Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Someone will start with an idea for a design. We create the designs without spending
time to make them look pixel-perfect, because Excel nearly automatically handles
alignments and styles. The prototypes are clear enough for everyone to understand
the ideas behind them. If some members of the design team are not available in
the same physical space, we share the Excel files over the Internet by using meeting
applications such as WebEx. Sometimes a participant tries to contribute an idea but
cannot explain it adequately, either because English is not his first language or
because he speaks a specialized domain language that not everyone understands.
In such cases, we hand over the Excel file to that person, who can quickly show us
in Excel what he is thinking. This way, when people are creating a real-time prototype,
misunderstandings and mismatches in expectations are immediately identified.
Excel can be an even more powerful tool to help clarify competing visions and
conceptual misunderstandings. When you create a prototype and distribute it to
stakeholders, the feedback you receive will immediately show you whether you have hit
the mark or not. With Excel, the advantage is that design team members can
annotate or correct designs by directly changing the Excel files. This eliminates the
dependency on a single gatekeeper prototyper or being limited to a prototyping
tool that few participants know. Moreover, sharing Excel prototypes levels the
playing field so everyone can contribute. People who are more visually oriented and
less articulate in meetings are empowered to visualize their ideas.
Presenting Excel Prototypes
Excel can display a worksheet that is many screens deep by using a scroll bar. This
can be a tremendous advantage if the content of your designs extends vertically
below the visible area of the screen. Rather than showing designs at a reduced size
or across multiple slides, as PowerPoint requires, you can present your designs in one
screen scaled at 100 percent. Having a scroll bar also mimics how a user would see
your design in a browser or perhaps as a client application. This single benefit can
outweigh the other display features that come with a presentation application, such
as PowerPoint.
Another form of collaboration is to have your prototype evaluated by internal
stakeholders and objective external reviewers. Just as with other prototypes, Excel
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