Testing On Low Fidelity Prototypes

Description: The worst way to design any website is to design the whole thing and then launch it without doing any kind of testing first. Read on to find out why low fidelity prototypes could save the day.

Just imagine the problems that could ensue if you were to design your website and then let it loose on the internet without checking it thoroughly first. If any mistakes were found - and it's likely that there will be some - you can be sure that it will be much harder to rectify them on a website which is live than it would be on a website that is still in the planning stages, and is therefore much easier to handle and alter.

Testing is vitally important for any website, and while there are a number of ways you can do it, low fidelity prototypes are often the easiest way to proceed, simply because it's so easy to make any changes. All you need is a pen.

This is because a low fidelity prototype basically consists of a number of sheets of paper, each one representing a page on your website. The whole site isn't depicted in detail; rather the basic bones of the design are there. You wouldn't include detailed articles for example. What you would include are the basic sections of your site, such as the home page, a sheet for each page that can be reached from the home page (clearly labeled as a specific section) and all the other pages of your site, with all the options for reaching each one and performing certain actions clearly marked for the users to try out.

You can either sketch out your sections for the site, or simply print out what you have already created, to give the users a better idea of how certain sections will appear or be linked together on the final result.

This method works well because anyone you get to test it out can make suggestions on how you can improve your site. Notes can be made directly on the sheets of paper, and while you may not choose to take note of all the comments made, it can certainly point you towards the areas which need further work.

It's much easier to make corrections and alter certain elements of your website when it still exists in paper form. Once you have designed your site on your computer you may find yourself backtracking and getting rid of a lot of work which you have spent hours doing. Low fidelity prototyping can provide a much quicker path to a more successful and user friendly site in the long run.

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