the evenings out here - Thoughts, rants and musings about absolutely everything except photography. Or cats.

Axure RP for prototyping

in Design & Usability , Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yesterday I discovered Axure RP, a piece of software which claims to "enable application designers to create wireframes, flow diagrams, prototypes and specifications for applications and web sites". Well, forgive me for a degree of skepticism, but I've heard it all before. But guess what ? It delivers everything it promises to, with style and grace. Axure RP is a totally wonderful application. SafariScreenSnapz002.jpg Since I downloaded the fully functional 30 day demo, I have managed to build the foundations of a prototype for a complex web application. It has full interactivity, it supports all sorts of extremely useful things such as re-usable functional blocks, and it is totally, but totally intuitive. I haven't explored all of Axure yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it delivers specification outlines in Word format - within the layout tool, I can add comments at page and component level, and on components I can specify priorities, risk, and several other characteristics. So we not only have an excellent visual brainstorming tool, but one which delivers useful reports as well. The only downside I've discovered so far is the lack of a manual of any kind. Sure, there is comprehensive online help, and the website has a range of tutorials and demos, but call me old-fashioned, but I still like to have a reference manual. Other than that, all I can say is that if you're working on application or web product design or usability, try it out. It is priced at $589, which is pretty reasonable considering its specialist nature. Oh, and remarkably for such a brilliantly designed piece of software, it is PC only. But it works fine within Parallels on Intel Macs.