Paper Prototyping: The Surplus Merit of a Multi-Method Approach

  • Stephanie Bettina Linek ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
  • Klaus Tochtermann ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
Keywords: paper prototyping, multi-method approach, usability, evaluation, think-aloud, advanced scribbling, handicraft task


This article describes a multi-method approach for usability testing. The approach combines paper prototyping and think-aloud with two supplemental methods: advanced scribbling and a handicraft task. The method of advanced scribbling instructs the participants to use different colors for marking important, unnecessary and confusing elements in a paper prototype. In the handicraft task the participants have to tinker a paper prototype of their wish version. Both methods deliver additional information on the needs and expectations of the potential users and provide helpful indicators for clarifying complex or contradictory findings. The multi-method approach and its surplus benefit are illustrated by a pilot study on the redesign of the homepage of a library 2.0. The findings provide positive evidence for the applicability of the advanced scribbling and the handicraft task as well as for the surplus merit of the multi-method approach. The article closes with a discussion and outlook.



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Author Biographies

Stephanie Bettina Linek, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics

Stephanie B. LINEK works as media psychologist and usability expert at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics in Kiel, Germany. Her research interests are in multiple areas with special focus on evaluation and usability, media psychology, human-computer interaction (HCI), edutainment and infotainment, social media and Science 2.0.

Klaus Tochtermann, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics

Klaus TOCHTERMANN is the director of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and has an appointment as university professor for media informatics at the University of Kiel, Germany. His research interests are in knowledge management, Web 2.0 and Science 2.0 semantic technologies, and future Internet.

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