POP: Prototyping Interactivity on Paper

By Troy Abel

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Looking for a cutting-edge, quick and easy way to get your designs from concept to interactive prototype? Working in an agile design environment and need insight

into the usability of your concept prior to wireframing? If you answered yes to either of these questions, the POP (Prototyping on Paper) is a design methodology and app you’ll want to check out.

Paper prototypes are not a new or novel concept to the IxD Designer; however, adding interactivity to these paper prototypes is rather new. Enter an amazing app POP. I discovered POP when I was designing a niche market yellow pages app for iOS with a fellow designer at a design bootcamp. We needed a quick, down and dirty way, to test the interactions of our interface. We wanted to validate our design decisions quickly prior to designing the wireframes. A fellow student introduced us to POP.

Using POP is simple. You download the app on your iOS, Android, or Windows mobile phone and start snapping photos of your drawing comps. You can then either work on a desktop/laptop or directly on your mobile phone adding ‘hotspots’ by drawing and dragging active areas and defining what action those hotspots should execute. Link pages together by assigning actions to these hotspots and build a functioning paper prototype of your app in minutes.

Take your concept one step further by using the built-in sharing function of POP. We decided to do some guerilla testing of our initial navigation structure and used the sharing function of POP to share our prototype with friends. We also used Key Lime’s mobile testing tool KLUE to record the interactions and video of the user while interacting with our product. These initial findings helped us tweak our design prior to building and testing wireframes.

Another great feature of POP is the ability to sync with Dropbox and integrate easily into your workflow. Drop photos of your pencil sketches into Dropbox and they immediately appear in POP’s app. Have photos from others working on the same app, share your Dropbox folder and have everyone drop their photos into Dropbox for immediate access to screens from all your team members.

Prototyping interactivity on paper is a great app for anyone who needs to quickly gain insight into their designs- heck they even have free downloadable sketch templates for all kinds of mobile devices! Have questions about prototyping on paper, or UX & IxD design in general? Reach out to me- troy@keylimeinteractive.com (UX Research Manager at Key Lime Interactive).

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