P is for prototype. Prototype is for a manager.
In case you wonder why the prototypes are on everybody’s A-list, we’ll try to give the long and the short of it.
Prototyping software is the link between the creative idea and the ultimate product. Photoshop has been reigning in the UX / UI design domain for quite a while, but now surveys show that this most famous graphic editor has started to lose its leadership among developers.
Developers are always open to new tools aimed at facilitating their work and the process of conceptualization, prototyping and design of digital products. Thus, let’s have a close-up of 5 most popular prototyping instruments:
Oh wait, one more thing. Some software products can only be used to create simple prototypes, while others allow you to build a full-fledged working layout. Check it before you start if you have certain doubts as for your skills.
The first one on the list is Axure RP Pro. (Hint – Pro is for Professional)
It’s software for creating prototypes, layouts, specifications of websites and applications. The program allows you to insert widgets by simply dragging the mouse, as well as to change their size and format. Axure RP Pro is a complete UX-tool that allows you to design complex interactive prototypes, but it will take time to master it. If you are a professional developer, with Axure RP Pro you can create more complex interactive prototypes. If you are not, the next one may be more helpful, and it is…
Mockplus – a SIMPLE prototyping tool.
The program is designed for stand-alone use and supports the work of prototyping software for all major platforms: PCs, mobile applications and web applications. It is a good choice for users of all levels, as the program is easy to learn and has an intuitive interface. If your choice is a quick creative prototype and you don’t have much time (including the time for learning how to create before the creation itself), opt for Mockplus. The program has everything you need to work with widgets.
One more simple (but not plain) solution is Balsamiq Mockups tool which stands for express prototyping and helps you to work faster and more efficiently.
The principle is very reminiscent of drawing an idea on a simple board. It has a simple interface and a large set of UI-elements. Standard widgets are easily arranged and rearranged by dragging the mouse. There are two versions of the program: for offline use and as an add-on for Google Drive, Confluence and JIRA.
Another tool that might be a bit more complicated but still effective is Justinmind.
It is a UX tool for prototyping mobile and web applications, as well as high-quality site layouts. The program is equipped with standard functions: dragging objects with a mouse, changing their size and format, as well as exporting and importing widgets. Besides, you can easily add notes to widgets and assign them with interactive functions, such as links, animation, calculations, a set of tabs, hidden items, as well as modeling databases with real data. Sounds quite complex, hah? Well, it is, at least for those who are not professional developers.
And the last one to see and learn is InVision.
This is an application which allows you to work together on the development of a preliminary project and receiving information from colleagues and clients. With InVision, you can quickly convert static mobile and web projects into interactive prototypes. The program allows you to create models in real time.
There are a few more helpful tools to try and use like UX Pin, OmniGraffle, Flinto, Marvel, Proto, Prott etc.
With the info given and almost fully abreast of the prototyping software, it’s easier to understand that any of the tools can (and should) be tested and used. Otherwise, the time will be wasted, money spent in vain and user stress-resistance challenged. The last point may result in stress-resistance challenge for you, so don’t doom yourself to such an unpleasant experience. Just prototype and wait until it’s ripe 🙂