berger, Ziff Davis Media, San Francisco, CA, USA

Much as we hate to admit it, most prototyping practice lacks a sophisticated understanding of the broad concepts of prototyping—and its strategic position within the development process. Often we overwhelm with a high fidelity prototype that designs us into a corner. Or, we can underwhelm with a prototype with too much ambiguity and flexibility to be of much use in the software development process. This book will help software makers—developers, designers, and architects—build effective prototypes every time: prototypes that convey enough information about the product at the appropriate time and thus set expectations appropriately. This practical, informative book will help anyone—whether or not one has artistic talent, access to special tools, or programming ability—to use good prototyping style, methods, and tools to build prototypes and manage for effective prototyping. Features* A prototyping process with guidelines, templates, and worksheets;* Overviews and step-by-step guides for 9 common prototyping techniques;* An introduction with step-by-step guidelines to a variety of prototyping tools that do not require advanced artistic skills;* Templates and other resources used in the book available on the Web for reuse;* Clearly-explained concepts and guidelines;* Full-color illustrations, and examples from a wide variety of prototyping processes, methods, and tools. Jonathan Arnowitz is a principal user experience designer at SAP Labs and is the co-editor-in-chief of Interactions Magazine. Most recently Jonathan was a senior user experience designer at Peoplesoft. He is a member of the SIGCHI executive committee, and was a founder of DUX, the first ever joint conference of ACM SIGCHI, ACM SIGGRAPH, AIGA Experience Design Group, and STC. Michael Arent is the manager of user experience design at SAP Labs, and has previously held positions at Peoplesoft, Inc, Adobe Systems, Inc, Sun Microsystems, and Apple Computer, Inc. He holds several U.S. patents. Nevin Berger is design director at Ziff Davis Media. Previously he was a senior interaction designer at Oracle Corporation and Peoplesoft, Inc., and has held creative director positions at ZDNet, World Savings, and OFOTO, Inc.
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Usability professionals and interaction designers; software developers, web application designers, web designers, information architects, information and industrial designers.


Book information

  • Published: December 2006
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-088568-8


There are many steps in the development of successful software projects, but one major key is prototyping: rapid, effective methods for testing and refining designs. Effective prototyping can be remarkably simple, yet provide powerful results without delaying the project. Indeed, effective prototyping is often the key to faster development. Up to now, there has been no single source for how it is done. But here, in this comprehensive book, Jonathan Arnowitz, Michael Arent, and Nevin Berger explain all in this essential guide to software prototyping. Everything you ever wanted to know, but had no idea who to ask. --Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group & Northwestern University, Author of Emotional Design Artists sketch before they paint; writers produce outlines and drafts; architects make drawings and models; aircraft designers take models to their windtunnels-all these activities are forms of prototyping. Designing and building effective software requires deep understanding, and this requires effective prototyping, but most software designers and developers don't seem to know the full range of available tools, techniques, and processes. Effective Prototyping is written by steadfast and reliable guides who cover prototyping techniques in remarkable depth. This book is a thorough guide to prototyping for both newcomers and the experienced. It will take you step by step as well as explain the purpose of each step. This is the essential handbook of prototyping. --Richard P. Gabriel, author of Innovation Happens Elsewhere This is an ideal text for professional software engineers and designers who are new to prototyping as well as students in engineering, design, and human factors. The concepts and techniques presented in this volume should be considered part of the foundational knowledge for anyone in the software development field. I recommend this book to any software company that wants to improve their capability to build great products. --Jim Faris, The Management Innovation Group LLC

Table of Contents

0: Preface: Effective Prototyping, why this book?1: Why Prototyping2: The effective prototyping process3: Verify prototype assumptions and requirements4: Develop Task Flows and Scenarios5: Define prototype content and fidelity6: Determine Characteristics7: Choose a Method8: Choose a Prototyping Tool9: Establish the design criteria10: Create the Design11: Review the Design: the internal review12: Validate and iterate the prototype13: Deploy the design14: Card sorting15: Wireframe prototyping16: Storyboard prototyping17: Paper prototyping18: Digital interactive prototyping19: Blank model prototyping20: Video prototyping21: Wizard of Oz prototyping22: Coded prototyping23: Prototyping with office suite applications24: Prototyping with Visio25: Prototyping with Acrobat26: Prototyping with Photoshop