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1

Review of Axure RP Pro

The Q2 2006 issue of GUUUI is a review of the prototyping tool Axure RP Pro.

The good:
- Drag and drop widgets onto a grid (as you might know it from Visio)
- Generate prototypes in a format that behaves like real web pages (i.e. you can interact with forms and pages can scroll)
- Save time on repetitive changes by using custom widgets and templates
- Simulate rich interactivity by showing and hiding layers
- Automatically generate user interface specifications

The bad:
- You can't navigate your pages inside Axure by clicking links and buttons
- Somewhat expensive

Links:

Henrik Olsen - April 01, 2006

Permanent link Comments (2)

See also: GUUUI articles (9) 


 

2

Axure RP Pro

Axure have released a version 4 of their dedicated prototyping tool Axure RP Pro. The tool is a very strong competitor to Visio.

Some great features:
- It has a adopted the basic concept from Visio, where you drag and drop widgets onto a grid
- The interactive prototypes are generated in real HTML, meaning that they behave like real web pages (i.e. forms are interactive and pages can scroll)
- It can automatically generate specifications in Word format
- With its Masters you can create custom widgets and templates to reuse in your pages
- With its Dynamic Panels you can simulate rich interactions by showing and hiding layers in response to users' actions

I can't tell if Axure is better than Visio, since I haven't used it for a project yet. But it sure looks promising. Download the demo to decide for yourself.

Links:

  • The prototyping tool Axure RP Pro

Henrik Olsen - March 21, 2006

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See also: Tools (52) 


 

3

Online video interview with Jakob Nielsen

DevSource has published a nice 8-minute online video interview featuring Dr. Jakob Nielsen.

Nielsen addresses a wide range of topics, such as proper attitude for programmers, the importance of prototyping in design, and the reasons why PDF, Flash, and local search engines can hurt more than they help.

Links:

  • Online video interview with Jakob Nielsen

Henrik Olsen - March 17, 2006 - via WebWord

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See also: Interviews (10)  Search (24)  Usability testing (32) 


 

4

How to use PowerPoint for prototyping

Jensen Harris from Microsoft has posted a small practical tutorial on how to use PowerPoint for prototyping. Paste screenshots of the different interaction states into PowerPoint, use transparent shapes as link areas and put a static frame into the master background, so that you only need to put the interface elements which changes on each slide.

In Harris' opinion, the technique has several advantages compared to paper prototypes. Prototypes build in PowerPoint feel somewhat interactive, they can be modified more easily, and computer enabled prototypes feel more natural to usability test participants.

Of course, this method is rather primitive compared to prototyping with Visio.

Links:

  • Prototyping With PowerPoint

Henrik Olsen - February 27, 2006

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See also: Tools (52) 


 

5

Visio - the interaction designer's nail gun (2nd edition)

The Q1 2006 issue of GUUUI is a second edition of an article on using Visio for rapid prototyping for the web that was published at GUUUI back in Q3 2002. The new edition includes a new and improved version of the GUUUI Prototyping Tool for Visio 2003.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - January 15, 2006

Permanent link Comments (3)

See also: GUUUI articles (9) 


 

6

User-centred design cuts support calls by 90%

Here's a great case on how prototyping and early involvement of users pays off. Because McAfee made user interface design of their ProtectionPilot a prime directive, they ended up with a great product and received approximately one-tenth of the support calls that the company would expect.

The article lists 23 tips gleaned from McAfee and their design team.

Links:

  • Clean, cutting-edge UI design cuts McAfee's support calls by 90%

Henrik Olsen - October 17, 2005 - via Dey Alexander

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Cases and Examples (13)  Cost-justification and ROI (19)  Usability testing (32) 


 

7

The promised land of prototyping

While some might claim that prototyping isn't one of the wonders of the world, it's definitely a wonder of web and software development. The Q4 2005 issue of GUUUI takes a look at all the good that prototyping can do for us:

- The product is designed rather than left to chance
- We can externalize and develop ideas
- Legalizes experimentation and revisions
- Can make the intangible tangible
- We can satisfy clients' wish to see quick results
- We can take the client for a test drive
- We can reduce scope creep
- Makes early usability tests possible
- Improves team collaboration
- Improves cost-efficiency

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 13, 2005

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See also: GUUUI articles (9) 


 

8

Tools for Information Architects

The Information Architecture Institute has a nice section full of tools for Information Architects and Interaction Designers. You will find document and wireframing templates, process maps posters, presentations, introduction brochures, and other tools to help you in your practice.

Links:

  • The tools section at IA Institute

Henrik Olsen - August 25, 2005

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See also: Tools (52)  Personas (13) 


 

9

Defence of paper prototyping

Despite advances in prototyping technology paper prototyping is still Jared Spool's favourite approach.

The downside of computer based prototyping tools such as Visio, Dreamweaver and Acrobat is that:
- They are clumsy, time consuming and too cumbersome for producing rough designs
- You get bogged down with lining things up neatly and other micro-design activities that take time and tell us nothing about the design's effectiveness
- They are restrictive, since only one person at a time can update the interface

In Jared Spool's opinion the programs are great once the basic design elements are established, but for the initial round of tests, they are overkill and distracting.

Links:

  • The article Looking Back on 16 Years of Paper Prototyping

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2005

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10

Balancing fidelity in prototyping

Many web development teams build prototypes that are too resource-demanding. The Q3 2005 issue of GUUUI takes a look at how to make the right trade-off between graphic detail, the level of interactivity and the breadth and depth of features covered by the prototype.

The conclusion:
- Don't get carried away in making the prototype look pretty
- Keep interactivity at a medium to high level
- Don't compromise on breadth
- Compromise as much as you can on depth

Links:

Henrik Olsen - August 06, 2005

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: GUUUI articles (9) 


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