Interaction design is more than just an armchair: the design of a screen paper prototype

Source: Internet
Author: User

As a user experience research person, should not be unfamiliar with the prototype, whether it is to design physical devices, Web sites or applications, we will use the prototype. In the Internet field, designers often use the code of flash,html and so on to make prototypes, which makes the prototype more realistic and collects valuable feedback.

However, prototypes like this do not apply to the beginning of the product design cycle, because the design of such a high-fidelity prototype may slow down the entire product design process, sometimes requiring programmer assistance, and any modifications to the prototype are cumbersome. In other words, such a high-fidelity model is not flexible enough.

Minimum-Fidelity prototype

So, is there any way to make the prototype more flexible and easier to modify? Of course, it's OK to reduce the fidelity of the prototype. The most common low fidelity prototype is the paper prototype, the interface rough drawing on the paper, and then simulate the use of the scene for usability testing. Paper prototypes are cheaper, faster, and can be used in the early stages of design, making the iterations of the design more efficient.

But unlike the high-fidelity model, paper prototypes cannot be run in real devices. For example, a Web site's paper model can only be presented on a few pieces of paper, but the html/css made with the High-fidelity prototype can be real in the browser to experience.

Paper prototypes lack of real-life environments This problem is especially prominent when designing the user experience of mobile devices, mobile applications are based on mobile devices, and mobile devices are used in a variety of ways and modes of interaction. Just giving the user a few sheets of paper to test does not allow them to truly experience your design, and many aspects of the user experience do not get good test feedback.

If we can allow the minimum-fidelity prototype to provide a complete experience, we can get more valuable feedback data. What we need to do is move the paper prototype into the phone screen-the screen paper model.

What is a screen paper prototype?

The screen of the paper prototype is very simple to understand, that is, the paper model moved to the phone screen, that is, using a mobile phone to display the paper prototype. The advantage of doing so is to bring a more complete product experience to the person under test.

This hybrid prototype has some characteristics of the paper prototype, easy to make, easy to modify, that is, disposable. And they all look very sketchy, unfinished, which makes the respondents more likely to provide their own real ideas and feedback, and if it is a high-fidelity prototype, the participants will probably retain some of their own criticism.

Similarly, screen paper prototypes can be used throughout the design process and maintain the efficiency of design iterations.

How to make a screen paper prototype

Here are the basic steps for making a screen paper prototype for an iphone application to decompose:

1. Draw, draw the general paper prototype diagram.

2. Take a picture, photograph the prototype or scan it into the computer.

3. Edit the prototype diagram to fit the screen size of the device under test.

4. Organize to classify the prototype map according to different usage scenarios, each containing a specific usage scenario.

5. Upload, the organized prototype map uploaded to the tested equipment.

6. Testing, testing the prototype in the actual operating environment of the product.

Test with a screen paper prototype

Because the screen paper prototype still lacks interactivity, it is important to define a linear scenario before testing. Participants are required to perform experiential tests based on scene settings.

Although screen paper prototypes are not as vivid and authentic as high-fidelity prototypes, they are at least as distinct from the high-fidelity model as they are in a running environment. How to use the actual equipment, control methods, use preferences, can be displayed through the screen paper prototype.

Of, acting, or reflecting on the nature of

The value of prototype testing is not only to evaluate the UI elements and interactive performance of the product, but also the behavioral and affective factors are valuable feedback data. Although the paper prototype allows the participants to experience the appearance of the application, however, the emotional impact of the product can not be given, which is the instinctive level of design cognition, one of the three design cognitive levels (and two levels of the behavioral layer, and reflective layer), in Don Norman's "Affective Design" It is elaborated in detail. Without considering the instinctive level of design cognition, it is not possible to accurately predict the actual user experience, because if there is no actual operating environment, then the effect of the prototype, the emotional response will be compromised.

Screen paper prototypes also involve the Noman behavior layer, which is one of the most concerned levels of user experience designers, because it directly determines the interactivity and usability of the product. For example, when using a screen paper prototype, designers can observe how the participants use their fingers, how to hold the device, those places are neglected, those places are superfluous, and so on.


Although screen paper prototypes are more complex than traditional paper prototypes, they provide more realistic and valuable feedback data than traditional paper models can provide. Therefore, as a prototype tool, the screen paper prototype is located between the traditional paper prototype and the High-fidelity prototype.

Similarly, the screen paper prototype has its drawbacks, it requires the participants always strictly follow the design of the scene to complete the test, if you can add some interactive links and buttons on the screen paper prototype, then its usefulness can be enhanced.

This prototype technology fills the gap between high and low fidelity prototypes, which is flexible and accurate. But remember, the prototype is not the product itself, the ultimate goal of using a prototype is to get feedback data efficiently, so don't expend too much effort to make it too real and subtle.

Author: Wang Rui

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