Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Protonotes - Hacked!

Protonotes got "hacked" a couple days ago. I usually drop in on the test page to clean things up occassionally when I saw the ingenious craftsmanship of an earlier visitor:

You gotta love old school ASCII art. And bonus points for Homer - with an ax. The caption reads "You've been HACKED! D'oh!"

Anyway, I switched the font to Arial (not a fixed-width font), which should make it tougher to mess with. I've seen much more inappropriate stuff done in ASCII art.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kind Words

Since I've relaunched Protonotes a little over a month ago, I've gotten some great feedback including feature suggestions, bugs, and just kind words. I've toiled on making Protonotes work cross-browser, including many late nights, and it's really nice to hear some good things about what I created. So I'm taking the indulgence right now to stop and smell the roses:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Power of the HTML/CSS Prototype

37signals had an interesting post earlier this month about how they skip Photoshop and jump straight to html/css from a rough sketch. I agree with this philosophy in principle. Once you start cutting the material that you'll ultimately deliver your product in, your working on something real. Real has dates, and quality, and tangible progress. And once your in the html, tools like Protonotes, CrazyEgg, and Google Website Optimizer can make your prototype that much more.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Integration with Basecamp

I'm considering integrating Protonotes with Basecamp. Basecamp has an API that lets you tie into its functionality. I'd set it up so that notes that you add to your Prototype with Protonotes automatically create items on your Basecamp to-do list. What do you think?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Power of Sticky Notes

Kate Rutter of Adaptive Path has a great presentation on the problem solving power of stickies. She describes how to use the baked-in simplicity of sticky notes to quickly work ideas through groups. While she refers to physical sticky notes, I think the simplicity maps over to the virtual sticky notes of Protonotes.

Discussions around prototypes should be an open, unstructured dialogue. Just as a prototype should be able to be changed quickly, the conversation around it should be freeform. The informality of a sticky note in direct context of a prototype is a great combo.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Protonotes has relaunched

It's just about 1 year since I originally launched Protonotes. It was a decent service but required IE because I made it as an HTML application - a .hta. I chose to go that route rather than browser plugin or bookmarklet because I know that project teams would never be able to get everyone on their team to install or sign up for anything. With the .hta, you could just email out a link and as long as the user had IE installed, it would work.

It seemed so nice except for that one little IE thing. But I've come to see the light. Web designers and developers use Safari and Firefox. So the new Protonotes works on all the major browsers. But I still know that you can't get your project team members to install anything. So I chose to rewrite Protonotes so that you can install it on your prototype by just copying and pasting a few lines of JavaScript. Within a couple minutes you can activate Protonotes on your prototype so that anyone on your team can add "sticky" notes to it. If you're already using Protonotes as a .hta, you can still do so - it's backwards compatible.