UX Paper prototyping: Pros and consadmin
What is UX Paper Prototyping?
Paper prototyping works best during the early design stages where UX teams collaborate to explore many concepts fast. Team members sketch ideas by hand using simple lines, shapes, and text. The emphasis is on lots of ideas and speed, not aesthetics.
UX Teams lay paper screens on the floor, table, or pinned to a board to simulate user flows. A common practice for testing these prototypes is to have one person play “the product,” switching the sketches according to how the user behaves.
A low visual/low functional UX paper prototype.
Advantages of Paper Prototypes
Fast — You can sketch a prototype in minutes, which is why paper works so well for testing lots of ideas. You can draw a prototype quickly (even during a brainstorming meeting), so you haven’t wasted more than a few minutes if an idea falls flat.
Inexpensive — You only need a maker pen and paper to create prototypes, making the process cheap and accessible.
Team-building — UX Paper prototyping is a collaborative effort, and often teams have fun coming up with fresh ideas. It’s a fantastic team-building exercise, and these free-thinking sessions often inspire creativity.
Documentation — Team members can keep physical copies of UX paper prototypes, notes, and todos for quick reference during future iterations.
Disadvantages of Paper Prototypes
Unrealistic — No matter how skilled the art or craftsmanship, paper prototypes will never be more than hand-drawn representations of a digital product. So, while they’re quick to draw, paper prototypes produce little or no results when testing with end-users.
False positives — Sometimes, paper prototypes don’t validate ideas properly. What seems like a good idea on paper might not work effectively in a digital wireframe.
No gut reactions — Paper prototypes rely on the user’s imagination, adding a break between seeing the stimulus and responding to it. That “gut” reaction is crucial for a successful UX.
Considering these advantages and disadvantages, we recommend paper prototyping only during early-stage design. Once you move from paper to digital, there shouldn’t be any reason to revisit hand-sketched prototypes for the same designs or user flows. If you want expert solutions for your unique problems you can check out our custom UI & UX services here.
To know more about the different types of prototypes and their benefits, you can check here.