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Design, prototyping and construction By Anupa Mogili Arun Muralidharan Agenda Prototyping and Construction Conceptual Design Physical Design Prototyping and Construction What is a prototype? Why prototype? Different kinds of prototyping low fidelity high fidelity

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Design prototyping and construction l.jpg

Design, prototyping and construction


Anupa Mogili

Arun Muralidharan

Agenda l.jpg

  • Prototyping and Construction

  • Conceptual Design

  • Physical Design

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Prototyping and Construction

  • What is a prototype?

  • Why prototype?

  • Different kinds of prototyping

    • low fidelity

    • high fidelity

  • Compromises in prototyping

    • vertical (“deep”)

    • horizontal (“shallow”)

  • Construction

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What is a prototype?

For users to effectively evaluate the design of an interactive

product, designers must produce an interactive version of their

ideas, this activity is called prototyping.

  • In other design fields a prototype is a small-scale model:

    • a miniature car

    • a model of a building

  • In interaction design it can be

    • a series of screen sketches

    • a PowerPoint slide show

    • a video simulating the use of a system

    • a lump of wood, e.g. hand-held computer

    • a cardboard mock-up

    • a piece of software with limited functionality

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Why prototype?

  • Evaluation and feedback:

    allows stakeholders to interact with an envisioned product, to gain some experience of using it in realistic settings and to explore imagined uses

  • Communication among team members:

    clarifies vague requirements

  • Validation of design ideas:

    test out the technical feasibility of an idea

  • Choosing between alternatives:

    provides multiple designs for the application

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What to prototype?

  • Technical issues

  • Work flow, task design

  • Screen layouts and information display

  • Difficult, controversial, critical areas

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Low-fidelity Prototyping

  • Does not look very much like the final product

  • Uses materials that are very different from the intended final version, such as paper and cardboard rather than electronic screens and metal, e.g. palm pilot

  • Used during early stages of development

  • Cheap and easy to modify so they support the exploration of alternative designs and ideas

  • It is never intended to be integrated into the final system. They are for exploration only.

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Examples of Low-fidelity prototyping

  • Storyboards

  • Sketching

  • Index cards

  • ‘Wizard of Oz’

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  • Originally from film, used to get the idea of a scene

  • Snapshots of the interface at particular points in the interaction

  • Series of sketches

    • shows how a user can perform a task using the device

  • Often used with scenarios

    • brings more detail to the written scenario

    • offers stakeholders a chance to role play with the prototype, by stepping through the scenario

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  • Drawing skills are not critical

    • symbols to indicate tasks, activities, objects

    • flowcharts for time-related issues

    • block diagrams for functional components

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Index cards

  • Small cards (3 X 5 inches)

  • Each card represents one screen

    • multiple screens can be shown easily on a table or the wall

  • Thread or lines can indicate relationships between screens like

    • sequence

    • hyperlinks

  • Often used in website development

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>Blurb blurb

>Do this


‘Wizard-of-Oz’ prototyping

  • Simulated interaction

    The user thinks they are interacting with a computer, but a developer is providing output rather than the system.

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High-fidelity prototyping

  • Choice of materials and methods

    • similar or identical to the ones in the final product

  • Looks more like the final system

    • appearance, not functionality

  • Common development environments

    • Macromedia Director, Visual Basic, Smalltalk,

    • Web development tools

  • Misled user expectations

    • users may think they have a full system

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Low-fidelity prototype


High-fidelity prototype

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Compromises in prototyping

  • All prototypes involve compromises

  • Compromises in low-fidelity prototypes:

    • device doesn't actually work

  • Compromises in high-fidelity prototypes:

    • slow response

    • sketchy icons

    • limited functionality available

  • Two common types of compromise

    • ‘horizontal’: provide a wide range of functions, but with little detail

    • ‘vertical’: provide a lot of detail for only a few functions

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  • Creation, manufacturing of the final system

    • based on experiences and feedback gathered from the prototypes

  • Development philosophy

    • evolutionary prototyping: involves evolving a prototype into the final product.

    • throw-away prototyping: used as a stepping stone towards final design. Prototype is thrown away and the final system is built from scratch.

  • Quality

    Although prototypes have undergone extensive user evaluation the

    final product still has to be subjected to rigorous quality testing

    for the following:

    • reliability, robustness, maintainability, integrity, portability, efficiency

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Design Objectives

  • Identify critical interaction aspects of the product (Conceptual Design)

  • Select the appropriate tools and methods to provide interactivity (Physical Design)

  • Realize that design of products usually involves several intermediate stages

  • Consider the importance of early feedback for interaction design (Prototypes and Scenarios)

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Definition: ‘Conceptual Design’

“A description of the proposed system in terms of a set of integrated ideas and concepts about what it should do, behave and look like, that will be understandable by the users in the manner intended.”

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Conceptual Design

  • Transformation of user requirements/needs into a conceptual model

  • Stepwise refinement

    • iterate, iterate and then iterate some more

  • Consideration of alternatives

    • prototyping & scenarios

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Three perspectives for a conceptual model

  • Interaction mode

  • Metaphor

  • Interaction paradigm

  • Running Example:

    • Shared Calendar – Used in a corporate environment for employees to maintain their schedule and organize meetings based on that

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Interaction Mode

  • How the user invokes actions

    • activities by the user and the system’s responses

  • Activity-based

    • instructing, conversing, manipulating and navigating, exploring and browsing

  • Object-based

    • structured around real-world objects

  • Process-oriented

    • support work processes (e.g. financial software)

  • Product-oriented

    • develop products that users create, modify and maintain (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Word)

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Three perspectives for a conceptual model

  • Interaction mode

  • Metaphor

  • Interaction paradigm

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  • Interface Metaphors

    • partial mapping of the software to a real object

    • combine familiar knowledge with new knowledge

    • help the user understand the product

  • Three-step process for choosing a good metaphor

    • understand system functionality,

    • identify potential problem or complicated/critical areas,

    • generate metaphors

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Evaluation of a metaphor

  • How much structure does it provide?

    • requires a sound and familiar structure

  • How relevant is it to the problem?

    • reduce confusion and false expectations

  • Is it easy to represent?

    • visual and audio elements combined with words

  • Will the audience understand it?

  • How extensible is it?

    • extra aspects that can be useful later on

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Three perspectives for a conceptual model

  • Interaction mode

  • Metaphor

  • Interaction paradigm

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Interaction Paradigm

  • Coherent collection of interaction methods

  • Addresses environmental requirements

  • Desktop paradigm

    • WIMP interface (windows, icons, menus and pointers)

  • Ubiquitous computing

  • Pervasive computing

  • Wearable computing

  • Mobile devices

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Three perspectives for a conceptual model

  • Interaction mode

  • Metaphor

  • Interaction paradigm

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Expanding the conceptual model

  • Functionality

    • task allocation

      • What will the product do and what will the human do?

  • Relationship of subtasks

    • categorizations

      • all actions related to one particular aspect

    • temporal associations (sequential or parallel)

      • e.g. CASE tools

  • Information

    • data required to perform the task

    • transformation of data by the system

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Scenarios in Conceptual Design

  • Express proposed or imagined situations

  • Used throughout the design process in various ways

    • scripts for user evaluation of prototypes

    • concrete examples of tasks

    • as a means of co-operation across professional boundaries (shared understanding of the system)

    • sell ideas to users and potential customers

  • ‘Plus’ and ‘Minus’ scenarios

    • exploration of extreme cases

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Prototypes in Conceptual Design

  • Evaluation of emerging ideas

    • user feedback, feasibility

    • choice of methods and materials

  • Continuous prototyping

    • low-fidelity prototypes early on

    • high-fidelity prototypes later

  • Evolutionary prototyping

    • early prototypes are gradually enhanced and augmented

      • appearance

      • functionality

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Physical Design

  • Concrete, detailed issues of designing the interface

    • although inaccurate, the term is also used for software-based systems

  • Pervasive physical/conceptual design

  • Guidelines for physical design

    • Nielsen’s heuristics

    • Shneiderman’s eight golden rules

    • Style guides: commercial/corporate purposes

      • collection of design rules and principles

      • decide ‘look and feel’

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Physical design for Computer Interaction

  • Different kinds of ‘widgets’

    • dialog boxes, toolbars, icons, menus, etc

  • Emphasis

    • Menu design

    • Icon design

    • Screen design

    • Information display

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Menu Design

  • Arrangement

    • number of menus

    • length

    • order of items

  • Grouping

    • categorization

    • visual division (colours, dividing lines)

  • Structure

    • sub-menus, dialog boxes

  • Terminology

  • Constraints

    • screen size, input method

  • Context

    • applicability of entries

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Activity Menu Design

  • Compare the menu systems used on

    • a digital camera

    • a cell phone

    • a digital music player (e.g. iPod)

  • Criteria

    • Functionality

      • number of functions, categories

    • Usability

      • frequency of use, importance, consequences

    • Constraints

      • space, input methods

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Physical Design - Emphasis

  • Menu Design

  • Icon Design

  • Screen Design

  • Information Display

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Icon design

  • Good icon design is difficult

    • has to be widely acceptable

    • meaning must be readily perceivable

    • distinguishable from each other

  • Meaning of icons

    • cultural and context sensitive

  • Practical tips

    • always draw on existing traditions or standards

    • concrete objects or things are easier to represent than actions

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Physical Design - Emphasis

  • Menu Design

  • Icon Design

  • Screen Design

  • Information Display

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Screen design

  • Splitting functions across screens

    • moving around within and between screens

    • how much interaction per screen

    • serial or workbench style

  • Individual screen design

    • white space

      • balance between information/interaction and clarity

    • grouping of items

      • separation with boxes, lines, colors

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Splitting Functions across Screens

  • Task analysis as a starting point

    • each screen should contain a single simple step

    • user frustration

      • too many simple screens

  • Context

    • all pertinent information must be made available at relevant times

    • multiple screens open at once

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Individual Screen Design

  • User attention

    • directed to salient point

    • e.g. via colour, motion, etc

    • animation is very powerful but can be distracting

  • Organization

    • Grouping

      • physical proximity, colour, shape,

    • Structure

      • connections between related items

  • Trade-off

    • sparse population vs. overcrowding

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Physical Design - Emphasis

  • Menu Design

  • Icon Design

  • Screen Design

  • Information Display

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Information display

  • Context

    • relevant information is available at all times in the most efficient format for the specific task

  • Types of information

    • imply different kinds of display

    • alpha-numerical, chart, graphs

  • Consistency

    • paper display and screen data entry

    • different screens with similar information (customisable)

    • information content vs. presentation

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Physical Design - Emphasis

  • Menu Design

  • Icon Design

  • Screen Design

  • Information Display

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  • Different kinds of prototyping is used for different purposes and at different stages

  • Construction: Make sure the final product is engineered appropriately

  • Conceptual design (the first step of design)

  • Physical design: e.g. menus, icons, screen design, information display

  • Prototypes and scenarios are used throughout design as well