Prototyping tools Re:obessions with Visio?

6 Apr 2006 - 12:25am
8 years ago
3 replies
628 reads
Brian Williams
2006

I'll chime in on my experience with various prototyping / diagraming
tools.

I mostly create screen mockups for our implementers to work from. I
have tried Visio, Illustrator, Concept Draw and OmniGraffle. I found
Visio mostly functional but it was too clunky for me and it did not
easly provide the level of detail that I required. One fantastic
thing about Visio that I haven't found elsewhere is the smart
resizing behavior. Illustrator was just too slow and frustrating to
produce screens very quickly. It's really a drawing tool, duh :) .
Concept Draw is very badly done and has little to recommend it.

OmniGraffle is what I use all the time now. It's biggest failing is
it's lack of smart resizing. If it were have good resizing, better
table support and not beach-ball so often it would be close to ideal.
I can make really nice looking mockups that are highly detailed and
have all of the screen elements aligned correctly very quickly. It
did take some time to build up a pallet of widget that I liked but
now that I have it's relatively fast.

Does anyone know of a tool that it more geared towards UI
specification and less towards diagraming?

Brian

--- cindylu <cindylu at hfec.biz> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]
>
> Interesting comment. I have used Visio for many years and I like
it a lot.
> I can turn around concept designs very quickly - for IA,
interaction designs,
> workflows and sysem structure. I don't need to make things moving
like in
> flash, just to illustrate design concepts. I used PowerPoint,
hand drawings,
> Excel and Illustrator but Visio is still my first choice.
>
> I think it really depends on the level of prototyping and what you
will use
> the prototype for to select a suitabe tool. To me, quick
prototypes using
> Visio are good enough to illustrate early concepts, demonstrate
the concepts
> to certain tyes of clients, do paper prototype testing, walk
through/evaluate
> the designs, explain the concepts to the development team and
create design
> specifications. They don't look perfect and fancy but good enough
to move
> the project forward.
>
> I don't think employers care whether you can use Visio or not. I
think they
> care whether you can prototype or not.
>
> - Cindy

Comments

6 Apr 2006 - 10:38am
Joannes Vandermeulen
2006

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

Designers at my company seem to love Adobe Fireworks a lot. Until
recently, they were using a variety of tools (paper/pencil, PowerPoint,
Visio, HTML, ...) but suddenly they converged on Fireworks. It has
layering (!) and does bitmap and vector graphics. It's not as costly as
the combined PhotoShop/Illustrator and has the best of both worlds for
the UI designer. Any other impressions about Fireworks?

Joannes

Brian Williams said:
---Does anyone know of a tool that it more geared towards UI
---specification and less towards diagraming?

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6 Apr 2006 - 2:14pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hiya,

First off I'm a HUGE fan of Fireworks. It is an amazing tool for doing
UI Design. it is so geared towards it that I have forced (with threat of
bodily harm) my entire team into using it. I also posted on one of
Adobe's blogs that if they loose it, I'll start using Gimp. ;) ...
Seriously though, you mentioned a lot of good stuff in there already.

One thing that I love is using frames as a means of creating "pages" or
"views". You can declare some layers as going across frames, or you can
do a "duplicate" of a frame and start with that as a base. Each frame
prints to a page in adobe PDF and then you can annotate in PDF the notes
you need to make in there to better describe things.

On the other tools note. Laurie Gray did a presentation explaining why
she likes Axure as a good UI and prototyping tool. I'm almost convinced
except for its windows only problem.

if you want to jump up a notch Serena process and iRise also do an
interesting job. (notch = cash).

The presentations on wireframing at the IA Summit are available at ...
http://iasummit.org/2006/conferencedescrip.htm#16
At the end of the description is a link to the slides which include
Laurie Gray's presentation on Axure, Anders Ramsay's on xHTML, mine on
Flash, Jeff Lash's on UI Spec's and finally Todd Warfel's on Illustrator
and InDesign.

There will also be summaries of this and the panel Q&A that followed in
Boxes and Arrows and UXMatters soon.

-- dave

Joannes Vandermeulen wrote:
> Designers at my company seem to love Adobe Fireworks a lot. Until
> recently, they were using a variety of tools (paper/pencil, PowerPoint,
> Visio, HTML, ...) but suddenly they converged on Fireworks. It has
> layering (!) and does bitmap and vector graphics. It's not as costly as
> the combined PhotoShop/Illustrator and has the best of both worlds for
> the UI designer. Any other impressions about Fireworks?
>
> Joannes
>
> Brian Williams said:
> ---Does anyone know of a tool that it more geared towards UI
> ---specification and less towards diagraming?

10 Apr 2006 - 4:27pm
vutpakdi
2003

> First off I'm a HUGE fan of Fireworks. It is an amazing tool for
[...]
> One thing that I love is using frames as a means of creating
> "pages" or
> "views". You can declare some layers as going across frames, or you
> can
> do a "duplicate" of a frame and start with that as a base. Each
> frame

Canvas from ACD Systems has something similar (though may not have as
fine a control) except that you are literally working with pages that
can share a master page. And, each page (including the master page) can
have individual layers (with controls of whether or not a layer shows up
on a given page.

I love Canvas because it allows me to do vector based drawing, bitmap
editing (when needed), the light document layout when needed, import
many different graphics file formats, and export to many file formats
(including PDF) all in one relatively seemless package.

Canvas is a jack of all trades application though, so Illustrator will
beat it as a vector package, a true CAD system will beat the technical
drawing aspects, Photoshop will beat Canvas on bitmap manipulation,
Visio wins for doing flow charts, etc. But, for the price and
combination into one application, Canvas wins and is perfect for doing
wireframes and mockups in my book.

>
> if you want to jump up a notch Serena process and iRise also do an
> interesting job. (notch = cash).

Based on the presentation they gave us, a BIG notch for iRise. :-)

>
> The presentations on wireframing at the IA Summit are available at ...
> http://iasummit.org/2006/conferencedescrip.htm#16
> At the end of the description is a link to the slides which include
> Laurie Gray's presentation on Axure, Anders Ramsay's on xHTML, mine
> on
> Flash, Jeff Lash's on UI Spec's and finally Todd Warfel's on
> Illustrator
> and InDesign.

Thanks for sharing! A good presentation: I wished that I could have
attended that session.

Ron

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