The ubiquity of smartphones in our lives has generated a booming market for mobile cell phone applications. This rapid expansion has created an increasing need for the development of functional prototypes for these applications that mimic, as accurately as possible, the behaviour of the final product, in order to be able to perform usability tests.
This poses a problem, as the general lack of technical skills of the usability experts, who usually design these prototypes, conflicts with the need of writing code to produce prototypes that have complex functionalities. On top of this, the usually used tools to perform this kind of tasks often possess, themselves, major usability flaws. Our proposed solution for this problem is twofold. On the one hand, we will develop a tool that allows HCI experts to visually develop complex prototypes with advanced back end functionality that minimizes the need of writing code. On the other hand, we will try to make this tool as usable as possible, by performing a four-stage study of the most popular approaches to several design environment problems that allows us to create a new design methodology for these kinds of cases.
To sum up, we propose to create a tool that enables HCI specialists with minimal technical skills to quickly, efficiently and cheaply develop high quality functional mobile prototypes.
Author: Augusto Soares
Type: MSc thesis
Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto