Centigrade supported this year’s UXcamp Europe as a sponsor and also joined the very well attended event as a session contributor. UXcamp Europe has been taking place in Berlin on the 29th and 30th of May and focused on user experience topics such as information architecture, visual design, prototype engineering and alike. As the postfix „camp“ suggests, the event was organized and conducted as a BarCamp, i.e. an open and participatory unconference whose session planning and content is completely determined by the participants.
Due to the huge success of last year’s UXcamp Berlin, the organization team decided to make it an international event this year. This strategy indeed led to an even higher and more international attendance.
Centigrade’s Managing Director Thomas Immich contributed a session on how to reuse a user interface prototype in a real application without jeopardizing system architecture.
He shed light on the question why it becomes more and more important to create high-fidelity prototypes in order to evaluate the user experiences of modern interaction designs. One reason for this is the fact that natural user interfaces (NUIs), being centered around “broadband” interactions such as multi-touch and gestures, become more challenging from both a technical and conceptual point of view and therefore result in a less predictable user experience.
As high-fidelity prototyping usually is a time-consuming and expensive affair, it becomes more and more tempting to reuse existing high-fidelity prototypes in the actual application. This, however, can jeopardize the real application’s system architecture as the inner structure of UI prototypes is often very chaotic.
As a solution to the problem, he introduced the idea of “prototype recycling”: “When I speak of prototype recycling, I think of splitting a UI prototype into several different parts during design so that just some of these parts have to be thrown away while others are restructured so that they can be used in the actual system without harm. This idea heavily borrows from the refactoring process known from Software Engineering.”
To give a practical example, Thomas Immich showed how the prototyping tool Expression Blend from Microsoft® can be effectively leveraged by designers to build recyclable high-fidelity prototypes based on WPF or Silverlight. “Expression Blend provides everything that’s necessary to perform proper prototype recycling. The power to directly reuse in the real software most of the artifacts created by a designer leads to applications that match very closely with the actual design intentions. Richer, more engaging, more enjoyable user experiences are a natural consequence of this approach.” A detailed article on this topic can be read on the Centigrade website.
Thomas Immich’s session enjoyed great popularity and produced very positive feedback. In general, the feedback by participants after the UXcamp closing session reflected the great success of the event. Thomas Immich: “These were two really exciting days. Lots of competent and open UX practitioners, interesting and surprising sessions and discussions combined with nothing left to add from the culinary side. Thanks to the organization team for the outstanding work.”