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Excel prototypes and realized that there was no benefit in continuing with
Dreamweaver. I then decided to abandon my Dreamweaver efforts and fall back to
proofing the Excel prototypes that were still being updated on a daily basis.
My First Attempts with Excel
Soon after my involvement with the project ended, I decided to find out more
about using Excel for prototyping. Mark gave me a 15-minute explanation on
how he used Excel. As he explained the concept to me, I immediately saw how
really quick and simple it was. A light bulb flashed on in my head and I had one
of those
epiphanies. I returned to my office with visions of Excel prototypes
dancing in my head and quickly got to work.
Got it!
After experimenting with Excel and making my own prototypes, I quickly realized
that it was the simplest of Excel's rich feature set that made it so compelling for
rapid prototyping. To build a prototype did not involve complicated Excel features
such as coding or writing macros. Most of what I was doing was simple copying,
pasting, coloring table cells, creating borders, and typing in text. It became
apparent that what makes Excel an excellent spreadsheet application also helps make
it a great prototyping application. The grid of rows and columns could be modified
for prototyping purposes, making alignment of graphics and text a snap. Excel
could easily handle imported graphics and allowed the ability to create simple
graphics with its built-in set of tools. The tabbed worksheets could contain a large
number of pages, allowing me to keep all my designs and design elements for a
project in one file. The hypertext feature could be used to link the different pages
together. Within a single Excel file I had the all the screen designs I created for
my prototypes, all linked together to allow simulation of interactivity and
navigation. Once I completed my prototype, I could then send the file or allow access
to it anywhere in the world for viewing, collaboration, and design feedback.
I decided to build a test case of the Excel prototyping environment by creating a
template based on the PeopleSoft interface. I was trying to spread my ideas by
showing the template to various groups within PeopleSoft. There had been interest
from developers who were already experts in Excel and saw it as an easy way to
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