Proof of Concept

After we know what we want to do and in what order we need to do it, we make sure our ideas will fly. Usually, we create a “proof of concept” version of a site that employs code, markup, and graphics from already completed sites to prove to ourselves, our bosses, and to other important people outside our company (such as our publisher or customers) that our ideas work and we know what we're doing. More important, we give our intended audience a glimpse of our content, layout, and navigation so that those target users have a chance to react and respond to our approach early in the development process (when making changes and adding functionality or content is easiest).

It's not uncommon for a proof of concept to require new graphics and new markup; at this stage, we create them as quickly as possible using only standard tools (we talk about those tools in the “Lots of Hard Work” section later in this chapter). Quick productions of missing items are simply crude representations of what we really want. We don't like to waste time up-front to develop high-quality objects because they'll often be removed or changed in the final version. Basically, we build place-holders for everything. At this point, the only useful thing about our Web construct is that it works and it provides a view of our primary concepts, designs, and navigation techniques.

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