Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Much to his surprise, the designers opened Microsoft Excel and used a template file
to implement his designs. The file looked like nothing he had ever seen in Excel
before. The spreadsheet grid was changed into a layout grid, and the worksheets
resembled software window layouts rather than spreadsheets. He learned in the
session how, by using only copy and paste commands, the designers could quickly
create his basic window layout. In fact, within the hour the two designers finished
the work he needed and gave him an Excel file with his designs.
Back at his own office, the developer was satisfied with the results until he realized
that there were some functions that had been neglected. At first he thought he had
to wait until the next Friday for another appointment with the designers. But when
he opened the Excel file and realized that, because he had used Excel before to create
spreadsheets, he was very familiar with the software's features. With no more training
than that short session with the designers, he started to add the missing functionality.
Within the Excel file he found worksheets with the widgets and buttons he needed
and even a worksheet of instructions. He found it easy to copy buttons and to add fields
and text. He made a few mistakes, but C TRL -Z always undid them. In fact, he learned, as
with normal Excel use, that C TRL -Z undid and C TRL -Y redid multiple steps. This allowed
him to make changes, back up, and go forward to compare his changes before
committing to them. No one taught him this prototyping technique; he stumbled on it by
exploring the skills he had already learned with Excel for creating spreadsheets.
After what he thought of as playing around, he realized that he had put the
finishing touches on his prototype and had something to show product management.
Without thinking about it, the developer became an Excel prototyper and had
produced a good enough prototype of his application screens within an hour.
This topic will share with you this developer's experience with the simplicity and
ease of Excel prototyping. Having worked in many companies and seen how using
Excel as a prototyping tool helped designers, developers, and product managers
better express their requirements, we feel that we have the experience with Excel
prototyping to empower you as well.
This topic is about how to prototype with Excel (or another spreadsheet application
with similar functionality).