6. The Prototypes

Pictures of software have served you well so far. Especially if you have a good imagination, you can often get a reliable sense of how a screen or an interaction would work if it were implemented. But you can’t rely on good imagination for everything. Sometimes you need to see something in motion, or feel the interaction happen. Often, your own opinion of an interaction that exists in your head isn’t enough, and you need to let other people try it out. But as long as an idea is only in their heads, people often just talk past each other as they misunderstand what everyone else is getting at. As Bill Buxton points out, a sketch provokes, but a prototype resolves.

A prototype is a rendering of a software idea that functions in ...

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