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user246

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 
Has anyone here ever usability-tested a paper prototype?  Did you learn anything about your design from it?  Was it worth the effort relative to usability-testing a live site?
numbat

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Reply with quote  #2 
I have tested various "Layout Designs" to see which one users preferred. 
This was at the end of testing an existing, and quite frustrating, website. 

It felt a bit like cheating as at that point anything would have been received well but there was some useful feedback.

Laminating the sheets was the most important thing as the first lot got a bit grubby before we even started testing. It sounds a bit trivial but it helps to keep it looking professional.
mhannan

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Reply with quote  #3 

I found some great insights by testing with paper-prototypes. I think it helps if the paper prototypes are task based.

And having someone to play the computer to pull up the right screens/ floats /elements after an action item has been clicked; for unavailable ones - you can find out the user/ testes expectations.

Finally, the "loading" screen paper during pulling up various screens - seems fun for everyone :-)

Sandy

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #4 
In the application development we do in my orgainziation, it's crucial to do paper prototype testing before we start development on some things.  We deal with very complicated features and putting the development team to work on something that hasn't been tested first by customers and users can be a huge waste of time. 

Most often the customer doesn't know what they want until they see it in action and once they start to see the concept behind the feature, they will inevitably change their mind about functionality.  Then the actual users need to see the functionality to make sure it really is what they need and not what the product owner thinks they need.   We try to exhaust all possible angles in how to handle a specific task for widget or feature before we go into design or development.

Doing it on paper it quick, easy and cheap.  And don't forget that very valuable customer buy-in that occurs when you involve them early.  that is priceless.

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