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Horizontal Prototyping 

What is it?

Horizontal prototypes demonstrate a broad spectrum of the product's features, but without extensive functionality behind each function. Horizontal prototypes are often used for user preference testing of user interfaces, when the actual working functions haven't been implemented yet. Such prototypes allow evaluation of the interface design, feature placement and accessiblity and the like, without requring anything to actually work.

How do I do it?

Often, horizontal prototypes can be low fidelity prototypes consisting of little more than drawings and lists on paper, to computer mockups that look exactly like a finished product, except that none of the functions work. Realistic mockups can be developed in most graphical user interface (GUI) development environments such as Visual Basic or AppStudio, or in simple demo builders such as Demo It! or Hypercard.

When should I use this technique?

This technique is best used in the early stages of development, when work hasn't commenced on the actual functions of the product, but the feature set is known.

Who can tell me more?

Click on any of the following links for more information:

Nielsen, Jakob, Usability Engineering, 1993, Academic Press/AP Professional, Cambridge, MA
ISBN 0-12-518406-9 (paper)

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