Design and Prototyping


What is User ExperienceDesign and Usability?

User Experience Design (sometimes called UX design) helps people create technology that is easy and intuitive to use.. It has to do with the quality of the experience that someone has when using a system or a piece of technology. You can think of it as improving the ‘user’s experience’ which means that a user will have an easy time using the technology and will keep using it because they are satisfied.

While you are designing your app that helps to solve a problem, you want to create something that is easy to use, helps get the job done, and provides an experience that is fun for the user. You will want to make it usable. But what makes an app usable?

Usability is the extent to which a system, product, or service can be used by specific users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.

It’s not just a matter of what you think might look good, or what you think you would like because you consider yourself a user of the app you will be creating. It’s about context. Think about who else will be using the app and what their needs are. Will people use it once a year, once a week, or once a day?

Where will people be using it? We used to think of applications as something that people use while sitting at their desk. What are some of your favorite apps, and what do they do? Where and how do you use them? Do they do many things, or do they do a few things really well? In order to save your team wasted hours of engineering time, you will be focusing on creating an app with minimal features. This is called Minimum Viable Product, or MVP.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

In the world of product development, the MVP is a product with just enough features to get the job done and test with users so that improvements can later be made. The goal is to create the most desirable end product. In general, products with more features involve increased costs and risk of failure. This can happen because of incorrect assumptions about users.

It’s especially important to think about where the app will be used and what would work well on a small screen, portable device such as a smartphone. You wouldn’t want someone to stop using your app because it is too hard understand and use.? How do you learn more about your users to prevent this?

Pls move the template to the problem solving page

What is a Paper Prototype?

Prototyping is a way to model ideas or concepts so they can be communicated to people as soon as possible and tested out.  

There are different kinds of prototypes, but we will be focusing on paper prototyping in this unit. A paper prototype is a hand-drawn representation of the user interface which typically looks like screenshots. It can help serve as a walkthrough of how users would navigate the app.

What are the benefits of paper prototyping?


  • You can quickly and communicate your ideas in a visual way. For example, you can show what happens when you click on buttons in your app
  • It’s collaborative! When you work on paper, it’s more casual and conversations spring out of experimentation
  • It’s inexpensive! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a paper prototype. You can use materials like paper, magazine cut outs, post-its, markers, stickers, tape, glue
  • You don’t have to be a technical expert for this part of the process
  • You can observe human interaction with the interface and will learn fast about what might and what might not work in your design
  • Prototypes can help to confirm design decisions before you spend more time developing the technology

Keep in mind that design of your app may change to accommodate user need after it has been tested and you have received feedback. This is fine, because you will want to know these things sooner rather than later! Some of you might be afraid to test out your ideas because you think you might receive feedback that isn’t positive and you would see this as failure.

The Importance of Failure

Remember—failure is part of the process and there is a lot you can learn from it. Find out what Richard DeVaul has to say about it in this short video. He is the Rapid Evaluation Team Lead for Google’s top secret lab called the Design Kitchen. You can also learn more about how failure and the rejection of ideas is part of the innovation process there in this article

Coding Challenge: Paper Prototype Your App

Every product has to start somewhere! Sketching is a fundamental part of the design process and can help you make key decisions about what to design. It can be as simple as drawing on a piece of paper and is helpful when you are working with your initial ideas. You can show your basic app structure and experiment with how people will interact with your app. You can also test color and where buttons will go. Spending time now to test your ideas on paper will help save you time later when you transfer your ideas to your digital prototype.

Before you start, you can learn more about paper prototyping, user flow, and color theory in this short video with Melissa Powel who is on the Google Developer Relations team, and Mariam Shaikh who is a Senior User Experience Designer at Google.