Why is Axure not considered?
I work on apps/websites that are mostly used/viewed on desktop computers - is Axure the best choice for this or something else?
Axure is mentioned but not reviewed in-depth.
It's significantly more expensive than most of these alternatives, and it doesn't play nice with other file types (most have Sketch/Photoshop integration: see [uxtools.co](uxtools.co)).
I work on web apps too, and I use Principle when I want to demo interactions and animations. What do you use as your main design program?
I did a 'find on page' for 'axure' and had 0 results.
I use Sketch as my main design program. I know it doesn't play as nicely as, say, Invision, but my needs/wants are:
- prototyping desktop apps (not flashy mobile stuff), with some responsiveness
- at least a way to do some interactive elements, not just stitching images together for transitions
- auto-documentation in Axure looks to be a great value, even if you have to do some manual editing to get it right
Poor word choice on my part. Axure is shown in the two diagrams, never mentioned.
If you're using Sketch, I would definitely look for something with Sketch import. UX Pin has many of the features you're mentioning.
I'm not familiar with auto-documentation but it looks interesting. Would you use that to deliver specs to a client? I'm in-house, so I design in Sketch and deliver specs to engineers using Zeplin.
Yes, Axure is a good choice for web applications or websites. The interface is not that user-friendly but you can also do a lot more than other prototyping tools. For example, you can use variables to remember state (and pass their values between pages). You can use a library of built-in string, math and position functions. You can also do things like validate the text a user inputs into a text field.
Axure doesn't produce responsive web page designs but it simulates responsive design with its 'adaptive views' feature which essentially switches layout at certain breakpoints. However, you need to redesign the page for each breakpoint which can be time-consuming.
Axure is expensive to buy ($495) outright (i.e. no licence expiry for the version you purchase), but they now also have a monthly subscription option ($29) if you only need it for a limited time.
Finally, unlike a lot of prototyping tools, Axure is a proper desktop application (for Windows and Mac), so it can make full use of all the features of your OS. This makes it feel far more robust than browser-based prototyping tools.
Since it's a desktop app, it doesn't require an internet connection while you're prototyping and files are saved locally (but you can upload finished prototypes to their free AxShare service when you want to share your prototype.) They offer a free 30-day trial of the app, so you can evaluate whether it's suitable or not for your needs.
Thanks for the writeup!
Maybe I'm not well-versed enough on this but I thought responsive design is basically switching layouts at certain breakpoints in browser sizing?
What would be the next best prototyping tool for desktop apps/websites?
Yes, that's exactly what responsive design is, but if you were coding a website by hand in HTML and CSS, the browser would automatically scale and then re-arrange elements based on the breakpoints you set. In other words, if you have 3 breakpoints, you won't write 3 different versions of your HTML and CSS for each breakpoint. In Axure, it fakes responsive design, so if you want to simulate 3 breakpoints, you have to layout the webpage separately for each breakpoint.
I've not used any other prototyping tool for desktop websites, so can't recommend any other unfortunately. A few that might be worth investigating are: webflow.com (visual website builder) and pinegrow.com (an app for creating websites, but you'll need to know HTML/CSS)
Framer looks like a good tool too, but they position it very much for mobile and they have no desktop examples (even though it is capable of creating desktop sites).
I'll add: why are XCode and Android Studio not considered? It's not uncommon to UX test with real code.
Hey Taylor, great collection of the prototyping tool. But what about feedback?
We all know that nobody is gonna drop a comment or reply over email.
This tool CanvasFlip.com helps UX and product managers to record user behavior as a video just by sharing the web-link of prototypes.
CanvasFlip also generates heatmap and conversion funnel to track where users are interacting most in screen and flow level.
Will you checkout http://CanvasFlip.com and share your feedback? Would love if you can include it in your post.. :)
[Disclaimer: I'm one of the designers @CanvasFlip]
I cant imagine doing my job without Axure. I've tried all the other tools and while I'm able to do some coding Axure has documentation features along with the new enhancements in v.8 make it indispensable. Browser based apps seems so fickle and not quite ready though UXpin looks good at times. I'm not a designer and sometimes work on windows machines so Sketch + whatever isn't an option.
That's great. I know other designers and businesses that use Axure heavily. This article was more geared towards designers, so some of the tools might not suit you as well.
However, like the article says, choose the tool that best for you. Not what everyone else is using.