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First you have a wide navigation structure in which the main pages are listed horizontally: A wide site navigation has primary links always accessible. In a wide navigation system, the main pages are all visible together and for small sites, this is often a logical choice. With the navigation bar on every page the user can easily jump to any of the main pages with a single click. The disadvantage of a wide navigation structure is that there may be limits to how much information can easily be displayed if there are too many categories.

You are limited by the width of the screen and must also remember that if you present too many options, the site may overwhelm or confuse the user. An alternative method for organizing content is deep navigation, which simplifi es the main navigation and then groups related pages into categories. A deep site navigation has fewer primary links and more secondary and tertiary links. Common solutions to this problem include drop-down menus and secondary navigation menus. The fi rst time a user experiences your site may not be through the home page, but from a search engine result or a link to an internal page on your site from another website or from a Twitter feed or a Facebook post.

Every page on your site now becomes a home, needing to welcome users into your site. Although this shifts the role of the home page, it also shows the importance of understanding why users are coming to your sites and why you need to provide them clear navigational structure and content that helps them fi nd what they need.

The role of usability testing Usability testing is related to, but distinct from, the fi eld of design. Usability testing is the process of evaluating how users interact with a website. It often involves giving a user a task to complete on a given site and then observing how well they complete the task, whether they can complete it.

How to design low-fidelity digital wireframes

If a user encounters diffi culty or is confused by the process, these problems are noted and solutions are then tested and integrated into the site. The goals of web design Lesson 1, Planning Your Website 19 1 A common problem with usability testing is that it often occurs too late in the design process. If you have users test the site after you have built it completely, the feedback may be useful but you may need to discard work that you have already completed.

For example, if you have completely built a site using a wide navigation, and testing shows you need to revise it to use deep navigation, this will be more diffi cult if you have already built all your pages and created the graphics. To better understand how usability testing works, try the following exercise with another person, putting them in the role of the user and yourself in the role of the tester. Most usability tests ask users to speak their thoughts out loud and they are recorded in order to capture the information.

These could be emotions, feelings, memories, places, or anything else the colors bring to your mind. Feel free to move around the page by scrolling, but do not click on anything right now. These questions give you a sense of how a usability test works. The next step would be to give the user specifi c tasks, and pay attention to how they perform them. As you can see, observing users, their reactions, the decisions they make, and any obstacles they encounter is vital to usability testing. For a greater understanding, review the resources below. Usability Resources Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug This book provides you with the philosophy and the techniques you can use to integrate simple usability testing into your design process.

User Interface Engineering Although this is a usability fi rm that specializes in research, training, and consulting, their website provides free articles that can help you understand the role of usability, as well as useful tips. If you begin designing visuals or building pages before you are prepared, you may end up discarding your original work. By using wireframes, mockups, and prototypes.

Making changes before writing code and creating graphics allows you to make changes more quickly and is less costly and more effi cient. Whether or not you use all three models generally depends on the size of the project. Larger projects that incorporate complicated elements, such as connection to a database, or use multiple features, will benefi t from using all three models. Wireframes Wireframes are typically created in black and white or shades of gray, using placeholders for images. Wireframes avoid the visual design of the site and are more concerned with the organization of the content and features.


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You can create a wireframe in a program like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Fireworks, Microsoft Visio, or Omnigraffl e, or even by using a sketch on paper or a whiteboard. A wireframe does not need to be interactive, and is a fast way to start a conversation between designers, developers, clients, and other members who are involved in a project. Wireframes use elements such as shapes, lines, and text to begin structuring a web page.

Mockups Mockups are sometimes the result of wireframes, although it is possible to skip the wireframing step for less-complex sites. You can create them in an image editor such as Photoshop. You create mockups to begin exploring the visual elements of a site, such as the user interface elements such as buttons and navigation bars, typography, layout, and imagery like photographs and illustrations. Some designers prefer to create two or three diff erent The goals of web design Lesson 1, Planning Your Website 21 1 styles for clients or collaborators to review.


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  6. In some cases, the fi nal assets in a mockup might be used directly in the fi nished application. Prototypes Prototypes are usually built for demonstration purposes. They diff er from mockups and wireframes because they show functionality and often demonstrate how the user interacts with elements on a page. For example, if a website will have a shopping cart, a prototype would help defi ne the way the cart will function once it is completed. Aspects of the shopping cart that may be impossible or diffi cult to display as an image such as animation, response time, or what happens when a user removes an item from the cart are ideal candidates for a prototype.

    This prototype was created using Microsoft Sketchfl ow.. For example, page mockups created in Photoshop are static so they cannot demonstrate how text on the page refl ows or how a navigation menu expands and collapses. Wireframes have similar problems because they are not interactive. Wireframing and prototyping software has evolved over the years, and a new breed of software and web applications are making the interactive prototyping possible.

    These include elements such as rollover buttons, working form elements, the ability to update common page elements quickly, and simple animation. Interactive prototyping resources Following are some prototyping and wireframe software resources. Most of these programs are available in trial versions, so you can compare and evaluate them based on your needs. Microsoft SketchFlow SketchFlow is an application designed specifi cally for prototyping.

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    In addition to a built-in library of interactive controls, it also allows you to add animated components and data-driven user-interface elements. SketchFlow also features a feedback system that allows team members and clients to add comments to a prototype and then deliver that feedback to the creator. Sketchfl ow is currently included with the Expression Blend software. If you are a full time student, you can obtain a free copy of the Expression software at DreamSpark. For example, it includes a Pages feature that builds multi-page documents and generates multi-page HTML elements that are specifi cally for the web.

    It also includes templates for wireframes, mobile devices, and grid systems, among others. This is a complete system that allows you to build wireframes and prototypes using standard print layout techniques. The goals of web design Lesson 1, Planning Your Website 23 1 Be creative during the planning process The planning stage can be a fun part of the site creation process, because this is where you can propose those crazy ideas that may never make it onto the fi nal site.

    You want to avoid limiting yourself, as there will be time for a reality check once the designing and coding begins! Keep in mind that in the early stages of site development, collaboration is important.

    Low-fidelity prototyping of gesture-based applications

    Whether it involves user testing or receiving feedback from a wireframe, if you learn how to collaborate and incorporate good ideas into your design, your fi nal product will benefi t. You are unlikely to get concepts right the fi rst time. Try not to take it personally when this happens. That mockup you worked on all day really may not be a good fi t for the project.

    If you can keep an open mind, and collaborate with others, your design will ultimately be stronger. You may even fi nd that ideas rejected from one project might be a good fi t for some future site. Research popular recipe websites.

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    How do they organize their large collection of recipes? What did you learn that you might apply to a site like SmoothieWorld? Review Questions 1 What is the diff erence between a wireframe, mockup, and prototype? Answers 1 A wireframe is a diagram or sketch of a web page that focuses on structure and layout, not visual elements such as color or graphics. A mockup is a visual representation of a page that includes font choices, colors, layout, and images. A prototype may contain elements of wireframes or mockups but is primarily concerned with demonstrating the interaction between a user and the site.

    A web designer would take this feedback and improve the site design as needed.

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    Starting up You will work with several fi les from the web02lessons folder in this lesson. Make sure you have loaded the weblessons folder onto your hard-drive from www.

    See Lesson 2 in action! This lesson focuses on understanding the structure and function of the Internet and the World Wide Web. Understanding these systems will help you deliver your web design projects more eff ectively. The Internet and World Wide Web domain names The Internet is based on the fundamental concept that all computers should be able to reach each other using an address.

    A user anywhere in the world who had access to the Internet could connect to a server and Berners-Lee dubbed it the World Wide Web, and his program was a simple version of the fi rst web browser. Web browsers and the information available have evolved greatly, but the technical concepts have not changed. Researchers such as Berners-Lee appreciated the instant access to documents, and the World Wide Web was used at fi rst primarily by academics for research purposes. Commercial uses of a web browser displaying text and graphics quickly evolved.

    In there were a mere handful of websites in existence, and a short fi ve years later, there were over six million websites in existence.

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    Although not technically the fi rst web browser, the Mosaic browser released in triggered the popularity of websites worldwide. Domain names and hosting Domain names help users fi nd their way around the Internet. You already know domain names because they are commonly surrounded by www on the front and.

    Domains can also include various endings such as. Instead of typing the IP address A DNS on the Internet converts your requested domain into the appropriate IP address, which routes your request to the appropriate web server. It generally runs either a version of Microsoft Windows Web Server or UNIX, but it may have additional processing power and redundant systems to handle traffi c from thousands of users at the same time.


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