Neil Gaiman on Feedback & Perfection

From Gotham Writers’ Workshop, celebrated author Neil Gaiman lists good writing practices – a couple of which apply nicely to prototyping with ProtoShare.

5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

When soliciting feedback, ask for it in ways that help your reviewers tell you what feeling they get when they see or interact with the prototype. Does it flow well? Is it confusing? Does it seem to take up too much time? These kinds of questions help increase the chance of getting feedback you can use, instead of specific comments on font selection and color choices.

Likewise, when giving feedback, do the same. Think about the overall feel of a web prototype and try to highlight areas where you get confused or frustrated and explain why. At this stage don’t worry about how to fix.

6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

Words to live by. A prototype can always be better. Or at least be different. Getting something done is the most important thing. After all, you want to actually build what you’ve been prototyping. Make sure you prototype just enough to communicate your ideas so you can gain buy-in and not over-prototype. It’s much better to have buy-in across many aspects of the project, with some details left to fill in, than it is to have one small area meticulously envisioned.

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