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The Prototyping Cycle

Figure 1–2 shows the iterative nature of the prototyping cycle.

The prototyping cycle can be used throughout the Web development cycle. Early on, we can develop paper prototypes and show them to the user. This helps us to get inside the mind of the user better than if we just ask abstract questions. We can use Macromedia Dreamweaver 3 to build a quick prototype that provides some interactivity, which helps the user express his or her ideas more clearly. So we see that a developer can build a prototype, test it with the user, modify the prototype based on the user's input, and continue this cycle, thereby helping to ensure a successful implementation. Additionally, the developer can test various prototype versions with the user and compare performance. For each alternative, how fast did the user perform and how many errors were made? In this way, the most efficacious alternative can be selected for further development. Prototyping is an excellent way to analyze and define the Web site's requirements.

Figure 1–2 The prototyping cycle.. (Source: Human Factors Curriculum, Learning and Performance Center, Lucent Technologies, 1999)

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