I was involved in the development of several decision support systems (DSS) while working as a consultant. On one project, a future user was frustrated because he could not imagine what a DSS looked like and how one would be used. He was a key user, but the project team had a difficult time involving him in the project because of his frustration. The team used SQL Windows (one of the most popular development tools at the time) to create a language prototype that demonstrated the future systems appearance, proposed menu system, and screens (with fields, but no processing).
The team was amazed at the user's response to the prototype. He appreciated being given a context with which to visualize the DSS, and he soon began to recommend improvements to the design and flow of the system, and to identify some important information that was overlooked during the analysis phase. Ultimately, the user became one of the strongest supporters of the system, and the project team felt sure that the prototype led to a much better product in the end. Barbara Wixom

1. Why do you think the team chose to use a language prototype rather than a storyboard or HTML prototype?
2. What trade-offs were involved in the decision?

  • CreatedMarch 13, 2013
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