I just gave a talk this week about prototyping where I looked at a lot of tools and where they fit in the workflow (video and links here). IMHO, there are different stages of prototyping that require different tools. At the beginning of a project, the goal is to get thinks out quickly, so pen and paper, Precursor, Keynote or whatever you are comfortable with works great. Later, you need prototyping tools that allow for collaboration (Invision, Marvel, etc) to allow the whole team and stakeholders to give feedback and iterate. And at some point you might need prototyping tools around technical execution (Framer, Google Form, etc), or for user testing (Axure) if you have concerns about a specific interaction or technical issue.
But almost all projects start with sketches, so there's a good need for simple, versatile tools to quickly try things out.
Awesome, listening to it now! And let me know if you need a Precursor thumbnail for the resources list of your next talk :)
You bring up an interesting point about oversight and getting buy-in from project stakeholders. I'm curious whether you think this type of collaboration is more productive early on in low-fidelity, or later in hi-fidelity?
I've found that when I collaborate early on in low-fidelity I minimize the risk of bikeshedding over visual details.
I think you have to make that call based on your client and the project. Personally I like involving clients from early on, but I've had it backfire as well. Even though we had clearly outlined our iterative approach several times, the client freaked out because they saw the work as poorly done (this was the digital team of a major TV news network). Somebody on their team told me later that they were kinda stuck in a waterfall mentality and were undergoing agile training internally.
So my approach now is to carefully feel out all involved teams and tailor the process and deliverables appropriately.
Process and communication are a fine art...
And yes, a thumbnail or logo would be great.
Great point! That's a good strategy. I supposed low-fidelity prototyping can be luxury in some cases.
Here's that thumbnail :)
I love precursor, however I have yet to actually use it in a real project. Soon man, soon.
I can't see myself ever replacing pen and paper to explain my ideas in an actual client meeting. It let's my client know that, it's just an idea. I see Precursor used when I want to explain my ideas to my fellow coworkers. Then I'll take those ideas and make an interactive prototype with Photoshop/Invisionapp.
I think precursor is the future though. It has amazing potential.
Thanks Savelle! I'm excited that you might use Precursor with your team. Be sure to let me know how that goes. It's still early to tweak things.
Do you think there's anything we could do to make it easier to use Precursor with clients? Our main goal is to solve problems for team collaboration, but it would be nice to grab client collaboration along the way if we can.
Thanks again for the support. Ping me in Precursor chat if you ever need anything :)
We're more productive without pen and paper
Oh, get off your high horse. Try adding value instead of fighting against something.
Oops, didn't mean to sit way up there. Sorry about that.
Fighting pen and paper isn't the goal. In fact, it usually makes up the first part of my design process. Recently I've just been able to sustain momentum in areas where pen and paper fall short. E.g. remote collaboration, accessibility, etc.
Thanks for the feedback, I'll be more careful next time. By the way, I enjoyed the Pokemon branding, good stuff :)
Pen & paper is the worst design tool, except for all others.
I don't think I've ever run across one of these dozens of prototyping applications that was better or as flexible as pencil and paper
I felt the same, and most seemed like answers to Adobe rather than pen and paper. Eventually I just gave up and designed my own.
Do you prototype on paper? What—if anything—would make your process better on a computer/tablet?
Combine this thing:
with this thing:
and you might be part way there.
As it stands I don't think I would switch from paper to Precursor/Photoshop/whatever. One thing I like about physical media is they don't have modes - I don't have to go click on the thing in order to switch from drawing ellipses to rectangles, and I'm not limited by the subset of functions the software engineer has included.
Another positive is that it's decentralised - I don't have to log into some website on the other side of the world in order to draw stuff. It's easily digitised and duplicated, too, you can take photographs of it and email the pictures around.
I don't mean to be harsh but the feeling I got from Precursor is that while it is very very pretty and perfectly minimalist and every animation and transition is gosh darned flawless, it's still just another thing for drawing text, rectangles and ellipses in largely the same way as everything that came before it.
while just a proof of concept, is a great demonstration of a completely alternative drawing paradigm. I think if somebody took the principles outlined in this prototype and applied them to the general problem of drawing text, rectangles, and ellipses, then I could get down with that.
Thanks for elaborating, Daniel!
If you're not a fan of switching between modes, you should try Precursor with an iPad. It's not as precise as Ink and Slide yet, but check back soon; we're always improving.
I don't see your description of Precursor as harsh at all. In fact, it's rather complimentary. We'll keep improving on that last bit though.
That recursive demo was interesting. The good new is, that smart object grouping is actually similar to something I'm working on now. The actual recursion stuff looked fun, but it's hard to tell how useful it would be. Might be worth an experiment or two at least.