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Paper Prototypes

When it comes to planning a technology application, you can't beat low tech. Given that I run a web technology company clients are often surprised that I rarely use my computer when planning a user interface. Instead I opt to create paper prototypes using a pen, paper, scissors and scotch tape. There are a number of reasons why this just works better.

First and foremost, there's nothing faster than sketching things out. While some people may agree that it's fast, they may say it's less efficient because you have to get everything right the first time - however with scissors and scotch tape you can pick and choose what you want, adding and combining elements easily. NOTE: previously I just used scissors and left elements floating so that I could share them between pages, however after a lot of experimenting I've found it's better to fix things in place... lest a brisk wind come along and set you back 10 to 15 minutes.

Outside of speed, very few things are more visceral and easier for a client (or co-worker) to relate to than a paper prototype. Using a pen and paper, you take several things out of the equation that often hang people up. Color is not an issue and neither is font treatment. People who might otherwise feel they can't participate can start weighing in, making them feel like they are more part of the process and helping to gain buy in.

Date posted: April 1, 2008


Very good post, thanks a lot.

You are totally welcome.

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About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a 20+ year technology veteran helping to lead businesses in the move to the Cloud. He frequently speaks on panels about the future of tech ranging from IoT and Machine Learning to the latest innovation in the entertainment industry.  He has helped to modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Wind Power, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers & the Linux Foundation.

As the CEO and Founder of Metal Toad, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, his primary job is to "get the right people in the room".  This one responsibility is cross-functional and includes both external business development functions as well as internal delegation and leadership development.

A UCLA alumni, he also serves in the community as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Stand for Children Oregon - a public education political advocacy group. As an outspoken advocate for entry-level job creation in tech he helped found the non-profit, P4TH, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and is in the process of organizing an Advisory Board for the Bixel Exchange, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides almost 200 tech internships every year.


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