The Blank-Page Technique: Reinvigorating Paper Prototyping in Usability Testing

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Arguably, usability testing is most effective when integrated into the user-centered design process. One ideal way to encourage this kind of integration is to re-emphasize the value (and flexibility) of paper prototyping. This usability testing method enables users to be proactive producers of the product, and, therefore, key contributors to the design process. In a recent case study, we married low fidelity paper prototyping with medium fidelity wireframe prototyping. The focus of our research was a university library web site. Fifteen users representing three client-defined groups (faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students) performed a series of tasks using a wireframe prototype of the new library web site. In those instances where user navigation led to non-existing pages or dead-ends, users were encouraged to create, either by writing or drawing, what they thought should be where there was currently nothing. By employing this blank-page technique, we acquired insights into use
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-157
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
StatePublished - Jun 2010


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