User Interface Prototype Document Format

There are several styles of prototype, described below.  Your team will negotiate with the instructor to determine the appropriate style for your project.  Read your textbook and consult resources on the course web site for discussion of how to design a user interface. Your prototype will need to be approved by the customer.  You will need to submit your prototype in computer readable form with installation and operation instructions as appropriate.

Storyboard. A storyboard is a paper mock up of the appearance of the user interface, with each interface screen shown on a separate piece of paper. Each screen, switch, keyboard, button etc. is depicted exactly as the user would see it. Each page includes annotations so that the user can "walkthrough" the entire application. These are cheap, fast and very effective in terms of value gained versus construction time.


Scripted prototype. The user interface screens are presented on the computer, but there is NO underlying functionality. User inputs are hard-coded, and the interaction is pre-scripted. Here are some examples of good and bad prototypes.

"Wizard of Oz" prototype. The user interface screens are displayed on the computer, but there is NO underlying functionality. User interacts with what appears to be a system, but the user inputs are channelled to a designer who simulates the response of the system. The interaction can vary since a human can control the responses given.

Functioning prototype. This is an executing program which may lack any real functionality except for the user interface. Typically you would use a prototyping tool or 4GL environment such as Visual Basic, Delphi, or an HTML editor.  This is a "throw-away" prototype which is discarded after the requirements are written.

Date Notes
1/5 Document Released
9/14/01 minor edits
9/21/01 Minor edits 
10/25/02 Added links to examples