It depends on the stage of development. I think it's important to do  
something on paper at some point, and I prefer a "medium grade"  
prototype which can be generated in something like OmniGraffle (Mac),  
Inspiration (Mac/Windows), Dia (Windows), Visio (Win), Illustrator or  
even Word/PowerPoint/Excel. I've had most success combining a flow  
chart/outline with prototype screens.

I can say from experience that if you create a Web-based prototype  
first, even if it's a wireframe, most people will be distracted by  
aesthetic issues and not focus on functionality or content. Another  
problem is that people may think you are presenting a final  
information architecture ( 
) when of course, you're not.

If it's static (and not too "beautiful"), people seem to understand  
that it is a tool for defining functinality/content and are more  
comfortable messing with it. I always bring paper copies for people to  
scribble on.

FYI - I've seen claims that you should always present pencil drawings  
only, but I prefer something digital so that edits and versions are  
easier to track. I think what's important is that the client feels  
comfortable scribbling on your prototype (I provide copies). In any  
case, it's still an iterative process.

My two cents.

Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Education Technology Services, TLT/ITS
Penn State University
[log in to unmask], (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

210 Rider Building  (formerly Rider II)
227 W. Beaver Avenue
State College, PA   16801-4819

           Tip of the Day: Postings must be in plain text
     CHI-WEB: POSTINGS: mailto:[log in to unmask]
              MODERATORS: mailto:[log in to unmask]