Paper prototyping made easier

Paper prototyping is a common usability technique to quickly test out an interaction before expending too much effort on programming or designing.  The value in paper prototyping is that with extremely low effort, you can test the interaction rather than the appearance of an interface.

I just came across a great iOS app that lets you add some real interactivity to your paper prototypes:  POP Prototyping on Paper.  You simply sketch out your screen, take a picture using your iPhone camera, and then add interactivity.  It’s a brilliantly simple idea.

 

Effective visualization of an ongoing process

What does pop music visualization and neural imaging techniques have in common?  Keep reading…You may have already seen this (i’m a little late) but have you ever wanted your favorite song to last forever?  Enter “The Infinite Jukebox“.

You upload your favorite MP3 (or select among recent uploads) and the site will analyze and parse the beats.  When you hit play it will smoothly jump to another part of the song that sounds similar so there is no end.  That alone is cool, but the visualization of the process of playing and more importantly jumping to another section is surprisingly effective.  When a possible beat intersection is reached, an arc spans the circle and (randomly) jumps or stays.

The effect works best for some songs and not others.  You can get a nice at-a-glance view of the global organization of the song (highly locally repetitive like Daft Punk) or more globally repetitive (like a typical highly structured pop song):

It is probably by design that these diagrams look just like connectomes that map the neural pathways in the brain:

More on the circular diagrams of connectomes and the software used to make them (Circos).

HF/Usability Potpourri

It’s the return of HF/Potpourri: