Prototyping User Interfaces

Prototyping User Interfaces
June 11, 2015 Katie McNeice

This is the second of three new User Experience Solutions articles from the Graphic Mint studio. In these short articles we revisit important design terms and practices from our recent demo reel. This article focuses on ‘Products’ and gives a brief overview of how user interface issues with digital software products are resolved, by using prototyping as an expert design methodology.

User Interface Issues

When users find a digital product difficult to interact with or understand, the underlying problems are user interface issues. Too much content causes the user to become overwhelmed and confused. This may include lengthy, repetitive menu options for example. When content is poorly structured or organised, improvements to the information architecture are required.

Weak presentation and poor flows cause negative user experiences, as visual information may be unclear, user journeys are inconsistent and people are unable to use the product with ease. In order to maintain user adoption it is critical for product owners to resolve user interface issues as soon as possible.

Prototyping

In order to resolve user interface issues, UX designers produce a variety of prototypes that are based on usability findings. For example, users may be unable to use a digital product consistently on mobile devices. Low-fidelity prototyping can address this by supplying quick alternatives to possible solutions. These inexpensive mockups can be tested to ensure they meet users needs and expectations and are iterated upon accordingly. Prototyping is a means of validating key pieces of functionality, visual hierarchies and information architectures without actually beginning development.

Low-fidelity paper prototypes allow for quick and continuous feedback from stakeholders. This is an important step which helps to solidify ideas before iterating to a higher fidelity or moving to development. High-fidelity prototypes, such as interactive wireframes or visual design mockups, allow for in-depth testing on real users. In all cases, prototyping is essential for the quick resolution of User Interface issues. This prevents costly development cycles and negative user experiences.

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Case Study

Zarion Allocate Prototyping Graphic Mint Zarion Allocate | Simplifying Capacity Management

Our portfolio includes a User Experience enhancement of Zarion Allocate, a work allocation software product.

This project involved a combination of User Interface and User Experience Services.

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