A prototype is a visual outline of the interface and an efficient way of experimenting with ideas. It is built to be tested with users in order to get better ideas. A rapidly built prototype helps designers to fail faster and to succeed quicker.
The three mantras of rapid prototyping:
- Think user! Put yourself into the shoes of the user and consider needs, expectations, and constraints.
- Start broad – go narrow! Don’t get lost in details.
- Be pragmatic! Don’t get emotional with your ideas. There is always more than one solution to a problem.
What to consider when doing a prototype:
1. Page lay-out – How can I organise content on the page effectively and appropriately?
- The layout-grid for this page
- Meaningful sections and different levels of headlines
- Other content items: Images, Featured items, Comments, Ratings …
2. Signposts and Navigation – How can I facilitate site- and page-navigation that is consistent, easy to understand and helps users finding stuff.
- Menus and subsidiary menus
- Contextual links (from within the recipe)
- Buttons where necessary
- (Meaningful labels for the menus, if not produced in the card-sort workshop)
2. Functionality – What do I need to offer in order to give the user maximum value for visiting the page.
- Comments and ratings
- Sharing content with others
- Printing a recipe
- Finding similar items
- Anything else?