Posts Tagged ‘prototyping’

Ace user experience design with UXPin

Modern products and services are all about excelling in the field of customer satisfaction. The organizations that have user experience, popularly known as UX, as their primary objective are the ones that have the highest chances of success as compared to others. That’s the reason modern day UX designers are some of the highest paid professionals in the technology field. But when the costs go high, the road gets steep for small organizations. What they need is killer UX design skills at a price they can afford. Enter – UXPin.

UXPin – Collaborative UX design tool

UXPin is an online tool that lets you and your team work collectively on wire-framing, prototyping, user testing and more without the need of writing code. It lets you create user flows, static / interactive designs, prototypes with advanced states, and interactive wire-frames within minutes and share them with your team in different formats (PDF, PNG, HTML, etc). Other team-mates can monitor the designs shared with them, leave their feedback in the form of comments and notify the people the comments are meant for. You can even get manager approvals for your UX designs directly through the tool. With its state-of-the-art features and easy working interface, UXPin is one tool that helps save teams hundreds of hours by simplifying product development and collaboration through elimination of coding.

Some of the most interesting features of UXPin include:

  • Thousands of built-in elements for UX designing on mobile, web, and desktop
  • Editor for building static / interactive designs and advanced prototypes with interactions
  • Facility to import designs from Sketch and Photoshop
  • Custom libraries to help you standardize your designs
  • Auto-update that reflects changes you make to one element in all other elements of your design
  • Lets you assign roles and permissions to team members
  • Enables tracking project status in the dashboard
  • Eliminates lengthy redlining of mockups with spec mode

UXPin can play a pivotal role in bringing distributed UX design teams together through its platform. With this one tool, people sitting across different continents can work together in real-time. It lets teams quickly test their UX designs across platforms and allows people to actually go into a design and cut and paste components where needed. It is a tool that lets you go beyond the traditional limits of designing.

Here’s how you can use UXPin

You can jump right into the action by starting with UXPin’s free trial. It is simple to register. All you have to do is enter your company email address where required and hit on the big blue button that says “Start using it now!” on the tool’s homepage. You could also let the experts at UXPin give you and your team a helpful demo. For now, let’s stick to the free trial.

Once you’ve entered your email id, the tool will ask you for a few more details before proceeding. It’s the usual process most tools follow to customize themselves to suit your needs better. Typically, the details you’d need to provide would include the size of your design team, information as to how you got to know about UXPin, and what role you play in your project. A short and sweet tour later, you will arrive at your dashboard.

In the dashboard you’ll see a dummy project, options to add new members or manage your team, options to upgrade, and most importantly, the option to create a new project. We suggest to start with new project creation as that will give you the most exposure to UXPin’s features. Click on “Create new project” and give it a name. Save and proceed.

The next screen will ask you to choose between using the UXPin editor to create designs from scratch or import them from Photoshop or Sketch. We chose to start from scratch and arrived at the handsome UXPin editor. The UXPin editor has a gray colored work area in the center of the screen with drag-and-droppable elements on the left. By default, the “Basic Elements” library is selected but you can change that through a convenient drop-down. You can create pages and layers in your design and name it whatever you wish to. The top margin of the work area is lined with more editing options, a play button that says “Preview”, and a button that lets you “Share” your prototype or wire-frame with your team.

When you’re done, click on the “More” button at the top right of the screen and then click on “Log out”.

Pluses VS Minuses

The pluses are many and can be easily gathered from the features section. The tool isn’t very costly either.

As far as the minuses are concerned, we think there are a few minor ones:

  • The tool does have a slight learning curve associated with it. It might take some time for getting used to.
  • A good catch suggested by one of the designers is the lack of an “Offline” mode in the tool. You’d always need to be connected to the Internet to work on UXPin.
  • The tool could benefit from more design options like fonts and customizations.
  • The tool #UX designers across the world are loving: @uxpin uxpin.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

Overall, UXPin is one tool no UX designer should miss. Despite the tiny drawbacks, it is awesomely useful owing to the advanced editor and integrated collaboration features.

Present your ideas better, with Symu

When working in an organization, brainstorming and coming up with innovative ideas is considered quite a big deal. That’s how the wizards of technology develop cool stuff for users. But as a designer or developer, thinking of something great and explaining that idea to teammates are two different tasks. It is essential that the purpose you’re trying to achieve doesn’t get lost in describing the functionality to others. And that’s precisely why so often, practical examples, or more correctly, mockups are used to demonstrate ideas.

Interested yet? If you are, we’ve got a brilliant tool for you this time that will not only help you present your ideas in an awesome way, but will also act as an online collaboration and project monitoring tool where you can share your ideas with teammates through links, accept their feedback, and apply changes accordingly. Plus, you could do a lot more. Get ready to checkout Symu!

Symu – Present Practically & Professionally

Symu is an online tool that enables you to present your projects in a browser. Projects here mean website designing projects with actual working button clicks, links, animations and targets. The tool lets you prepare dynamic presentations for your websites with features such as fixed headers, clickable hotspots, etc. Moreover, you can create dedicated folders for each of your projects in the Symu portal where you can add teammates and give them permissions and accesses to upload work collectively. It even lets you upload video files and accept feedback on them as comments.

It lets you work through a 6 step process:

  • Upload your project (as an image file or a design file)
  • Create clickable mockups (buttons, links, targets)
  • Save the changes
  • Share the project with your team via email
  • Get feedback on the project in the form of comments (each comment is made into a task automatically so that it can be tracked easily)
  • Work on the feedback, share again

It’s as simple as that. Additionally, the tool also lets you manage your workflow by arranging your tasks in progress, ready for review, on hold, approved through a convenient drag-and-drop feature.

Enough with the talk, let’s get some hands-on experience.

Tool Usage

To get in the action, sign up for free with the “Sign up free” button on the homepage. The tool requests for your name and email address, or you can sign up with your Facebook or Google credentials. Thereafter, you’ll be asked to activate your account by confirming that you received an email from Symu.

When your account has been activated, you’ll be directed to your Symu dashboard. You’ll see the option to upload your project. You can upload files of JPG, PNG, or PSD formats. Once the picture has been uploaded, you can begin working with it. You’ll find a “More” option on the upper right corner of the uploaded picture. Click on it to see various options like Copy URL, Share Project, Assets, Versions, Duplicate, etc. By default the image you upload will be kept in the outer-most directory level, but you can move it to any folder that you create. Check the box on the upper left corner of the image and a file menu of sorts will appear on the top of the screen with the options to Share, set project Status, Move, Duplicate, or Delete.

To edit the image, hover over the image. A button that says “View Screen” will appear in the center of the image. Click on it to open your uploaded image in full screen mode with a ton of editing options in the left hand panel. The options include:

  • Versions: A look at all the different versions of the uploaded image
  • Comments: Options to allow comments on the image or not. To add comments on the image, click on it anywhere. That should open up a comment dialog.
  • Build mode: Click and drag over the image to select an area. As you release the mouse, a pop-up will open with options to set the destination that will open when you click on the image next. This functionality lets you set target on clicks (beneficial for button clicks).
  • Desktop mode: Option to view the image as it would appear on desktop, mobile or tablet
  • Upload option
  • Settings: Image editing options
  • Share
  • Status: Option to put the image on hold, for review, mark as approved, archive

When you’re done with editing and wish to return to your dashboard, click on the Symu logo on the upper left corner of the screen. Another set of options you’ll find on your dashboard screen will be in the main menu on the top. Here you’ll find:

  • Projects
  • Workflow
  • Tasks
  • Activity
  • Shared
  • Teams

Pretty self-explanatory we guess!

Additional features include free templates, UI kits, etc. that you can access through the “Freebies” button on the upper right corner. To access many more of the awesome features of this tool, start your free trial and upgrade to one of the pricing plans later.

  • Present your projects dynamically within your browser with @SymuCo symu.co/ via @supermonitoring

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Concluding Lines

Symu is quite a promising tool that budding designers should definitely try out. It is gradually capturing the interest of field enthusiasts and hopefully will soon rise as one of the dynamic presentation tools having the most potential.

Create cool prototypes with Marvel

A major reason behind the steep increase in the Smartphone and mobile device user base is the development and popularity of unique mobile apps. From health monitoring to party planning, shopping for clothes to groceries, today, there’s an app for everything. And keeping up with this trend, hundreds of new apps are launched every other day. If you’re thinking of becoming a part of this current scheme of events with your own app, the tool that we’re discussing in this review will be of particular interest to you.

Once you’ve done the preliminary planning for your new app including its name, purpose, functions, target audience etc., an important juncture where you land up is the look and feel of it. Developers and designers brainstorm for hours to come up with the perfect colour schemes, images, arrangements and presentations for an app before it reaches the stage of being launched. And once that is done, comes in the technical part – the actual programming to achieve what’s planned. While large organizations may be capable of affording developers who can code everything, small teams or individuals might not have that liberty. As such, learning a new programming language and dealing with it might seem like a time taking and tedious activity.

marvel

This is where mobile prototyping tools come into play. With such tools, creating a mobile app is something that doesn’t need one to be a technical guru. And in the field, Marvel stands out from its competition. Read on to know why.

Marvel – Mobile & Web prototyping made easy!

Marvel happens to be the easiest way to turn your sketches, images and mockups into realistic mobile and web prototypes without having to code. With an auto-sync option that updates changes to Dropbox in the background, all you need to focus on is the work; Marvel takes care of the rest.

With this awesome online tool you can create Apple Watch, Android, iPhone and Web prototypes easily. What’s more, you can keep the prototypes synced with Dropbox or choose to share them with friends and colleagues. With a click-done methodology to support it and leading names like Smartrecruiters, Reddit, Housing and more is its user base, Marvel is fast becoming a frequently heard name in the app prototyping circles.

Here’s a brief description of the tool’s features:

  • The key highlight of Marvel is the lack of technical expertise needed to use this tool. Regardless of whether you are a designer, entrepreneur, a startup, an agency or just a student, you’ll be able to create your app prototypes in minutes with Marvel.
  • Since the prototypes can be viewed in browsers, you can work on any device including desktop, iOS, Android etc.
  • It also makes sharing prototypes easy via email, SMS or even embedding into blogs and portfolios.
  • It lets you create as many teams as you want and of any size.
  • Getting real-time feedback is extremely easy through a direct commenting feature; it doesn’t even need you to create an account to comment.
  • Turn your prototypes into offline apps (.apk) that you can install directly to your homescreen.
  • Supports Sketch and Photoshop so you can turn your ideas on paper to ideas on the Web

marvel1

How it works

The basic working of the tool is quite simple really. You sign-up with your Dropbox account and once connected, you can move straight to creating your first project.

Thereafter, you can choose to add images from your system (they can be Photoshop files [PSDs], PNGs, JPGs or GIFs) or Dropbox or Sketch. Alternatively, you can choose to take photos of your paper sketches for Android and iOS.

Once the images are uploaded, you can start linking them by hovering over the images, clicking on Edit, making desired changes and then clicking on the next image you wish to appear. You have an option to choose from a variety of edits like transitions, moving the header / footers, changing colours etc. If you want to make changes to any of the images and restart, all you need to do is change the image at your desktop or device. Marvel will then automatically update the changes to your Dropbox account and hence in your prototype too.

Once satisfied, click on ‘Close’ button on the upper right corner of the screen and then click on ‘Play’ to playback your changes. You can choose to share the prototype through a Share button on the upper right corner of the screen.
To understand the process better, you can watch a detailed demo video from the home screen.

marvel2

Additional Features

In addition to creating your own prototypes you can also choose from some of the readymade prototypes available in the tool. These can be seen by clicking on the Explore button on the upper right corner of the screen. Moreover, you can choose to upload your online sketches directly from the App Store or Google Play.

Pros Vs Cons

The highlight of this tool is – no coding required. Anyone who is not even remotely related to programming can also use this tool. Apart from this, the pros of the tool are pretty much derived from its features, so there’s nothing more to add there.
There are however a few cons with this tool. While Marvel claims to be a free tool, in effect it doesn’t prove to be one since all prototypes created with the free membership contain its branding. To remove the branding, you’ll have to upgrade to one of their pricing plans. Plus, free prototypes are not private so in order to protect your secrecy, you’ll need to upgrade thus making users enter a password if they wish to view your prototype. So basically, you’ll only be able to commercially use this tool if you fish out money.

  • Create amazing mobile & web prototypes with @marvelapp marvelapp.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Wrapping it up

All-in-all, Marvel could prove to be a revolution for you if you’d been waiting for a simple way to create ready to use mobile app prototypes. You’ll have to pay for it of course, but then what you get in return would be well worth it.

Moqups – mockup and wireframing online tool

Creating wireframes is an essential task when it comes to website designing. Wireframes help you to create simple sketches and illustrate the basic skeleton or structure of the website and its components. While cerebrating on the features we want on the website for example Homepage, Layout structure, Site components and navigational scheme, this is known as Wireframing.
Wireframing is surely going to save you time as before designing the website you’ll be creating site’s architecture, content and functionality On the other hand Prototyping is the process of creating a version of the website with full functionality and has same navigational features as the final website is expected to have. Special Prototyping tools are used to create prototypes.

moqups250

One of the best tools used to create Wireframes, Prototypes, Mock ups and User interface is ‘Moqups’. This free HTML5 app is straight forward, easy to use and allows you to easily share prototypes that you create. The feasibility of using this app built on HTML5 and JavaScript makes it impressive and best in the Wireframing domain. A Google Chrome extension is also available in the Chrome App store making it easy for you to access your moqups account.

Providing a wide range of stencils and formatting options this app allows you to store the offline version of the design that you create or you may even store the design on cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. You are even allowed to share it through a link with your clients and colleagues.

A sample page with instructions for creating a mockup loads up quickly when you open the app. The stencil library located on the right hand side of the screen as a sidebar enables you to add components to the mockup while dragging and dropping them to the canvas. These stencils include radio buttons, slider, avatar, Rectangles and boxes, grid, iPhone, iPad, Pie chart, links, placeholder images and much more. We can change the color, states and shapes of some stencils while some stencils offer editable content on the other hand some can never be edited at all. Also, it has powerful stencil search options and with plentiful tags for the same. To annotate your wonderfully beautiful designs moqups provides a notes stencil to add descriptions, explanations and comments about designs and features of the design.

moqups

Moqups allows you to set the title as well as the height and width of your webpage and one of the most unique feature of moqups is the Grid snapping option and you can choose the size of your grid and select to snap objects to the grid for an enhanced alignment. It has smart guide feature which allows us to snap objects, align, edit and transform the objects. Moqups also allows you to lock and group various objects as per your need. It has 960 Grid System used in every part of the CSS frameworks. The 960 grid system helps the web developers by providing dimensions which are commonly used and are based on a width of 960 pixels. This grid is customizable and the dimensions can be changed according to the user requirements.

Moqups supports the Hotspot feature which allows you to link objects and elements to other pages. You can upload images using the upload images option and link them to pages using hotspot feature. Hotspot enables the user to link different prototypes together. You can use desktop keyboard shortcuts which you may already be familiar with, for example Ctrl+X for cut and Ctrl+V for paste, Ctrl+Shift+Z for redo and Ctrl+z for undo. There are many other keyboard shortcuts specialized for creating hotspots and editing stencils. These keyboard shortcuts enhance your wireframing experience and you can use the objects easily in a desktop like fashion. You can now even copy paste objects between different pages and projects making the mockup experience more comfortable.

Moqups uses secure SSL communication and all the data is backed up regularly on different servers where they are securely stored the privacy of the different projects created on moqups is taken care of seriously. It also offers markdown support too which is a text to html converter for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy to use, easy to write format, then convert this plain text to structurally valid HTML or XHTML.
Moqups is free to use with or without signup. The signup procedure is very easy and hassle free you just need to have an email account. One can store up to 3 projects simultaneously on an account. While it also offers some premium features which are:

  • It offers real-time collaboration with clients and coworkers. This feature is very useful for people who work in teams to develop a certain project. Not only this, real-time collaboration with client helps the developers get reviews from the client and improve the flaws in the design according to the review. This also allows client to keep a check on the daily progress of the developer on a project.
  • Ability to leave a comment and feedback is a feature through which the client may leave a feedback for the developer when the design would be shared.
  • Master Pages for increased productivity enables you to set a basic page for all your pages which would save your time and energy while you work on different projects.
  • It allows you to create unlimited revisions on the projects which you store and even allows you to fork a new project from the current revision or branch off in a different direction as per your wish.
  • It offers Public as well as Private Projects.
    • Public Projects: Anyone having the link to the design can access it.
    • Private Projects: Only the people with whom you collaborate would be able to access the design.
  • Moqups offers unlimited archived projects to help you maintain your project quota and this may prove to be a good feature if you are planning to work on various projects at a time.

Easily create wireframes, mockups and prototypes with this free yet powerful HTML5 app: moqups.com @moqups via @supermonitoring

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The simple user interface and the ability to create wonderful wireframes this tool is earning a lot of appreciation by the web and graphic designers. As it is widely available to users free of cost and can be used instantly this app is now used popularly with over more than 30,000 unique visits daily. This Tool not only saves your time but also saves environment as you would drop down your pencils saving many trees and would love to design on this extremely pleasant and serene tool. This incredible tool deserves a 5 on 5 rating! What say?

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