ActiveStory Enhanced Low-Fi Prototyping
Agile software development has been picking up momentum constantly over the least few years, however, as more companies and developers adopt agile methods, an unease regarding the lack of attention to usability concerns has also surfaced. Agile teams strive to produce high quality software for a minimum cost. They often are good at producing useful software – but sometimes usability takes a backseat.
ActiveStory is a tool developed for the purpose of designing and performing usability testing on an application in a manner that is inline with Agile principles. Our tool allows designers to sketch user interfaces, add interactions and finally export the design to the Internet via a built in web-based Wizard of Oz Testing system. Designers can use either a drawing tablet or tablet PC to further optimize the design experience and bring it closer to an actual pen and paper design feel.
ActiveStory Enhanced is an updated, .NET version of the original ActiveStory tool Active Story, both written here at the University of Calgary Agile Software Engineering lab. For more information about ActiveStory Enhanced see the Tool Description page.
The code for ActiveStory Enhanced (Designer and ASP.NET web-based Wizarod of Oz Tool) is available on CodePlex. An installer for the latest release (Beta 1) is available on the CodePlex release section. The solution will also be available on the Agile Software Engineering Lab’s SVN server shortly.
Feel free to use the tool and please provide feedback if you do.
Currently there is an issue with the Reports page for the Silverlight-based Wizard of Oz (WoZ) tool when it is hosted on an IIS server and being accessed from outside. This issue is currently being fixed. If you would like to use the Cassini web server option, you must download and install the UltiDev Cassini Web Server for ASP.NET 2.0 (available here: http://www.ultidev.com/download/RegisterAndDownload.aspx?ProductID=f6c8daed-8cc7-43fd-9da4-1f629b873a17. You can avoid using IIS that way, if you don’t have access to an IIS server or just want to use the WoZ tool locally. It will also work over the internet, however that isn’t recommended. IIS is recommended if you’re hosting the usability test site over the web.