Functional Specs (long and getting longer) [Trevor]

21 Mar 2006 - 5:33pm
8 years ago
6 replies
462 reads
Trevor Chong
2006

I'm starting to experiment with rapid prototyping in my company. I looked at
the Axure website and it looks like exactly what I need :

- ability to create simulations
- ability to compile the simulation into a printed functional specs

I'm wondering if there's any other product out there that anyone's tried
out/uses. How does Axure stack up to Visio?

Comments

21 Mar 2006 - 6:29pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Axure rocks. I know Visio is supposed to be the holy grail for wireframing,
but to me, it's one of the clunkiest and most awkward programs I've ever
used. Axure makes sense, it makes it easy to get work done quickly, it feels
light and responsive, and you can use it to generate a spec and/or a fairly
nice interaction prototype with a few clicks. If all you want is JPGs, you
can make those too - in one click.

Unlike most programs, it "just works".

-r-

On 3/21/06, Trevor Chong <tornadotrev at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I'm starting to experiment with rapid prototyping in my company. I looked
> at
> the Axure website and it looks like exactly what I need :
>
> - ability to create simulations
> - ability to compile the simulation into a printed functional specs
>
> I'm wondering if there's any other product out there that anyone's tried
> out/uses. How does Axure stack up to Visio?
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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>

21 Mar 2006 - 6:34pm
Ari
2006

Axure is pretty nice for creating specs from your layouts and can also
generate "working" HTML versions of your layouts to demonstrate how
interactive elements may work - e.g. how a login page works, etc.

Drawbacks:

- price - it's still clunky and expensive for what you get
- its widget set is basic and pales in comparison to Visio's
- editing is somewhat cumbersome compared to Visio
- it lacks a lot of flexibility with rich-styling of specs and
notations - for example, you can't bold or use bullets when specifiying the
behavior of a certain objects, which means you have to generated a Spec and
then modify it accordingly
- can't really handle very large sites or specs - e.g. those exceeding
200 pages
- extremely limited output formats - Axure can generate Word docs and
HTML prototypes but what if you need to generate a GIF of a screen? it can't
do that.
- you have very little control over the placement or ordering of
elements being described - Axure uses a yellow rectangle to indicate the
current UI element being described. i haven't been able to determine how to
change the shape, style, placement or order of this component

Personally, I find Visio much faster for my specifications and wireframes
but that's not to say Axure doesn't have it's place.

I rarely have to prototype how something works (mainly due to time) - that's
where Axure excels.

Bottom line: use both - Axure handles the pasting of Visio objects fairly
well.

Ari

On 3/21/06, Trevor Chong <tornadotrev at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I'm starting to experiment with rapid prototyping in my company. I looked
> at
> the Axure website and it looks like exactly what I need :
>
> - ability to create simulations
> - ability to compile the simulation into a printed functional specs
>
> I'm wondering if there's any other product out there that anyone's tried
> out/uses. How does Axure stack up to Visio?
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
------------------------------------------------
Ari Feldman
Executive Producer, Heavy Inc.
www.heavy.com

21 Mar 2006 - 9:49pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> - its widget set is basic and pales in comparison to Visio's

But the widgets you get are the ones you need most often for web
projects, and you can always build up an arsenal of custom widgets.

> - extremely limited output formats - Axure can generate Word docs and
> HTML prototypes but what if you need to generate a GIF of a screen? it can't
> do that.

It's in one of the menus, actually. You can export single screens to
images, or export all screens to images. They're JPGs by default.

> - you have very little control over the placement or ordering of
> elements being described - Axure uses a yellow rectangle to indicate the
> current UI element being described. i haven't been able to determine how to
> change the shape, style, placement or order of this component

Right-click the element you want to reorder. It works like Powerpoint.

All this is in v4, by the way - I can't vouch for previous versions
because I just started using it last week.

-r-

22 Mar 2006 - 6:28am
Ari
2006

On 3/21/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <mmbeta at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > - its widget set is basic and pales in comparison to Visio's
>
> But the widgets you get are the ones you need most often for web
> projects, and you can always build up an arsenal of custom widgets.

yeah but i tend to deal with rich apps - e.g. flash, web 2.0 and even
hybrids like Dreamweaver extensions and browser toolbars. the better and
more detailed the widget set, the more accurate my wireframes and specs are.

> - extremely limited output formats - Axure can generate Word docs and
> > HTML prototypes but what if you need to generate a GIF of a screen?
> it can't
> > do that.
>
> It's in one of the menus, actually. You can export single screens to
> images, or export all screens to images. They're JPGs by default.

haven't played with version 4 - only version 3 so this is good to know.

> > - you have very little control over the placement or ordering of
> > elements being described - Axure uses a yellow rectangle to indicate
> the
> > current UI element being described. i haven't been able to determine
> how to
> > change the shape, style, placement or order of this component
>
> Right-click the element you want to reorder. It works like Powerpoint.
>
> All this is in v4, by the way - I can't vouch for previous versions
> because I just started using it last week.

right, i was talking about version 3, which i did use a bit in the past.

-r-
>

however, Axure still can't export files into other formats. For ex: Visio
XML allows you to exchange complete Visio docs with competiting products
like ConceptDraw (the closest Visio clone on the Mac side of the house).

22 Mar 2006 - 1:32pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> yeah but i tend to deal with rich apps - e.g. flash, web 2.0 and even
> hybrids like Dreamweaver extensions and browser toolbars. the better and
> more detailed the widget set, the more accurate my wireframes and specs are.
>

You can use dynamic panels in Axure to simulate rich interfaces pretty
easily. Just an FYI.

> - extremely limited output formats - Axure can generate Word docs and
> > > HTML prototypes but what if you need to generate a GIF of a screen?
> > it can't
> > > do that.
> >
> > It's in one of the menus, actually. You can export single screens to
> > images, or export all screens to images. They're JPGs by default.
>
>
Correction: BMP is the default, and you can set the images to export as GIF,
JPG, or PNG.

-r-

22 Mar 2006 - 2:40pm
Ari
2006

thanks for the update on version 4. i guess it comes down to preferences.

you can remove Visio from my dead fingers. i've spec'd about 2 million
dollars worth of product with it - not counting what i'm working on now.

On 3/22/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <mmbeta at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> yeah but i tend to deal with rich apps - e.g. flash, web 2.0 and even
> > hybrids like Dreamweaver extensions and browser toolbars. the better and
> > more detailed the widget set, the more accurate my wireframes and specs are.
> >
>
> You can use dynamic panels in Axure to simulate rich interfaces pretty
> easily. Just an FYI.
>
> > - extremely limited output formats - Axure can generate Word docs and
> > >
> > > > HTML prototypes but what if you need to generate a GIF of a
> > > screen? it can't
> > > > do that.
> > >
> > > It's in one of the menus, actually. You can export single screens to
> > > images, or export all screens to images. They're JPGs by default.
> >
> >
> Correction: BMP is the default, and you can set the images to export as
> GIF, JPG, or PNG.
>
> -r-
>
>

--
------------------------------------------------
Ari Feldman
Executive Producer, Heavy Inc.
www.heavy.com

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