Books about or related to Rapid Prototyping

  • Paper Prototyping” by Carolyn Snyder. This is a great book that describes the practice and power of Paper Prototyping. It also describes how to effectively run Wizard of Oz sessions. Chapter 4 gives particularly good details on how to actually go about building interactive paper prototypes and as such, is an excellent resources.
  • Effective Protoyping for Software Makers” by Jonathan Arnowitz, Michael Arent, and Nevin Berger. This book goes through the process of prototyping from a commercial software developer’s POV. It describes the various stages, the various types of content that can be prototyped, and describes how to build prototypes using a variety of tools, such as office productivity applications, Visio, etc. One of the features that I really like about this book that I have incorporated into my class is the idea of the ‘Content-Fidelity Matrix’. This is a matrix that uses rows for each type of content (information navigation content, editorial content, visual content, branding content, etc.) and columns for the various levels of fidelity, ranging from extremely low to extremely high. In the book, this matrix is used to highlight what types of content each type of prototyping is best suited to highlight. But it can also be used as a planning tool: the designer can put an X or a checkmark in one cell of each row to describe at what level of fidelity they will render that type of content when planning to create a new prototype. See the example below, which shows a CF matrix for a planned paper prototype, where the designed is going to be focusing on the interaction and a little on the navigation, but not on visual design, branding or the actual editorial content of the application. The idea is to get the designer to think clearly about the goals of the prototype ahead of time. I have my students complete one of these for every prototype assignment they do. I also have them fill out this matrix for prototypes that we look at in class to help get them acquainted with the different types of content and the different levels of fidelity.
  • Prototyping: A Practitioner’s Guide” by Todd Warfel. This is a great little book that does an excellent job of making the business case for rapid prototyping instead of doing traditional software requirements gathering and specifications. It also describes a variety of RP methods and tools.
  • Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook” by Saul Greenberg, Sheelagh Carpendale, Nicolai Marquardt and Bill Buxton. Beautiful examples of how sketching influences great design. Companion workbook is something I will review soon.
  • Designing Interfaces” by Jennifer Tidwell. This book does a good job of describing user interface design patterns, and showing when they should and should not be used. This is not about rapid prototyping per se, but I use it in my RP class as a nice companion volume. I think it is good for students to start to understand these design patterns and learn when to use them.
  • Card Sorting” by Donna Spencer. <review to come soon>

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