Prototyping Tools 2012 - Axure RP 6.0 or iRise Studio

2 Mar 2012 - 12:18pm
2 years ago
14 replies
10602 reads
Philip Hillman
2010

Hi all,

My first post on IXDA.

I realise that this point is raised periodically but wanted to get a quick verdict on the most popular prototyping and wireframe creation tools. 

Criteria is that we are designing enterprise, transactional applications and platforms - with complex interactions and logic and our designers are using mixture of Mac and Pc as their workstations - so ideally I want something multi platform compatible. 

Tools under the microscope are;-

  • Axure RP 6.0
  • iRise Studio
  • Microsoft Visio
 
What are peoples experiences using these tools when designing transactional applications of this scale? 
  
Kind regards,
 
Phil 

 

Comments

2 Mar 2012 - 2:42pm
jonkarpoff
2009

Visio is Visio. Its a great drawing/charting tool. I use it every day for goal maps and process flows. But Visio is not a prototyping tool. And while I've found a way with shape data to create annotations and publish specifications its not the best wireframing tool out there any more either.

I've never used iRise though I did give it a pretty thorough evaluation awhile back. It is very powerful, but very, very expensive. Question is, for the money you could hire a couple of full-time Flash and/or JavaScript developers to build your prototypes.

Axure I have worked with on both Mac and PC and its very good on both. Wireframes are easy to create and annotate. Love the adjustable 'sketchiness' of the wireframes. Prototypes are simple, but for the price they're quite good and they are useful. Adding documentation to drawings and generating specifications is very straight forward. There are quire a few free and worthwhile add-on libraries out there too. I could wish the flow capabilities were more sophisticated and that it had a drawing tool to create custom shapes.

My vote, unless you have an unlimited budget is Axure. Perhaps with Visio as an adjunct.

2 Mar 2012 - 3:45pm
Philip Hillman
2010

Thanks for the advice.

With regards to Axure - i understand thats just under $600 a licence with reductions for bulk purchases. What I can not find is any prices for iRise - is it considerably more than $600 per licence?

2 Mar 2012 - 4:05pm
David Drucker
2008

I agree with much of what Jon said, but would add that Visio is a very poor tool and is promoted primarily because non-designers think it's what designers use. One of it's greatest strengths would be it's macro language, which can produce procedural drawings (need 120 buttons created from a 120-line list? you can do that, if you learn the macro language), but almost nobody bothers to learn it and it is very difficult to learn. It generally is OK for flow charts, but frankly Omnigraffle Pro for the Mac (which does import and export Visio XML files) runs rings around it and then some.

I'd add a couple of other tools that are worth exploring (if that's a possibility): Balsamiq is very nice for sketchy low-fidelity prototypes and you can produce a multi-page PDF from all open documents in one command. I've done some pretty large projects in it and despite some idiosyncratic drawing tools (due to the fact that Balsamiq is created in the Adobe Air application environment), it is very useful in helping you to keep the conversation on the key UI aspects of a project rather than the aesthetic ones (i.e. should a list be here' rather than 'I don't like the colour green here')

For higher fidelity mockups, Adobe Fireworks has a lot to offer. It is cross platform, and it's working file format is PNG, meaning you can share files with collaborators who don't own the package and they can view your work in their browser (or email, if it supports inline viewing of image attachments). Fireworks can export to HTML files with links between pages, so you can create clickable prototypes and then turn around and use the same graphics for web or mobile UI production (PNG seems to be becoming the standard for mobile - at least iOS and Android - as well).

  • David Drucker

On 2012-03-02, at 12:50 PM, Philip Hillman wrote: > > ________________________________________________________________ > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) Discussion! > Manage Subscriptions or Unsubscribe .......... http://www.ixda.org/user/24293/notifications > Discussion Guidelines .......... http://www.ixda.org/help > > -- > > View original post: http://www.ixda.org/mailcomment/redirect/%3C24293.32203.84082.1330721135.72c2de31e24a27ae1d6a06c62275c96f%40ixda.org%3E > >

3 Mar 2012 - 12:05am
tessa
2008

iRise is prohibitively expensive. 10s of 1000s of $$. And it tends to balance the design scales towards folks outside of the user experience team.

On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM, Philip Hillman <philiphillman@gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for the advice.

With regards to Axure - i understand thats just under $600 a licence with reductions for bulk purchases. What I can not find is any prices for iRise - is it considerably more than $600 per licence?

2 Mar 2012 - 5:19pm
tamella
2008

I agree that visio can not be compared to the others. It is not a prototyping tool.  I use Axure and really like it.  I think it is easy to learn and has great results. I have not tried iRise.

Tammy

 

3 Mar 2012 - 1:11pm
jonkarpoff
2009

Last time I looked it cost $250,000 just to get iRise to talk to you. This is real Enterprise pricing - by the seat or floating licenses with annual support contracts. Maybe its changed in the last 2 years. That's why I say that though limited with Axure compared to iRise, Axure for wha you get is such an astoundingly low price. Or said another way, iRise is WAY overpriced.

3 Mar 2012 - 1:18pm
jonkarpoff
2009

Maybe I like Visio because I've been using it for over a decade. It does one thing Omnigraffle can't -- associate data with shapes and then generate out that data into spreadsheets. I use Visio as a workshop tool with clients - drawing out processes and interactions realtime. I can then generate out user stories or requirement lists directly from the Visio. That's pretty useful and you don't need a line of code -- its all drop downs and checkboxes. You do need the Professional or Premium version though to really play with the data capabilities. And the help documentation about it is pretty damn poor.

3 Mar 2012 - 1:26pm
jonkarpoff
2009

What I really miss is NeuVis NeuArchitect that took UML diagrams and data models and created UI object libraies where you could buils web/app screens by dragging and dropping the objects; select .Net, Bea Weblogics or Websphere and NeuArchitect would deliver the whole thing as finished code. Bought by Rational and subsumed by IBM, its long gone. 

I don't think the code was easily maintainable and not perfectly optimized, but it was a way to build prototypes that were "just like the real thing." -- *sigh*

5 Mar 2012 - 6:41am
Philip Hillman
2010

Thank you all for your feedback so far. Its been very useful. 

It appears that iRise will be far more than our intended budget for now.

Baring that in mind are there any established tools that are able to to build interactive prototypes from wireframes in the same manner as Axure? any worthy competitiors out there? 

The aspect thats really important is the ability to apply simple logic to the UI.

5 Mar 2012 - 8:05am
ravishyam
2009

justinmind may be a worthy competitor, bear in mind that each tool serves different purposes and there's no single tool that can address all our prototyping tools.-Ravi

On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 5:21 PM, Philip Hillman <philiphillman@gmail.com> wrote:

Thank you all for your feedback so far. Its been very useful. 

It appears that iRise will be far more than our intended budget for now.

Baring that in mind are there any established tools that are able to to build interactive prototypes from wireframes in the same manner as Axure? any worthy competitiors out there? 

The aspect thats really important is the ability to apply simple logic to the UI.

(((P
5 Mar 2012 - 12:34pm
Brian Mila
2009

Philip,

A few months ago I put together a comparative list of features and cost across 15 different products.   I worked with Daniel Drew Turner who did a great job putting a pretty face on the results and also hosted them on his site:

 http://www.twoangstroms.com/2012/01/09/ux-prototypingwireframing-tool-comparo/

 @jonkarpoff  iRise is not $250000.  It does depend on what pricing they give you, but when I talked to them in December it was more like $4740 per year per person.    Still not cheap, but well short of 250K, unless you are buying it for more than 50 designers.  Anyway, cost aside, iRise does a lot more than just prototyping, its really an entire requirements management package as well. 

As far as the most popular tools, I found most people worked with either Axure, Balsamiq, Visio, or Omnigraffle (Mac).   I agree with Ravi's comment, you should look at what features you need and use that as a basis for your decision.  Also, if you're on LinkedIn, theres quite a lengthy (174 comments and still going!) discussion on this topic in the IXDA linked in group.

Brian

 

5 Mar 2012 - 1:40pm
jwguthrie
2010

I recently started using Flairbuilder. It is similar to Balsamiq in many respects, but has several more features that are very worthwhile.

For rendering it has both a sketch and plain view. It exports both PNG and PDF and there is also a free viewer that can be downloaded so interactive prototypes can be tested/played with by clients, customers, etc.that do not have the tool.

Annotations can be added directly in the project files and the tree structure of your pages is also shown in a typical site map view.

Another favorite feature is custom widgets and icons. You can basically import any PNG as a custom icon and there are custom widgets available for download on the website. You can also submit your own custom widgets and they will post them to the website for others if you'd like.

Best I can tell, Flairbuilder is a 1 man shop, but he is incredibly responsive to bugs/issues and there is a steady stream of updates for new features.

Oh yeah, it's also only $99.

6 Mar 2012 - 4:21pm
jenmatos
2010

Justinmind, iRise, Adobe Flash Catalyst, and Axure are some options to consider. I would say the tool that fits you best is dependent on the level of fidelity you are looking to provide. All the ones listed above are generally best for hi-fidelity, pixel-perfect prototypes. 

I wrote an article a few months back reviewing some popular prototyping tools, could be worth checking. Some people left great recommendations in the comments.

http://id8.com/2011/08/15/comparing-digital-prototyping-tools

6 Mar 2012 - 10:55pm
jamesfoley
2011

Depends on your goals, of course,  For easy to learn I like Balsamiq and Pencil.  CogTool is nice because it can display its transition graph (as do some others) but transitions can be triggered by mouse, keyboard (commands or data), touch panel, and voice.  More robust than most systems. Plus it does KSLM (Key  Stroke Level Model) prediction of expert user task completion times. Very nice.  Pencil and CogTool are free. Balsamiq is very inexpensive.  None of these produce exportable code to use for taking the prototype into a working system. Some systems, like SketchFlow and Denim, can do this so you can move more quickly from prototype to the real thing.  (Denim exports HTML for web sites, it is really nice, and free too.)

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