Prototyping for Innovation

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World Usability Day Logo

A good user experience doesn’t get delivered just like that. It is the result of the countless hours of efforts spent in the product development process, from conceptualization to the final delivery. It involves designing and redesigning your product or app based on a series of exhaustive user testing sessions, and let’s face it, you cannot perform a user testing session with static assets like wireframes or mockups. There has to be some sort of interactivity, otherwise your users won’t get a taste of how the product/app actually works. This is where prototyping come in.  – UX Mag

World Usability Day

World Usability Day is single day of events occurring around the world that brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for our common objective: to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use. It is about celebration and education – celebrating the strides we have made in creating usable products and educating the masses about how usability impacts our daily lives. It is about making our world work better. It is about reaching out to the common citizen and spreading the message: We don’t have to put up with products and services that don’t work well and that human error is a misnomer. For more information, view the World Usability Day website.

2015: The Year of Innovation

Innovation can mean different things to different people but most can agree it includes inventions and changes in products and services that improve a situation or solve a problem in a new way. Innovation in User Experience means that people can do what they need and want to with technology, products and services that enhance their experience. Prototyping is an essential tool in the process of innovation. On November 14th, UXPA Norfolk hosted a series of prototyping workshops to help attendees build or boost their prototyping skills.

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Noel Miciano, UX Designer at Brand Journey, hosted a workshop focusing on paper prototyping in the creative process. Noel gave a brief overview of prototyping before discussing how he includes it in his own creative process and gave examples of different prototyping methods from paper to digital means. In the second part of the workshop, attendees were able to improve a specific interaction on a favorite website or app through paper prototyping.

Bianca Chesimard, UX Product Manager at Ferguson, conducted a design studio with rapid paper prototyping. She discussed personas and how important it is to really dive into customer needs to solve the true problem at hand. Attendees worked together to develop iterative prototypes for a shoe of the month website, learned to critique and provide useful feedback to one another, and then presented their final work to the group.

Felix Portnoy, UX Designer/Researcher at IBM, provided an overview of Axure. He discussed how to translate design ideas into visually interactive wireframes that can be easily communicated with stakeholders. He fielded questions from the group to demonstrate specific applications of Axure. Attendees were able to take their first paper prototype and convert it into an interactive wireframe using Axure.

Takeaways and favorite moments

Our attendees shared some thoughts about the event.

It was great to actively participate in the prototyping workshops rather than listen to guest speakers talk about their experience. Being able to experience the process ourselves allowed me to better understand the process. I learned about new products that I would be able to use in my own work going forward!

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Thank you to our generous sponsors for helping make this event a success: Grow, Rosenfeld Media, A Book Apart, Tidewater Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), and Old Dominion University’s HFES student chapter.

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