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From Ideas to Paper Prototypes:
Hands-on Approaches for Early Stage Projects
Valeria Gasik, Darja Tokranova
To find a doctor
To avoid a smoke
Too have a laugh
User task Paper prototype
Most people are happy to
dedicate time to help you
out with your project,
even if it’s just on paper!
Although it’s just on paper,
plan and be prepared!
Tasks to test
Any type of doable tasks with clear goals
but without specific clues of the solution.
“Change your password”
“Find the nearest shop”
“Go to menu and edit
settings of your profile”
“Rearrange search results
based on the location”
“What do you think you can do
with this application?”
returns an error
“What do you think went wrong?”
A feature “Do you like it?”
“Er... sure, I like it” “Yeah, I know, it’s awesome.”
•Write a simple script for yourself, if you have a
lot of testing to do. Number/name questions
and tasks to help documentation.
•Write down tasks on a separate paper so you
can show them to your test participants
• Specify, for yourself, end-results for the task.
Think about what “task not completed”could
CFoenwd uecxtianmg tphlee ste..s.t
Team of 2 or 3
Silent Wizard of Oz
reacts to user’s actions
Observer takes notes
+ Facilitator instructs the user
and helps the “computer”
• Start with an icebreaker – it’s not that serious anyway!
• Ask background questions, such as “Do you travel often?”
• Introduce team and roles
• Tell about the test details, such as
“Use your hand as this would be your tablet”
• Ask user to think aloud and not to stress
Start with the task and proceed until completion/problem
• Continue with the rest of the tasks
• Finalize with closing questions
• Are participants doing what was expected?
• Did anything cause frustration or confuse?
• Anything new or surprising?
• Any paths that you haven’t thought of before?
• Was there a clearly preferred solution or path?
• Are some paths unused or “misused”?
Reflection and Design Changes
Bottlenecks in the process?
What paths were ignored or barely used?
What was clearly missing? etc.
Tip: Update the design before the next test.
Did the assumption worked?
Test your paper prototype with 1-2
colleagues from another groups.
• Cooper, A., Reinmann, R., Cronin, D. (2007). About Face 3: The Essentials of
Interaction Design. England: Wiley
• Snyder, Carolin. 2003. “Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design
and Refine User Interfaces”
• Henry, Shawn Lawton. Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design.