Posts reviewed:

  • Don’t make the Demo look Done by The Creating Passionate Users blog
  • The Iceberg Secret, Revealed by Joel Spolsky

The bottom line:

How ‘done’ something looks should match how ‘done’ something is.

In more details:

  • Customers don’t understand that software isn’t pixels of an user interface. Otherwise they would be programmers.
  • Thus showing customers a prototype/mockup/preview sets their expectations.
  • Important Corollary One. If you show a nonprogrammer a screen which has a user interface that is 90% worse, they will think that the program is 90% worse.
  • Important Corollary Two. If you show a nonprogrammer a screen which has a user interface which is 100% beautiful, they will think the program is almost done.
  • Important Corollary Five. When you’re showing off, the only thing that matters is the screen shot. Make it 100% beautiful.

Also, take into account that

The more “done” something appears, the more narrow and incremental the feedback.

In other words, to get more general feedback (e.g. about software and UI structure), make it more fuzzy.

See how it works for an html:

  • Keeping the cruft out of your release by 37signals
  • Matching design sketches to the desired level of design feedback by http://miksovsky.blogs.com

For Java SWIG:

  • Napkin Look and Feel