Working in Context with Axure 8

By Jeff Harrison

The Axure 8 beta dropped yesterday, and as always there’s a lot to take in. Some of the new features are pretty flashy: updated animation options mean you can finally flip and spin things—at the same time! There are tools for creating custom shapes, repeater updates, and lots of other improvements that will help you make fancier prototypes, if that’s your thing.

The changes I’m happiest to see are the ones that promise to improve the way I work in Axure by allowing me to work on things in their context, instead of having to switch to one mode where I’m editing in isolation, and then back to see the results of what I’ve done.

There are three examples of this that stick out at me right away.

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You Still Have to Do the Work

By Jeff Harrison

Here’s a common exchange when I’m talking to a prospective client (let’s call him “Steve”) about an Axure workshop:

Me: Tell me a little bit about how you see your team using Axure.

Steve: We’re using all kinds of tools today. Some people are using Visio, some are using PowerPoint. The designers are using Photoshop and OmniGraffle. It’s all over the map. Everybody’s stuff looks different. We have decided to standardize on Axure, so the purpose of this training is to get people up to speed.

Me: Okay, that makes sense. Is there anything you know you want to focus on?

Steve: I’m extremely interested in the custom libraries that Axure has, so we can all be working with the same components. We spend too much time reinventing the wheel today. I definitely hope that these libraries are part of the training.

Me: Sure, I can cover that. What are you doing today to try to standardize components?

Steve: As I said, it’s all over the map. We have no standards.

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Future-Proofing Your Prototypes

The folks at Axure (our go-to tool for rapid UI prototyping) just blogged a conversation with our own Jeff Harrison. Jeff has been using Axure for a long time and is no stranger to the headaches that can come with prototyping interactions. In this post he lays down some rules to manage that complexity, or even avoid it altogether, with the goal of making your life a lot easier when a client asks for just one “small” change.

Of course, all that happens while discussing the workings of a complex prototype that Jeff created as a demo for the Chicago Axure Users Meetup a while back, so consider yourself warned.