7 August 2007

PDF prototypes: mistakenly disregarded and underutilised

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PDF prototype
Kyle Pero Soucy, founding principal of Usable Interface argues in a long article on Boxes and Arrows that creating a clickable PDF to prototype a new design is is a valuable tool that is often overlooked and underutilised.

“While working over the years with other designers, information architects and usability professionals, I’ve noticed that many of my colleagues believe the same fallacies about the limitations of PDFs. Contrary to popular belief, you can do more than just create links and interactive forms with PDFs; you can also add dynamic elements such as rollovers and drop-down menus, embed audio and video files, validate form data, perform calculations and respond to user actions. PDF prototypes have the ability to replicate most interactive design elements without investing a lot of time and effort.”

In her article, Pero Soucy debunks five common misconceptions about PDF’s, using examples to the contrary …

  • Misconception #1: Dynamic elements cannot be created in a PDF.
  • Misconception #2: PDFs are only good for prototyping page-based applications.
  • Misconception #3: PDFs cannot include multimedia.

… and then describes in detail how to create PDF prototypes.

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