Paper Prototyping

Have an idea for project? Do you start by opening your code editor and getting started? I have. Those projects seemed to take longer and failed to become good products. What works is prototyping or sketching the product out. Sketching helps you to slow down and think about the problem. It makes you choose one solution over the other and even seen things that you may not consider if you had jumped into coding first.

Paper Prototyping

Why paper?

  • Paper is cheap and easy. You just grab a piece of paper, a pen and start drawing. If you don’t like it, you can throw it away and start over.
  • Easy iterations. A paper prototype also allows you to create multiple iterations as possible without the expensive of writing code.
  • Documentation. No need to create additional documentation. The prototype becomes your documentation. With paper, you write notes on your design or on the back or add them with Post-It Notes.
  • Collaboration. You and your team can quickly and easily draw out ideas on paper and share them.

What do you need to get started?

  • Paper
  • Pens and pencils
  • Stencils

When do you use paper prototyping?

  • Brainstorming new ideas
  • Creating a mock-up of a new feature or product
  • Redesigning an older feature that no longer works

Should you use it for every project?

It depends. If your client or project can be easily understood by simple sketches, then you can use them to present your ideas. For some project, you may need to create a more interactive mock-up. Your client may need to see a working product in order to understand how you plan to implement your idea.

Paper prototyping is the easiest and simplest way to get started. If you want to stop talking and start sketching, this guide can help you get started.

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