The 69 page e-book Client vs. Developer Wars documents one web design company's struggle to formulate a rational development process:
This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/12/client-vs-developer-wars.html
Paper prototypes go deeper sooner with less effort and help discover aspects of an application that would get overlooked otherways.
I agree that paper prototyping is certainly a good thing. But there are definitely conceptual differences between paper prototyping and HTML prototyping. It can be difficult to convey non-linear navigation with a stack of paper, for example, and that makes it hard for a client to grok the structure of a site.
ahh… to grok…
the better the client groks, the easier the developers can be made to grok, and then all grokked, and saw that what was grokked by all, was good…
Another advantage that an HTML prototype has is the ability to deploy and have clients that are off-site (or in the case of one project I did, out of province) play with it at their leisure. You still get a lot of great feedback, even if you aren’t “there” 100% of the time.
I definitely think it is better to get a working prototype up and running and get feedback early on the proto. Forces the client to give feedback from a demo and can make them feel more involved. Many times (ok, almost always) the prototype becomes the final product so it is good to get that early feedback and adjust as necessary when necessary. I never felt paper mockups were much use especially if the person doing the mock up doesn’t know much about what can/cannot be done by the implementer.
If anyone has read the extreme programming books, that is a good place to start. A problem I have my company is taht many of our clients are not actually present and we have technical marketing people in their place and they have very little time to give meaningful feedback and make suggestions that are many times not feasible, too costly (time to implement) or just plain dumb.
Hi Jeff, thanks for the post - for those who still stumble upon it, our site has changed and the new link for the book is - http://www.newfangled.com/client_vs_developer_wars. Also the video described is no longer there but there is a new one called “Avoid the Illusion of Communication.” Thanks again!
CEO - Newfangled Web Factory
Another approach that’s useful, and is applicable to more than just web site design, is paper prototyping (perfectly described and documented in Carolyn Snyder’s book). Paper prototypes go deeper sooner with less effort and help discover aspects of an application that would get overlooked otherways. Like other participative design techniques suchs as CRC cards, paper prototyping helps trigger everyone’s insight and crytical thinking, which is much better than having the users/customer agree on a specification that they don’t really understand anyway. Greenscreen prototyping is great, but IMHO learning how to do paper prototypes is a better investment since it can be leveraged for all kinds of systems and applications.
The link to “dysfunctional specifications” doesn’t work. The redirection mechanism is missing this case. It should point to https://blog.codinghorror.com/dysfunctional-specifications/