Sketching & Paper Prototyping Technique

by Kris

I know many are asking themselves what paper prototyping is. Paper prototyping is a procedure used to increase the user’s involvement of a website. This technique encompasses the creation of rough, handy sketches and illustrations of an interface used as a prototype of a plan. Paper prototyping is much easier and it can bring better ideas resulting in the best product design.

Paper Prototyping Technique

Paper prototyping invention was in the mid-1980s and became popular in the 1990s after companies such Microsoft, IBM, Honeywell, and others commenced using this method in their product development. Currently, usability professionals are widely using paper prototyping. Companies such as Pidoco are advocating for the use of digital paper prototyping due to its litheness and cost-effectiveness.

Paper prototyping application is simple. All you are required is a paper, marker pen, and several adhesive notes. Many about are worried of drawing but I know everyone is capable to draw, so let drawing not worry you.

Execution of Paper Prototyping Technique

Many of you think paper prototyping execution is difficult but let me a sure you that it is the simplest thing to do. Before executing you should have more than one person. This is the following procedures used in executing this technique:

  • You have to sit down in front of a graphical user interface paper and ensuring that they are interacting with it.
  • Then the end-user is given a particular task while the observers take summaries.
  • Possibly a camera may be used in recording as the procedure continues.

It is also important to note that during executing paper prototyping ideas need to create faster and assessed within a short period.  Also, the following are necessary during application:

  1. Usability Test

Paper prototyping technique can be used for a usability test with real people. This test requires the user to completely interact by performing a genuine task. This helps to determine the user’s issues early in the design process. Notably, there are three methods used in usability testing. They include;

  • Compositions
  • Wireframes
  • Storyboards

Compositions are visual representations, majorly of websites, that show several features of the interface including logos, fonts, and colors. A wireframe is used in demonstration of the interface’s page layout. Finally, storyboards are images used in the demonstration on how the interface works. These methods are important and can be used in making of paper prototypes.

  1. Design Testing Design Testing

Paper prototyping is more useful in web designing. A highly-fidelity design mockup of a page is printed and presented to a user. The user is asked to pinpoint the key steering, clickable elements and many other features in the design.

  1. Information Architecture

Paper prototype general application leads to information architecture of a software or a website testing. Users undertaking the test are asked if they can a certain the functionality or settings of either the website or software. More often this method it produces many correct answers which can be further improved on.

Information Architecture

Pros of Paper Prototyping

According to the ultimate guide to prototyping, paper prototyping has the following advantages:

  • Slight Learning Curve

Anyone is capable of sketching, this makes paper prototyping a great way to interact other departments such as participation of stakeholders, marketing, or expansion.

  • Cheap

All the tools used in paper prototyping are more affordable hence does not need much money.

  • Team Building

You should not underrate the importance of art and craft in the business surroundings. Sketching, cutting and pasting together can build a united team and raise morale.

  • Quick Repetition

During paper prototyping, an individual can sketch as many drawing as possible while throwing them without wastage of time.

  • Spontaneous Filing

Paper prototypes are touchable documents. Notes are written during documentation of the various sketches to act as reminders of what was being done.

Cons of Paper Prototyping

  • Incorrect Response

What should you possess for a good paper prototype? Ideal imagination is the key to a good product, but all this can be lost when prototyping. This can lead to feedbacks that do not reflect your desired prototype.

  • Additional Steps

Is paper prototyping essential? Today most users are prototyping using applications which are faster. They prefer these to paper prototyping because you only spend less time, hence many users see paper prototyping as time wasting.

Best Time for Paper Prototyping

Paper prototyping has received a lot of criticism from Google Ventures’ Jake Knapp. But Knapp later admits that paper prototyping is important in design.

Apart from its simplicity, automatic filling and speed make paper prototyping best suited for testing new designs than other forms of prototyping.

Best Time for Paper Prototyping

When is paper prototypes ultimate?  When presenting your designs on a board meeting paper prototyping is more applicable. Also when beginning a usability test. Btu as you move further in designing, paper prototyping becomes less operational. The exemption is when you are looking for a different experimental deviation in the advanced stages.

Best Paper Prototyping Resources

Here are the best resources and tools that can help you in paper prototyping.

  • Prototyping on Paper – prototyping on paper permits creators to add interactivity to current photos of drawings but particular for smartphone applications.
  • Sneakpeekit – Outlines downloadable in different devices.
  • UXPin – Our joint UX application permits you to upload photos of the paper prototype, improve fast interactions, and then a get response from remote team affiliates.
  • UI Stencil – An electronic store committed to paper prototyping properties, comprising stencils of common icons, pads, instruction books, and fixtures.
  • Paper prototyping written by Carol Snyder – This is one of the best books on paper prototyping.


If you are starting a project I think paper prototyping is the best tool to use. Paper prototyping helps much concerning user interface design. The use of paper prototyping is so fast and is cost-effective, even when leading tests. Before discovering paper prototyping we had incurred a lot of losses using other complex forms of prototyping.

This technique is beneficial regarding that it has no impact on the ultimate graphic design of the graphical user interface. Paper prototyping is actual rather than being fascinating and practical for day to day businesses.


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