Axure... Thoughts?

1 Sep 2010 - 1:12pm
4 years ago
27 replies
3256 reads
aronoff
2010

Im in a all day training session for Axure and I have to say, it's very fun. You guys use it? What are your initial thoughts on it?

Comments

1 Sep 2010 - 1:28pm
katey
2010

I find axure is very useful for websites with basic interactions and links. It's easy to use, and can easily communicate design intent to both clients and devs in a way traditional wireframes cannot.

That said, I just built a prototype in Axure for a somewhat complex "rich media" interactive experience, and Axure starts to fall flat when trying to mimic transitions such as those you would create in jquery, for instance. If you don't design those types of experiencest, or have other ways to communicate those ideas to your clients (for the devs spec'ing and annotations work well here!), Axure is still a usable, if not ideal tool.

Kevin Wick, one of the Senior UXA's where I work gave this talk about moving from static wireframes to Axure at IAS10. It's Podcast #45 on this page: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/boxes-and-arrows-podcast/id275459507#

-Katey

1 Sep 2010 - 2:55pm
aronoff
2010

Sweet!! Thanks!! :)

1 Sep 2010 - 6:05pm
Thai Lam
2007

@Katey - what type of interaction were you having trouble creating with Axure? I wonder about its limitations and it looks like you're starting to come up against it.

 - Thai

On Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 3:24 PM, katey <katey.deeny@gmail.com> wrote:

I find axure is very useful for websites with basic interactions and links. It's easy to use, and can easily communicate design intent to both clients and devs in a way traditional wireframes cannot.

That said, I just built a prototype in Axure for a somewhat complex "rich media" interactive experience, and Axure starts to fall flat when trying to mimic transitions such as those you would create in jquery, for instance. If you don't design those types of experiencest, or have other ways to communicate those ideas to your clients (for the devs spec'ing and annotations work well here!), Axure is still a usable, if not ideal tool.

Kevin Wick, one of the Senior UXA's where I work gave this talk about moving from static wireframes to Axure at IAS10. It's Podcast #45 on this page: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/boxes-and-arrows-podcast/id275459507 [1]#

-Katey

(((P
1 Sep 2010 - 6:21pm
katey
2010

Where I really got stuck was trying to show interactions that animate on both the x and z axis (pan and zoom). There are clunky ways to do one or the other, but not a good way to do them both at the same time.

Even though there are community libraries available, I find that I end up building most of my assets in Illustrator, paste them into axure and then apply axure's conditional logic. It's effective, but time consuming.

Also - any graphical tool that lacks a rotate function is annoying on principle. :)

- Katey

1 Sep 2010 - 11:05pm
Carol J. Smith
2007

At least it isn't just me. Was using Axure today and couldn't get a widget to rotate. Overall a nice tool - though rotate function is key.
Carol

On Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 8:23 PM, katey <katey.deeny@gmail.com> wrote:

Where I really got stuck was trying to show interactions that animate on both the x and z axis (pan and zoom). There are clunky ways to do one or the other, but not a good way to do them both at the same time.

Even though there are community libraries available, I find that I end up building most of my assets in Illustrator, paste them into axure and then apply axure's conditional logic. It's effective, but time consuming.

Also - any graphical tool that lacks a rotate function is annoying on principle. :)

- Katey

1 Sep 2010 - 2:05pm
markhhoff@earth...
2006

Josh, Happy to hear you're having fun with Axure. I've found it a great way to build annotated lo-fi wireframes that I can quickly iterate to higher fidelity prototypes that the program generates as HTML. There are lots of community built assets available that add extra functionality to the program. It's not perfect but still a good tool.

-----Original Message----- From: ixdaor@host.ixda.org [mailto:ixdaor@host.ixda.org] On Behalf Of Josh Aronoff Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 11:16 AM To: markhhoff@earthlink.net Subject: [IxDA] Axure... Thoughts?

Im in a all day training session for Axure and I have to say, it's very fun.
You guys use it? What are your initial thoughts on it?

1 Sep 2010 - 2:25pm
annabellyeo
2010

What a coincidence ~ I JUST downloaded the trial version and have been playing around with it all day.  Been trying to make the leap from Visio to something else from some time now but have just been too stubborn since I have all my templates and stencils set up in Visio.  However Axure looks promising.

Josh - where can you sign up for an all-day training session with Axure?

 

Thanks,

~Anne

1 Sep 2010 - 3:10pm
aronoff
2010

We're doing it through work, we're working with an outside consulting company who's helping us with some overall business goals, documentation etc. and the Axure training. There HAS to be some Axure training out there, but I'm not sure where. Axure has some videos on their site.

http://www.axure.com/online-training-videos.aspx

1 Sep 2010 - 4:21pm
annabellyeo
2010

Thanks Josh - I'm just going through the training videos right now.  Let me know what your final thoughts are after the training.  Based on the podcast that Katey recommended, Axure isn't the "silver bullet" but there seems to be some major benefits to using it.

~Anne

1 Sep 2010 - 3:16pm
petko
2010

Whad'Ya Know? Axure is awesome!

For years it was the missing piece in our company's business model. All of the other rapid prototyping tools we tested were either incomplete or simply we were trying to convert something which is not intended to do so in a prototyping tool (Visio, OmniGraffle, paper, etc.)

Axure simplified the process of iterating thoughts with the customers.

The only downside of using Axure is that you need to throw away the prototype once the design job and the actual development is completed.

While the direct prototyping in HTML is still not an option for us, Axure is still our beloved prototyping tool.

1 Sep 2010 - 3:43pm
aZippel4iD
2010

I started using Axure RP Pro about 2 months ago and overall, I am very happy with it. My team likes how fast I can build lo-fi concepts that we can present to stakeholders or just flush out issues between the team members. I used to use Visio, Illustrator and InDesign depending on what worked best for the project. The more I learn about Axure the less I am turning to those other applications. I have my list of improvements that I would like to see, but overall, I am very happy. Biggest drag is you need Axure to modify an Axure document (at least I think) and most people I have worked with have Visio. I am definately interested in some advanced training also.

1 Sep 2010 - 4:05pm
Ben Gon
2007

limiting, the time you take to learn it would be better used mastering HTML, CSS and JS, you can then produce better prototypes than AXURE could ever help you with.

B

----- Original Message ---- From: Josh Aronoff To: medellin43@yahoo.com Sent: Wed, September 1, 2010 2:47:26 PM Subject: [IxDA] Axure... Thoughts?

Im in a all day training session for Axure and I have to say, it's very fun. You guys use it? What are your initial thoughts on it?

1 Sep 2010 - 6:16pm
katey
2010

Ben,

I believe you are probably correct about that. I think for some people code is "scary" in the same way others find math "scary."

My code skills are limited beyond basic html and css, but I am inclined to learn more for prototyping purposes, especially considering the vast array of jquery plug-ins that exist.

-Katey

2 Sep 2010 - 3:56am
alfajaz
2010

Not wanting to go off topic too much but would any of you be able to recommend alternatives to Axure? Both commercial and open source. I've been playing with firefox plugin "Pencil" and found it very useful for making fast wireframes but with very limited interactivity. But for a freebee I thought it was fairly good - Note however my background is s/w engineering so a visual designers perspective might be different. The interesting aspect is its open source nature and the fact it could be extended.

2 Sep 2010 - 7:06am
Lnajera
2010

For trying to show very complex interactions you might want to try Blend Sketch or Adobe Catalyst. They are both great for wire framing and will allow you to do most of what you can do in Axure but with greater precision.

Blend Sketch uses Silverlight and Adobe Catalyst uses Flash. That being said they are two of the best tools for prototyping complex interactions, fully supporting animations, transitions etc. They even allow you to use a dummy database on your prototype; all built in and easy to use.

Even if you know you won't be using silverlight or flash for your project, but java script or HTML5 web standards; it still a great way to illustrate to clients the kinds of interactions you plan to achieve.

iRise is one more tool that I hear is capable of supporting advanced interactions. It works more like Axure but with greater functionality and features. However, this tool is extremely expensive for most UX designers putting it out of reach.

Personally, I have used all three and silverlight has by far been the best tool for prototyping RIA and complex interactions.

However, when I want to wireframe while showing some interactions, I use PPT. Yes, PPT. It's quick and easy and has animation features that are really easy to use.

Hope this helps.

Ludwing Najera

On Sep 2, 2010, at 5:28 AM, alfajaz wrote:

> Not wanting to go off topic too much but would any of you be able to recommend alternatives to Axure? Both commercial and open source. I've been playing with firefox plugin "Pencil" and found it very useful for making fast wireframes but with very limited interactivity. But for a freebee I thought it was fairly good - Note however my background is s/w engineering so a visual designers perspective might be different. The interesting aspect is its open source nature and the fact it could be extended. > >

2 Sep 2010 - 4:24am
Dimiter Simov
2006

Axure is an extremely powerful prototyping tool. I've used it to prototype both simple interfaces and complex interactions for websites, web apps, desktop apps, and mobile apps. Other people use it to build prototypes and write specifications.

The tool is very easy to start with. In a course of mine, in which we discuss prototyping, we use Axure as an illustation of a tool for building mock-ups. Participants have less than an hour to build a simple prototype and simulate some simple interactions such as page transitions and mouse hover effects. They all succeed and most of them have never even heard of the tool before - they install the tiral version on their computers during the course. After the course, some of them start using the tool in their daily jobs.

You will find videos, presentations and other useful materials at http://www.axureworld.org/

As for alternatives, here's a post on rapid prototyping tools by Adaptive Path's Dan Harrelson http://www.adaptivepath.com/blog/2009/03/24/rapid-prototyping-tools/

 

2 Sep 2010 - 4:57pm
katey
2010

Dimiter,

In your experience creating complex interactions, how do you deal with the dynamic panel only being available as a rectangle? Do you have any tips for pan and zoom interactions or other complex animations?

Thanks!

-Katey

3 Sep 2010 - 1:05am
smartlaksh
2010

So many tools used for wireframe development can any one list the order of mostly used tool for developing wireframe or information structure

Regards,
M.M.Lakshmanan



On Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 4:17 AM, katey <katey.deeny@gmail.com> wrote:

Dimiter,

In your experience creating complex interactions, how do you deal with the dynamic panel only being available as a rectangle? Do you have any tips for pan and zoom interactions or other complex animations?

Thanks!

-Katey

5 Sep 2010 - 11:37am
Nancy Roberts
2008

I was probably one of Axure's first users - back when it was called "Ubiquity." I was looking for a rapid prototyping tool (we were using Visio for the most part), which would profile low to  medium fidelity clickthroughs, and Axure fit the bill perfectly. The biggest drawback was that it was not very collaborative, and now that three is a collaborative model, as well as a "for Mac" version, that is no longer an issue.

While I think some of your preference is likely to simply be what you're used to and what is easy for you to implement, Axure is worth a look for its speed and broad range of applications (from simple wireframes to modeling of fairly complex interactions).

6 Sep 2010 - 5:38am
Wouter Leistra
2009

I use Axure RP Pro already for 3 years. I used it in many of my projects to quickly visualize design ideas and user friendly solutions to business requirements. My customers have always liked this way of working, especially because they could see the results of an early morning discussion within in a couple of hours already.

Many applications now start to compete with Axure. But for me Axure is unbeaten when it comes to interaction. I never seen one other application for PC/Win that had a non-coding way of creating complex user flows with dependencies on selected/entered values etc... (If there is let me know...).

Axure is fairly easy to use and with the right libraries you can create interactive wireframes up to high fidelity prototypes very fast. The unfortunate thing about Axure, in my opinion, is the exported code and javascript. It's not very tidy and should never be used for production purposes. Which is for some customers I had to deal with hard to understand. Because "It was already working" they said. So it requires good communication about what is going to be delivered and what the purpose is of the deliverable. 

6 Sep 2010 - 9:13am
aronoff
2010

An Update:

I took an old screen design that literally took about 4 months to explain the interaction between pages, (Don't ask... where I work we love meetings and talking ad nauseam.) and boiled it down to show not only the interactions and functionality, but I included a visual workflow which we can put at the beginning of our use cases. 

All in all, it took me about 5 hours to create this, complete with styling, etc. 

I think that this software will ultimately save our organization about 59 hours of meetings etc. a project, and make my teams life less stressful.

Now if I can only figure out how to make it do every other part of my job (getting buy in from business owners, making coffee, etc.) I can spend more of my time on the golf course instead of in front of the computer. ;)

All in all, a welcome change to the way we were doing business before.

7 Sep 2010 - 7:40am
jonkarpoff
2009

We've been using AxureRP for several years and are generally quite happy with it. There are limitations to it logic, the code isn't re-usable and process flows do not auto translate into prototype logic. Good libraries and great community supporting AxureRP. Fantastic that it is 100% compatible across PC and Mac. Collaboration feature is really essential. Getting an aesthetically pleasing specification document out of AxureRP and MS Word is challenging but do-able. It sure beats paying the $250K+ for iRise!

We used AxureRP to develop very detailed documentation of a Customer Selfcare Portal. Both the design and the portal have evolved using SCRUM over the last year and its a multi-IA effort. AxureRP has been a very good tool for the team, documenting the portal and its associated apps as we've gone along.

We use Visio for process flows, state diagrams, use case flows. The trend here is Omnigraffle for general charting and Keynote for presentations.

7 Sep 2010 - 2:34pm
iaingwilson
2010

I use Axure and agree with this analysis.  My biggest complaint with Axure is that it lacks global styling (as you might do with CSS).  So if a client ends up not liking the look of a button, you have to go back and replace each one.  You can get around this in certain scenarios with masters but still not efficiently.  You might also want to try some free stencils from Yahoo! made for Axure:  http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/about/stencils/

 

 

7 Sep 2010 - 7:41am
jonkarpoff
2009

Hmmm... Antetype looks very interesting. Just submitted a request to join the beta evaluation.

8 Sep 2010 - 9:14pm
aronoff
2010

One of the biggest issues I see after using it for a couple of days, is that I can't import vector graphics from Illustrator. 
Having a design background, I'm constantly building icons and things like that, and want to be able to show the interactions of say, a help tips icon, or something like that. I have to export that to photoshop, make it a raster based graphic and THEN copy and paste that into Axure.

Meh.

Considering that it seems that the other elements in Axure tend to render as vector graphics, or maybe SVGs? you would think that this is something they'd thought of.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the move to it.

9 Sep 2010 - 6:05am
Lnajera
2010

Take a look at Expression Blend or Adobe Catalyst if you truly want more control over your wireframes and prototypes. One example of greater capability is the the support each of these programs have for vector graphics.

Ludwing Najera

On Sep 8, 2010, at 11:14 PM, Josh Aronoff wrote:

> One of the biggest issues I see after using it for a couple of days, is that I can't import vector graphics from Illustrator. > Having a design background, I'm constantly building icons and things like that, and want to be able to show the interactions of say, a help tips icon, or something like that. I have to export that to photoshop, make it a raster based graphic and THEN copy and paste that into Axure. > > Meh. > > Considering that it seems that the other elements in Axure tend to render as vector graphics, or maybe SVGs? you would think that this is something they'd thought of. > > All in all, I'm pretty happy with the move to it. > >

14 Sep 2010 - 4:35pm
amir khella
2008

Both Axure and Blend are awesome tools to invest time in and learn, if you want to use them long term and not just one off.  (Disclaimer: I was a PM on Blend)

 

Balsamiq is also a great tool for creating rough-looking mockups. Easy to use, fast, and productive.

I've recently switched to Keynote for wireframing and medium-fidelity prototyping. After using it for few weeks, I am faster with it than any other tool I've previously used. Here is a quick tutorial on how I've been using it (@Keynotopia).

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