Many of us (TAs/PMs and students) struggle with the concept of testing software or just how to prototype software. It is less concrete than physical prototyping and is harder to wrap your head around. You might say that you can’t test or can’t prototype something because it is software...think again!
We’ll compare it to a typical mechanical design cycle (not considering client involvement):
|Conceptual designs||Hand/computer drawn sketches||Hand/computer drawn sketches|
|Preliminary design||Rough CAD assemblies||Wireframe designs/flowchart|
|Detailed design||Fully defined CAD||High fidelity mockup/Initial coded software|
|Simulation/testing||CAD force/fluid simulations||UX simulation|
|Prototype 1||Manufactured part(s)||Functional coded software|
|Refined testing||Testing under load against metrics||Sub functions to test behavior of specific features against metrics|
In our GNG1103/2101 classes the cycle looks a little differently where you might have:
|Conceptual designs||Hand drawn sketches||Hand drawn sketches|
|Detailed design||Detailed sketches of sub-assemblies with some analysis||Wireframe designs/flowchart|
|Prototype 1||Cardboard prototype||High fidelity mockup/Initial coded software|
|Simulation/testing||Functional testing of prototype against metrics||UX simulation against metrics|
|Prototype 2/3||Assembled and functional prototype||Functional software|
When working in a team you will definitely want to share your files to work on things together. In mechanical GrabCad Workbench is a popular tool but in software GitHub is definitely an industry standard.
Here is an introduction to GitHub https://guides.github.com/activities/hello-world/
Here is a list of tools for UI and UX prototyping that could be useful and are very easy to use: https://blog.prototypr.io/top-20-prototyping-tools-for-ui-and-ux-designers-2017-46d59be0b3a9 (Figma, Balsamiq and Adobe XD are suggested which are free or free for students).
Ensure that when you design your UI for clients having accessibility needs, you take into considerations the colours you use.
- This website based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a great resource that was suggested by a client who works in accessibility!
- This website also has great infographics for dos and don'ts on designing for different accessibility groups.
- This University of Sussex page with a few pre-loaded colours can be a very useful tool for this as well. Notice how the uOttawa official backdrop colour scores well with white text.
Here is a list of platforms that require minimal coding experience to use:
- MIT app inventor (android apps only)
- Thunkable (android and iOS apps)
- Wix (website)
- Microsoft Power Apps (android, iOS and windows)
Here is a list of useful websites with code syntax and libraries which can help you get started:
Here is a list of other platforms for building apps or websites which you would need more coding experience to use: