Paper Prototyping: Sketching and Evaluating Your Design Concepts

  • December 14, 2011 · 6:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Hands-on Paper Prototyping

What if you could design and test your website or application, before spending any time and money coding it? Imagine being able to know before you release your product, that it meets the needs of your customers, and is easy to use? How about showing your ideas off to stakeholders, and get valuable feedback that your can incorporate right away within minutes? Welcome the the world of Paper Prototyping...

The video below is a video recording of someone doing a usability test on the paper prototype. This can be done before any software code is written, and is a great way to test and iterate on your design. 

Sketching and Evaluating Your Design Concepts

Join Boston PHP and Christine Perfetti as we teach you the essentials for creating low-fidelity paper prototypes to flesh out your design ideas and gather feedback from users early in the development process. Using common office supplies, development teams can build and test a working prototype of a product in a matter of hours. Christine will share prototyping techniques for simulating all kinds of user interface widgets.

In this hands-on session, you'll learn to create a fully working paper mock-up of any proposed design, which you can use to collect usability data through usability testing. You'll discover what aspects of your design work well, and what users have trouble with. Using paper mock-ups, you can make changes very quickly, even during a usability test! It may sound counter-intuitive, but it's usually faster to develop and change a paper mock-up than an electronic prototype.

The high point of this presentation is the interactive design exercise. Using everything you've learned, you'll build a fully working product within a couple of hours and test real users interacting with the design. Because it's a competition, you'll find yourself totally immersed, working at top speed.

This event is part of our new hands-on series where we break away from our usual presentations and get you in the drivers seat practicing what you learn. If you loved our Steve Krug Usablity events, then you will love this one too.

To make this an effective learning event without it being too crowded, we will need to limit the number of attendees. Also we must ensure that those that RSVP will actually come and not change at the last minute. That is why we are charging attendees $7 for attending. We will use this money to offer food and drinks at the event.

About Christine:
Christine Perfetti is CEO and Founding Principal of Perfetti Media. If you've ever met Christine, you know she's passionate about teaching design and product teams how to tackle their problems. For more than a decade, she has taught hundreds of teams and consulted with dozens of clients on product strategy and user experience techniques.

With her extensive knowledge of human factors and user research techniques, Christine has been a top-rated presenter at the User Interface Conference, the Internet Marketing Conference, CHI, and the Usability Professionals' Association Conference. She's co-presented with User Interface Engineering's Jared Spool at many User Experience and Design events, including the UIE Roadshow. Christine has also taught Human Factors at the Tufts University Gordon Institute for Engineering Management.

6:00 - 6:30: Doors open, Food, Drinks, Networking
6:30 - 7:15: The essentials of paper prototyping (talk)
7:15 - 8:45: Designing your paper prototype (in groups)
8:45 - 9:30: Testing your prototype (in groups)

Join or login to comment.

  • Kelly H

    This was a great exercise and illustration that you can learn a lot in a short amount of time.

    December 22, 2011

  • Michael B.

    I was out of the country, and unfortunately had to miss this one. For years though, I have been a passionate advocate of Paper Prototyping. This technique will save you countless hours of rework, as you get closer to what your users want and expect.

    Our very own Heather O'Neill organized and planned this special event, and from what I am hearing - it went very well according to plan. I'd also like to recognize our sponsor 'Above the Fold', for their generous donation to make this event possible.

    And to Christine, thanks for caring so much about this topic. Thank for such an awesome hands on experience. I look forward to being able to repeat it another time for those who might had missed it.

    December 20, 2011

  • Tracy

    Absolutely outstanding. Christine did a great job leading us through a very challenging exercise. My team had a blast and learned a great deal. I always look forward to events like this!

    December 20, 2011

  • Bobby C.

    Awesome presentation, awesome atmosphere, and great job by everyone involved! Great demo to illustrate how critical it is to communicate your ideas with your entire project team in a concrete way before you waste time coding in the wrong direction.

    December 19, 2011

  • Kun-Tee C.

    Its a great technique to flesh out concepts quickly and promotes group collaboration. I would definitely practice it. A BIG shout-out to Christine!

    December 16, 2011

  • Peter M.

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for this Meetup. I'm glad I signed up and attended. Christine clearly knows her topic; she also knows how to get people engaged in the topic. I worked with 4 people I'd never met, on a product I knew nothing about at the beginning of the meeting, and ended up learning about fast food, design, marketing and prototyping.

    December 16, 2011

  • Tamara

    I really enjoyed Christine's presentation, and the hands-on nature of the workshop was perfect for the subject material. The event was well-organized, and I liked the variety of materials we were given for the exercise.

    I think that the task should have been a little simpler - it was difficult to get even close to fulfilling all of the requirements in the time allowed! Also, showing the video from the invitation would have been helpful, because some of the members of my group hadn't watched it ahead of time, and seeing the video really helped me understand how the end product was supposed to work.

    This was my first Boston PHP event, and I didn't know that the food offered would only be snacks. When an event is at 6pm and "food" is offered, I assume it's going to be something substantial like sandwiches or pizza. You may want to specify that it's going to be snacks. I need to eat dinner before 10pm, and it would have been great to know that I should eat before coming!

    December 16, 2011

  • Boz H.

    Great meeting. Informative, fun, and useful. I'm planning on using this for my own EcoBoro project (a complex app, where usability is going to be an issue due to the complexity). Thanks and Bravo!

    December 16, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    The presentation was organized and fun with lots of learning via the "hands on" process.

    December 15, 2011

  • Topher P.

    The Paper Prototyping was an excellent workshop.

    December 15, 2011

  • Ori

    This was an excellent hands-on learning experience. Christine did a fantastic job on presenting as well as managing the crowd and time.
    PS: I had to stop by Anna's to get a burrito immediately after the meetup :)

    December 15, 2011

  • Juli

    Great Workshop! I really learned a lot. Thank you so much, Christine.

    December 15, 2011

  • Heather O.

    Christine was (as usual) fabulous. Everyone seemed to have a blast! :)

    December 15, 2011

  • El M.

    Another outstanding event by BostonPHP. Many thanks to Christine for her excellent presentation and to Heather et al for their work in putting it together.

    December 15, 2011

  • David D.

    By far the best meetup I have attened. Hands on workshops are the way to go.

    December 15, 2011

  • Nic M.

    Great presenter, lots of energy, terrific exercise, really enjoyable experience. The crowd was great, plenty of enthusiasm all around the room. It was pretty exciting to see Steve Krug there too.

    December 15, 2011

  • Hans H.

    Very good! I have done usability testing with paper before, but the session was full of good reminders about what works. Especially, the importance of using it as a tool very early in the design process and as a way to involve everyone on the larger development team.

    Only 1 suggestion: Since each team has an incredibly short time in which to generate ideas, then decide on which ones they are going to incorporate into the prototype's first iteration, possibly suggest a process the group could follow to smooth/expedite the decision-making.

    December 15, 2011

  • Cici S.

    As Christine said, this is a great tool for "quick and dirty" input from all team members early in the interface design process. It was definitely a McGyver experience, as we had limited time and there was much ambient noise, adding to the general feeling of panic. But "learning and adjusting" with frequent feedback and constantly making small course corrections vs. huge commitments and huge corrections makes a lot of sense. Also terrific that anyone can do this with the resources they have. Christine is an excellent speaker and this was a lot of fun (trying to get back to my happy place after our poor showing).

    December 15, 2011

  • Andrew w.

    Christine,

    As a middle school teacher who works on teaching kids to think by teaching them design strategies, I found this program excellent. The ability to program is not something a lot of my kids are ready for; but they can use this process to think through what they want to do or make. Brilliant

    December 15, 2011

  • Robin

    There is nothing like hands-on experience to learn a new technique. Bravo and thank you Christine, for the well-organized and clearly presented session. A simple process with tremendous payoffs. I can't wait to try it...

    December 15, 2011

  • Daniel G.

    Very informative. The opportunity for a hands-on exercise was great for learning.

    December 15, 2011

  • Andrew w.

    Hugely valuable. I feel like I benefitted enormously from this program.

    December 15, 2011

  • Steve K.

    Thanks for the excellent session, Christine. Here's a panorama showing most of the 70 attendees: http://www.pixeet.com/pano/QNCW7WD3

    December 14, 2011

  • Heather O.

    Yes this is acceptable. THank you.

    December 14, 2011

  • Lisa L.

    My question is the same as Jonathan B's. My printer is dead, so I can't print the ticket. I can provide a PDF on my Droid if that is acceptable?

    December 14, 2011

  • Jonathan B.

    If I have no printer, can I put the a pdf of the ticket on my phone and show it when I arrive? Cause I have no printer, but I have a pdf of the ticket on my computer that I can transfer to my phone...

    December 14, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    unfortunately i have to drop out. someone please take my spot.

    December 14, 2011

  • Michael B.

    Two slots now open, come and get it.

    December 14, 2011

  • Francis

    @Robin i Agree 100% with you

    1 · December 8, 2011

  • Robin

    Qualifying attendees? This truly is not in the spirit of this meet up. Who would judge and using what criteria? I agree with Mark. The two years I have been attending Boston PHP, Michael has made EVERYONE welcome, whether you are novice or advanced, designer or programmer. He has presented a wide variety of topics and technologies so that we can all broaden our horizons. For those who want more, there are plenty of online courses or local universities around Boston offering in-depth studies.

    1 · December 8, 2011

  • Bobby C.

    @Neil, thanks for the suggestion! I don't know offhand whether we would be able to (or inclined to) add such a requirement to this event less than a week beforehand, especially since there are people who have already paid, etc. But it might make sense to do this for some of the more popular hands-on events in the future. I will definitely bring it up with the leadership team.

    December 8, 2011

  • Mark R.

    I'm sorry you didn't sign up in time, but your suggestion to "qualify attendees by requiring a 'product concept' and some first draft screen sketches" is a bad plan. I'm going because I want to learn the skills being taught, regardless of whether I have a particular task I intend to apply them to right now. In that regard, it's no different from Google Analytics or jQuery or HTML5 or Cake PHP or any of the hundreds of other topics Boston PHP has addressed.

    2 · December 8, 2011

  • Neil H.

    OK, how about qualifying attendees by requiring a "product concept" and some first draft screen sketches? You must admit, it would bump up the quality of interaction....

    December 8, 2011

  • Michael M.

    I've got two people from my team who are interested in going. Please let me know if more spots open up. Thx.

    November 2, 2011

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