in Prototyping

Re-discovering the ProtoNotes Prototype Annotation Tool

Todd Warfel, by way of a comment he made on my recent article on B&A, re-introduced me to ProtoNotes. I remember hearing of it a year or so ago and thought it seemed an interesting concept, but then sort of wrote it off because it only worked in IE :(

But apparently ProtoNotes was re-launched a few months back, and now seems to be a far more palatable and potentially useful service. On the plus side, it’s a very simple concept. You essentially register with the website, after which they send you a JavaScript snippet that you can then just drop into the header of your XHTML prototype. Then, when viewing your prototype, you get a nice toolboar on top, where you can add new notes, view current notes, as well is view a list of all notes applied to that template. And maybe most important of all, you can hide the toolbar, so as to not confuse non-technical users who might think that the ProtoNotes toolbar is part of your design. There are also a few customization options, including the ability to store your notes in your MySQL database.

The one huge drawback that I see with the current version of the concept is that it is a hosted service. In other words, let’s say I’m showing my prototype to a client and, for whatever reason, the ProtoNotes site is down, and without warning my annotations aren’t accessible. Not good. For that reason, it seems me that ProtoNotes should optionally be made available as downloadable and locally installable package, eliminating the dependency on the service.

I also think there could be a non-branded version that would be available for purchase. (I.e. that doesn’t have the ProtoNotes logo on it.)

Overall, though, I think it’s a really great concept.

  1. Anders , I agree with this article 100%. I must admit t00, the ability to hide the protonote menu bar is a plus. I had a website with some pretty non technical users and they were able to “get” it.
    I really believe the company should look at a “priced” unbranded service. I for one would certainly use it.

Comments are closed.