Paper Prototype and Evaluations
The paper prototype is to the sitemap as what the storyboard was to the scenario — it allowed us to have a richer visualization of various principes we had. Another advantage would be to see if things that worked well in theory would also work well in reality. We chose to use “Prototyping on Paper,” an app that uses photos of paper pages in order to mimic a real phone app — while this came with the disadvantage of the prototyping being higher fidelity than most paper prototypes (and by extension would have less drastic user feedback), we felt that this tradeoff was worth it in order to have the user experience a similar feel to a final product. While a low fidelity prototype appears to be strictly worse than a higher fidelity one, there are advantages. Obviously paper prototype are cheaper and take less time than higher fidelity mockups, the most important principle is that
Our users will be less afraid of giving criticism on large-scale design mechanisms than they would in a higher fidelity product.
In our 5-step evaluation process, we would give each iteration of the paper prototype to several users in order to gauge how they felt about the product. Generally we had a couple of tasks that we wanted to tester to perform, but also let the user to play around with the app on their own and make observations. We encouraged the participants to talk out loud to gather insights into their behavior during the evaluations. In one iteration we even discarded the tasks and simply told the user to do whatever they felt was correct with the app as the tasks had become too easy at a certain point. Throughout each interaction we improved on various functions, including but not limited to
- Redrawing symbols and icons to be more descriptive
- Having nicer visual communication (or better drawn art)
- Repathing the app for it to better fit the needs of the user
After the 5-step process and ~20 participants, we have a much more refined app that was ready for wireframes.