This week was really tough. To start, I was working from my hotel in Vancouver, since I was there on travel for business meetings. I spent most of the week trying not to feel the time difference, but it didn't work. This was the week that I had planned to build my paper prototype. I got a lot of the screens done, but was really stumped on the design aspect. I spent the better part of an afternoon just wandering around looking at art and architecture for some inspiration. Right now, I've got a design I like, but it feels a little predictable. I may have some ideas that will come during testing, but right now, I need to get something to test.
Paper Prototyping and Wire-framing
As I sat down to begin fleshing out the sketches to a paper-prototype, I felt really nervous and unsure about how best to go about it. I ended up looking at the differences between the wireframe and a paper prototype. I started to move toward a wireframe for its accuracy and ability to repeat layout items. The wireframe also really feels like the app is beginning to materialize. I spent about half a day moving on the wireframe using Balsamiq Mockups but felt like I was spending more time learning the software instead of really focusing on design. I opted out of the wireframe (for now) and went back to the sketchpad. I am luck to have a notebook with a mobile smart phone (I think a Droid) laid out nicely, which moves things along and provides good proportional reference. For future projects, though, I think that I'll be purchasing some of these sketchbooks.
I also finished my initial draft of the application map, which is still a somewhat vague concept for me. More practice will enable a more solid understanding and ability to apply more effectively. It's still more understandable than the flow maps I've made in the past. I'm working on the flow from a story telling and task oriented approach.