Designing Interfaces – Paper Prototypes

On the 29th of October Martin Chapman from Mando Group gave us, the students of i-media course at LJMU, a seminar about designing interfaces and creating paper prototypes for user testing.
We were separated in groups of four to complete a task. The task was to design applications for the i-phone .
The design process began with brainstorming. Each teammate wrote down all the ideas, even the craziest ones, on post-its and randomly stuck them on a big piece of paper. The next step was to organize the different ideas in good and bad.

And then organizing continues by separating the “good ideas” into categories, posting the paper on the wall so we would have a well view of our ideas, and then end up choosing our 3 killer applications.

After that we had to talk about how we could apply these applications to the i-phone so there are friendly to the user and easy comprehend.
First we had to consider the navigational techniques that are used in the i-phone such the multi-touch screen, the way that the different pages change, the use of the icons and the size of the screens. We also thought about what we wanted our user to experience.
Designing continues with the creation of paper prototypes that are used for user testing. As Martin Chapman mentioned making a paper prototype for user testing before we continue to a demo version of our application save a company money and time as it’s a quick and a very effective method to test a possible product.
Thus we started sketching on paper 2 different pages for each application and one main page for the navagation. Our team chose a tablet designing program, a robot application with witch you could control, set on or off, home electrical devices, and a tracking locator application which shows where the location of the phone is every time. Each member took one application and the one left designed the main page.

After finishing the designing part we had to start the user testing. One teammate had to take the role of the device turning the pages based on the user’s reactions. One had to give the user 3 tasks to complete based on the applications like drawing a sad face and save the file or setting on the coffee maker at twelve o’ clock.The third person of each team would take notes of the user’s reactions to each task and the fourth member would test another team’s applications.
Our team faced a lot of problems during the user testing. Some of the illustrations were very confusing to the person who was testing them. On the other hand, I would say that the person that was chosen to test our prototype was not in the target group of our applications as she had many queries about the use of the device or what you can do with a tablet in a designing program.
From that seminar I understood how important is to understand all user’s needs and to predict the problems that might occur in his interaction with a media platform. The designer’s role is to find solutions for all the problems and make every application approachable by the target audience. Also it’s very important to have a clean and easy to comprehend interface to avoid user’s misleading or frustration. The key for the user center design is to organize well all the ideas, define the tasks and test from the very beginning if the idea works well for the user.

Post’s featured image by pixelfairy. Edited by dRuantia design.