Paper Prototyping & Click Dummies

Especially for products featuring any form of screen interaction, paper prototyping is a simple, yet effective low-fidelity prototyping strategy. How does it work? Very simply, you use paper instead of screens, meaning: you try to replicate on paper what you want to show on the screen. At a very early stage, this can mean sketching interfaces by hand. By showing multiple drawn screens in a row, you can also simulate how the flow of the user through your application for a specific use case might look like. If you have gained some certainty about the general user flow and the chosen use case, you can also build higher fidelity paper prototypes, which visually resemble the envisioned final product more closely. To learn a little more about paper prototyping, check out Jakob Nielsen’s short article “Paper Prototyping: Getting User Data Before You Code“.

If you have a copy of tools like Illustrator, InVision, or Prott, you can use them at this point to turn your sketches into click-dummies. A click-dummy is a more functional mockup of a use case and user flow through your digital product. Usually, you set up a click-dummy so a user can operate it on the intended target device (or a similar device) and experience how one use case of the finished product might be like. Even if you don’t have access to any of these tools, you can use PowerPoint or Keynote to achieve the same goals. You will find many “how-to” videos for this online. For example, you can check out how the Apple design team uses Keynote to build some of their digital prototypes.