One of the unexpected but incredibly valuable discussions that came out of the “protoFarm” workshop we put on a few months bask was the debate about decisions about prototype fidelity. My take on it, as I stated in my earlier post about lightweight prototyping is….. it depends. You should be asking yourself that question while keeping several things in mind:

.Define your goals

Where are you at in the project cycle? Delivering wireframes, testing the UI, conveying transitions, etc? Whatever the goal is, the point is to think about what you need to convey to the client or to your dev team and focus on the best solution for the milestone in front of you.

.But…. what tool? There’s so many to choose from

I tend to use clickable prototypes built in Adobe InDesign for expediting wireframe review and providing developers with and interactive design spec. There’s a slew of other options including HTML, Flash, Axure,  iRise, Fireworks, OmniGraffle and wait for it……good ol’ pen & paper.

Do you need a platform that generates specifications from the prototype and provides built-in collaboration? If so, then  perhaps Axure is the tool for you.

If you don’t need those integrated features, then you can look at thinner solutions like InDesign, Fireworks or OmniGraffle.

If you’re kicking off a project then nothing works better than pen, paper and a healthy supply of your favorite caffeinated beverage.

Regardless of the tools I’ve listed and missed, the point is that you should set a goal for yourself to understand your project and client well enough that you have a good feel for, at a baseline:

A) Context
B) Your skill set
C) Budget
D) Client Type

.Clearly, there’s a ton of things to consider in this discussion. What goes through your mind after reading this?