In this review, I'm going to talk first about the book itself and then give some comments that apply (so far) to all books published by Rosenfeld.
I a...moreIn this review, I'm going to talk first about the book itself and then give some comments that apply (so far) to all books published by Rosenfeld.
I am not going to give this book a rating because the rating varies between the audience. Beginning Prototypers: 5 stars. Experienced Prototypers: 3-ish stars. Personally, I like the book, find it useful, and certain parts of this book will be useful for future reference.
Prototyping: A Practitioner's Guide can be thought of in two main parts. First, Chapters 1-4 (inclusive) discuss some background on prototyping, general considerations, basically things to think about and know about prototyping in general. Chapters 5-11 discuss specific tools used to develop prototypes, and a very basic how to use those tools to develop prototypes. Finally, Chapter 12 discusses testing the prototype.
People new to prototyping will probably find the most value in this book. People who are seasoned practitioners in prototyping will probably find the first half useful (theory and practices), but not so much the second half (tools).
Each chapter on tools gives a quick "score card" (quick view of strength and weaknesses at a glance), discusses some strengths of the tool as well as some weaknesses. Additionally, a quick and simple step-by-step how to make a prototype for each tool is given.
One tool I find to be conspicuously absent is Adobe Flash. The author states that he chose not to discuss Flash because there are already a multitude of books dedicated to Flash. While I agree Flash is extremely well documented and there are many books on the topic, I think that Flash's popularity as a prototyping tool warrants at least a short chapter and discussion on using Flash specifically to prototype designs.
Reading books published by Rosenfeld is a very pleasant experience (I love Rosenfeld Media, they are my favorite publisher due to my user experience with their ebooks). The books are published in both ebook form and paper book form. The ebook, a pdf, was obviously designed to be read as an ebook. The font is large, clear, and easy to read on a variety of screen sizes. There are links within to book to relevant places online (e.g. All images link to a high-quality, CC licensed version on Flickr). These are truly the best laid out and thought out ebooks I have seen to date. Hopefully Rosenfeld starts a trend. The hard copy versions are printed on high-quality paper and are small enough to fit in a medium sized purse/bag.
All Rosenfeld books (that I've read) begin with how to use the book and frequently asked questions. The first chapter focuses on why you should employ a method (in this case prototyping) and why it's important--in addition to being informative, this first chapter seems to give the reader an arsenal for communicating with decision makers who might appreciate a solid rationale to spend time and money on whatever the topic of the book is.