My Dad taught me to always use the right tool for any job. He was talking about fixing bicicles, but I found out it works for [almost] every instance that life throws at me.
The cases when that approach fails are when there is NO [easily accessible] tool for the job at hand. Prototyping seems to be one of these cases. So depending on the system to be prototyped, the researcher has to make do with the tools available. These include any general purpose application that allows the level of flexibility needed by the level of detail of the prototype to be built. There's a catch, though: the "prototyper" has to know fairly well the tool chosen, in order to determine the fastest shortcuts that tool allows in throwing the smoke and mirrors around the tested audience. Even if you're willing to go for the totally context-busting paper models of for the budget-busting Director or Photoshop, you still have to learn the ropes of the tool. The more complex the tool and the more opaque the tool's interface, the more painful the prototyping.
What follows is a list of the tools and methods available for prototyping, which I will endeavor to keep as comprehensive as possible. As time allows, I will add comments for each of the tools I've had experience with. I offer my pro/con comments on availability, flexibility and er... usability :) The methods are sorted by general-purpose ease-of-use [in my personal opinion, of course]. Please, if you know of any other tools, click here to send me a message about them.
...is a medium-bad vectorial image editor encased in a pretty good animation program that has a potentially very Net-efficient file format. (for explanations see the talk or wait till my notes make it up here :)
(1) I'll go quickly through the fake-a-my-UI for a standard WIMPS program, but since Director is aas good at this, if not better,
(2) I'll spend most of the time showing you how a reasonable prototype for a mapping/survey type program can be whipped up faster than egg whites.
(No, using a mechanical or motorized egg-beater doesn't count. Cheater! ;)
Since Flash is crippled in the image-creation department, special guest star is Mr. Freehand, another Macromedia flagship, and the best vectorial drawing program in existence. (OK, Adobe-head, this is solely my opinion ;) I've been using the Freehand plugin for web browsers to put together the visual documentation for an archaeological dig - when Flash was just an inkling in its creator's eye. So enough talk. Here's the presentation outline.
The main goal of MonDoc is to make it easier to deal with documents -- read, understand, learn, create, modify, relate to, use, interact with, store, share, distribute. One can approach that goal by: (1) increasing cognitive accessibility of a document and (2) reducing the resources necessary for information storage
MonDoc: active hypertext Abstract for a CapCHI 10-minute shorty on the principles themselves: Speech and conventional writing has shaped human communication into a serial stream, very different from many cognitive processes (thinking, perception, decision-making), which happen in parallel and most of the time below our level of awareness. Referencing and indexing have been used for a long time in the printed media (books, articles, posters) in order to escape the unfortunate linearity of imposed on those media. I will present here MonDoc, a series of principles with which I attempt to describe a digital medium much closer to the dynamic nature of thought. MonDoc extends and constrains the hypertext paradigm.
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