Thursday, June 23, 2011

Paper Prototyping

I've been pretty far down in the trenches the last couple months, hence my lack of posting. It's good to be busy, and working on what I love the most, visual designs.

A fun thing happened while on the client site last week, and I thought I'd quickly post about it.

I was there to present my visual designs and get feedback before the requirements doc was finalized. I had suggested to the client previously, with the recommendation of my company's UX Director, that I try some paper prototyping with some real users. They liked the idea, but didn't really speak of it much since. So there I was, on the client site, working away at some suggested changes made by the BAs in our morning session, and here comes a BA with a user. "Do you want to try some paper prototyping?" I was a little stunned, but luckily had my visuals previously printed (all be it in black and white). I took the user into a meeting room. Now this isn't something I had ever done before, I read a couple articles, looked at some examples online, but that was the extent of my knowledge. What the heck, right? No better way to learn. Jump in the deep end.

By the end I had some great feedback and a bunch of marked up papers all over the place in no logical order. You know what? It was fun. It was great to have a one-on-one session with a user. There was no one else there to basis him, or explain how something should work, or guide him into the right place. It was just me, my mock ups, and the user. That's real research.

I got to do it once more while there, and it looks like I will be making a trip back specifically for the purpose of paper prototyping.

So I've now convinced my client to let me do contextual research and paper prototyping. Hooray for advocating the value of user experience research!