More on Prototyping Tools...

14 Jun 2006 - 12:46pm
8 years ago
6 replies
598 reads
drewbam
2004

At Teague, we use Flash or Director for just this sort of thing (prototyping
desktop applications and consumer electronics devices). One caveat, however,
is that we rarely create visual design elements within either Flash or
Director. Instead, we tend to draw things in Illustrator or Photoshop, and
then import the elements into the prototyping tool. Given that Adobe and
Macromedia are now one, I can only hope that this process will become even
smoother in the future.

d|b

On 5/15/06, leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com <leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com>
wrote:

Is Flash a reasonable alternative for a lot less money? I'm unconvinced
> that Expressions will have sufficient resources (both in visual and
> interactive design) for my purposes near term (or maybe ever).
>
> Criteria for a prototyping tool for my needs:
>
> 1) Create interactive elements with visual design developed within tool
> or ability to bring in externally developed imagery
> 2) Ability to place elements quickly on screen (WYSIWYG)
> 3) Ability to assign / program interactivity actions
> 4) Prototype can operate on Wintel machine with minimum of required
> support infrastructure (i.e., .exe would be fine for us).
>

Comments

16 Jun 2006 - 2:27pm
Robert Reimann
2003

We use Flash extensively at Bose for simulating both hardware and software
(i.e., screen-based) interfaces, and find it to be an excellent vehicle for
doing so, for all the reasons you list. My group has a full-time Flash
developer
who works closely with interaction designers to create our simulations. We
find it
invaluable both for proof of concept/usability testing, as well as
stakeholder
buy-in.

Robert.

--

Robert Reimann
President, IxDA

Manager, User Experience
Bose Corporation
Framingham, MA

On 5/15/06, leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com <leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com>
wrote:

> Is Flash a reasonable alternative for a lot less money? I'm unconvinced
> that Expressions will have sufficient resources (both in visual and
> interactive design) for my purposes near term (or maybe ever).
>
> Criteria for a prototyping tool for my needs:
>
> 1) Create interactive elements with visual design developed within tool
> or ability to bring in externally developed imagery
> 2) Ability to place elements quickly on screen (WYSIWYG)
> 3) Ability to assign / program interactivity actions
> 4) Prototype can operate on Wintel machine with minimum of required
> support infrastructure (i.e., .exe would be fine for us).

16 Jun 2006 - 6:39pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

That's a sweet setup.

Sadly, I'm the resident Flash expert, but I usually have no time to create
prototypes with it. It would be nice to have another person. There are a
couple here, but they double as production designers and are usually too
busy, and they don't know ActionScript very well.

-r-

On 6/16/06, Robert Reimann <rmreimann at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> We use Flash extensively at Bose for simulating both hardware and software
> (i.e., screen-based) interfaces, and find it to be an excellent vehicle
> for
> doing so, for all the reasons you list. My group has a full-time Flash
> developer
> who works closely with interaction designers to create our simulations. We
> find it
> invaluable both for proof of concept/usability testing, as well as
> stakeholder
> buy-in.
>
> Robert.
>
> --
>
> Robert Reimann
> President, IxDA
>
> Manager, User Experience
> Bose Corporation
> Framingham, MA
>
>
>
> On 5/15/06, leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com <leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Is Flash a reasonable alternative for a lot less money? I'm unconvinced
> > that Expressions will have sufficient resources (both in visual and
> > interactive design) for my purposes near term (or maybe ever).
> >
> > Criteria for a prototyping tool for my needs:
> >
> > 1) Create interactive elements with visual design developed within tool
> > or ability to bring in externally developed imagery
> > 2) Ability to place elements quickly on screen (WYSIWYG)
> > 3) Ability to assign / program interactivity actions
> > 4) Prototype can operate on Wintel machine with minimum of required
> > support infrastructure (i.e., .exe would be fine for us).
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

16 Jun 2006 - 3:12pm
Scott Bower
2006

If you want to make it fast, it is relatively simple to create a
roundtrip Flash prototyping tool with a simple CMS system
behind it allowing for quick visual, multi-variable changes when
you are doing user testing. It can be as dynamic as you
want. It integrates easily with PHP/mySQL and you can build custom
visual creation tools/widgets right into the swf backend. The code
is all external and can be easily reused. A friend of mine
built a CMS tool out of Flash (Flash CMS, Flash frontend) that was
an on-the-fly game generator for Cartoon Network 4 years ago. Much like
the design flexibility given to endusers on some Playstation games.
It cut a significant amount of money out of the development process.
You are only limited by your imagination and your programming talent.

Actionscript is becoming a very verbose OOP language and it is
becoming easier for programmers that have never worked
in it to make the switch.

Scott
www.werkplace.com

>
> On 5/15/06, leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com <leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Is Flash a reasonable alternative for a lot less money? I'm
>> unconvinced
>> that Expressions will have sufficient resources (both in visual and
>> interactive design) for my purposes near term (or maybe ever).
>>
>> Criteria for a prototyping tool for my needs:
>>
>> 1) Create interactive elements with visual design developed within
>> tool
>> or ability to bring in externally developed imagery
>> 2) Ability to place elements quickly on screen (WYSIWYG)
>> 3) Ability to assign / program interactivity actions
>> 4) Prototype can operate on Wintel machine with minimum of required
>> support infrastructure (i.e., .exe would be fine for us).
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

17 Jun 2006 - 2:58pm
Fred Leise
2006

For those of you who are interested, Intuitect, a new software tool for
web designers that several colleagues and I have been working on for
about a year, takes you from sitemaps to wireframes to flowmaps to HTML
prototypes. Our 0.9 version is currently available for a 15-day free
trial download at www.intuitect.com, but the prototyping feature won't
be available until the release of 1.0 at the end of July. You can at
least get a sense of what our initial tool will be like.

If you'd like to receive notification of the 1.0 release, you can
register online. Or you can send me an email directly, and I'll make
sure you get added to our list for the announcement.

Fred

Fred Leise
Vice President, Product Development
Intuitect
fredleise at intuitect.com
773-764-2588

Scott Bower wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> If you want to make it fast, it is relatively simple to create a
> roundtrip Flash prototyping tool with a simple CMS system
> behind it allowing for quick visual, multi-variable changes when
> you are doing user testing. It can be as dynamic as you
> want. It integrates easily with PHP/mySQL and you can build custom
> visual creation tools/widgets right into the swf backend. The code
> is all external and can be easily reused. A friend of mine
> built a CMS tool out of Flash (Flash CMS, Flash frontend) that was
> an on-the-fly game generator for Cartoon Network 4 years ago. Much like
> the design flexibility given to endusers on some Playstation games.
> It cut a significant amount of money out of the development process.
> You are only limited by your imagination and your programming talent.
>
> Actionscript is becoming a very verbose OOP language and it is
> becoming easier for programmers that have never worked
> in it to make the switch.
>
> Scott
> www.werkplace.com
>
>
>> On 5/15/06, leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com <leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Is Flash a reasonable alternative for a lot less money? I'm
>>> unconvinced
>>> that Expressions will have sufficient resources (both in visual and
>>> interactive design) for my purposes near term (or maybe ever).
>>>
>>> Criteria for a prototyping tool for my needs:
>>>
>>> 1) Create interactive elements with visual design developed within
>>> tool
>>> or ability to bring in externally developed imagery
>>> 2) Ability to place elements quickly on screen (WYSIWYG)
>>> 3) Ability to assign / program interactivity actions
>>> 4) Prototype can operate on Wintel machine with minimum of required
>>> support infrastructure (i.e., .exe would be fine for us).
>>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>
>

19 Jun 2006 - 8:40am
Pierre Roberge
2005

For anyone wanting to learn Flash Actionscript, I would recommend
subscribing to Lynda.com (online training). I subscribed last month and
the quality of their tutorials I saw so far is very good. I took the
ActionScript basics course and I can now add some interactivity to entry
fields like changing the background color when they get the focus and
similar things like that.

I do have programming experience but was a stranger to Object-oriented
concepts.

Pierre Roberge
Business Analyst - User Experience Designer
Expert Travel Financial Security (ETFS)
566-2901x2193
www.etfsinc.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Scott Bower
Sent: 16 juin 2006 16:12
To: d|b; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] More on Prototyping Tools...

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]

If you want to make it fast, it is relatively simple to create a
roundtrip Flash prototyping tool with a simple CMS system behind it
allowing for quick visual, multi-variable changes when you are doing
user testing. It can be as dynamic as you want. It integrates easily
with PHP/mySQL and you can build custom visual creation tools/widgets
right into the swf backend. The code is all external and can be easily
reused. A friend of mine built a CMS tool out of Flash (Flash CMS, Flash
frontend) that was an on-the-fly game generator for Cartoon Network 4
years ago. Much like the design flexibility given to endusers on some
Playstation games.
It cut a significant amount of money out of the development process.
You are only limited by your imagination and your programming talent.

Actionscript is becoming a very verbose OOP language and it is becoming
easier for programmers that have never worked in it to make the switch.

Scott
www.werkplace.com

>
> On 5/15/06, leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com
> <leo.frishberg at exgate.tek.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Is Flash a reasonable alternative for a lot less money? I'm
>> unconvinced that Expressions will have sufficient resources (both in
>> visual and interactive design) for my purposes near term (or maybe
>> ever).
>>
>> Criteria for a prototyping tool for my needs:
>>
>> 1) Create interactive elements with visual design developed within
>> tool or ability to bring in externally developed imagery
>> 2) Ability to place elements quickly on screen (WYSIWYG)
>> 3) Ability to assign / program interactivity actions
>> 4) Prototype can operate on Wintel machine with minimum of required
>> support infrastructure (i.e., .exe would be fine for us).
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines
> ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help ..................
> http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription Options ...
> http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org Home
> ....................... http://ixda.org/ Resource Library ...........
> http://resources.ixda.org
>

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines
............ http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help ..................
http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription Options ...
http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org Home .......................
http://ixda.org/ Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

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15 May 2006 - 11:54am
leo.frishberg a...
2005

Colleagues,

Perhaps I've missed something in all of this discussion; feel free to
point out where this has already been discussed.

Most of the discussion to date (over the past 2 weeks, at least) has
been on RIA / Multi-environment design/development applications.

I've seen nothing on rapid prototyping solutions focused on
interactivity for front panel / soft-controls. In our context, we need
to rapidly visualize multiple proto-solutions and field them to users
for feedback. We are not expecting a browser-based environment, rather,
it is a Windows environment.

In addition to getting user feedback, I expect the prototype to be used
by the IxD group for their internal design/development process (screen
shots for spec purposes, prototype to assist coders in understanding the
more nuanced ideas that are difficult to communicate in text). "Real"
code will be done in something like VS/C#/.NET. Our group is relatively
small, and though decentralized, doesn't require a lot of management
tools to keep things organized.

I've been pitched on a product by Altia - www.altia.com; anyone heard of
it / used it? One of the key messages they're trying to communicate is
that the tool is equally suitable for prototyping software based
interfaces as well as front panel controls. It's pricey, but looks
full-featured.

Is Flash a reasonable alternative for a lot less money? I'm unconvinced
that Expressions will have sufficient resources (both in visual and
interactive design) for my purposes near term (or maybe ever).

Criteria for a prototyping tool for my needs:

1) Create interactive elements with visual design developed within tool
or ability to bring in externally developed imagery
2) Ability to place elements quickly on screen (WYSIWYG)
3) Ability to assign / program interactivity actions
4) Prototype can operate on Wintel machine with minimum of required
support infrastructure (i.e., .exe would be fine for us).

I'm used to the power of Borland's Delphi for most of the above, but
integrating the visual design layer in that environment is proving
problematic. And with Borland sunsetting that particular product, it's
time I move on.

All thoughts welcome, thanks!

Leo Frishberg
Architect, User Experience
Advanced Development Group
Logic Analyzer Product Line
Ph: +1 503.627.2833
Fax: +1 503.627.2009
P

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