Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Interactive Prototypes with PowerPoint

Using Power Point as an interactive prototype ...

"Have you ever wished your early design mockups could come to life, so you could try out the navigation, test an interaction, or see if a button label just feels right when you click on it?

Sure, you could invest in a dedicated prototyping tool, but you can create surprisingly quick and effective prototypes with a software program that’s probably sitting on your hard drive right now. It’s PowerPoint—and no, I am not kidding.

I’ve met many designers who use PowerPoint for blocking out screens without ever discovering the interactive features for creating hyperlinks, buttons, and dynamic mouseover effects. Yes, PowerPoint can do all that. When I show people an interactive PowerPoint prototype, someone inevitably asks what I created it in. The reaction is always the same: “PowerPoint can do that?”

Overview

To see what PowerPoint can do, here’s a sample interactive prototype created in Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 for Windows. (Important: View the document in slideshow mode to see the interactivity. Links and orange buttons are clickable.)
Though there are other prototyping tools out there, here are the main reasons I lean toward PowerPoint:

* It’s fast. You can try something, hate it, and try something else—all in a matter of minutes.
* It’s low-fidelity. A PowerPoint mockup doesn’t try to look exactly like the final product, so it’s easy to work on high-level design issues and not get bogged down in details like colors or exact text. I also like being able to jot down notes in the margins of an early design, which I’ve never found a good way of doing in HTML or Flash.
* Everyone has it. One of the great things about PowerPoint is that the people on your team usually have it. You can easily email a PowerPoint prototype to people for review and feedback.

Basic Interactivity

To begin, create a simple PowerPoint mockup, each slide depicting a separate screen in your site or application. You can use shapes, text, and clipart to populate the screens. I like to leave a little space in the margins for notes and half-baked ideas."    (Continued via Boxes and Arrows)    [Usability Resources]

Interactive Prototype - Usability, User Interface Design

Interactive Prototype

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