by Morgan Strauss
We’ve all heard the adage measure twice, cut once. In the world of controllers, it means using low-fi prototypes to create optimal functionality before the finishing touches are put on. Take keypads for example. Temporary labels can be taped next to the buttons to let the end user live with the proposed solution for a period of time. Changes to labels and programming are easily made, and once everything is to the client’s liking, then the keypad buttons can be engraved. Obviously, this is a bit more difficult with a touchscreen, but you can still utilize a prototyping process. I would suggest using paper or wireframe prototypes that are easy to change and manipulate. In addition, they focus the end user’s attention on function instead of aesthetics. This is an important point. It is understandable to not want to show your client anything ugly, but using stylish prototypes can work against you. What often happens is the end user’s review quickly turns to color and style rather than functionality. At this early stage, aesthetics should not be taken into consideration. So take them completely out of the equation until you define the most important part: functionality. Once the flow is defined, it’s much easier to focus on making it look good.