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Will Hacker is the author of Mobile Prototyping With Axure 7. He’s used Axure for several years as part of his iterative design and prototyping process. Will spent two and a half years working exclusively on mobile design, prototyping, and usability testing, and Axure was one of the main tools in his arsenal. He also has written about prototyping and user experience design for Smashing Magazine and UX Booth, and is a frequent speaker at design events in Chicago. Will is a Lead Interaction Designer at GE Capital, where he works on multi-device designs for commercial lending software. You can follow his tweets at @willhacker or visit his website at willhacker.net.
There are many options available for prototyping mobile user experiences, but if you need to prototype native apps for mobile devices you should take a look at Proto.io when evaluating potential choices. This solution has many features for designing and prototyping mobile apps, including built-in component libraries for specific devices, great support for gestures and transitions, and an app that allows for easy viewing on actual hardware.
But the first thing to know is that unlike most prototyping tools, Proto.io is a web application, so you'll need an internet connection to do your work. This is a drawback compared to other options likes Axure RP, Blueprint, Justinmind, or iRise. It can have an impact if you plan to work somewhere where Wi-Fi connections don't always live up to their promise, like on a flight, in an airport, or in a hotel.
Responsive Web design has vexed people who build prototypes since the techniques came into use several years ago. While responsive design is an extremely elegant way to handle coding for multiple device types when executed with HTML and CSS, the prototyping tools available to UX professionals have not delivered testable or demonstrable experiences of the same quality. That changed recently with the adaptive views feature that is part of the new Axure RP 7.
Creating responsive prototypes without writing code is now possible with Axure RP 7’s new adaptive views feature. The feature enables you to create one page in Axure RP with several “views.” The view displayed on a given device is determined by the width of the device’s screen.
People are increasingly using their smartphones as a replacement for desktop computers, even for activities such as shopping and purchasing. And as more people move away from the desktop and onto mobile-optimized websites to shop for products and services, website creators can use established design patterns to help kickstart a mobile e-commerce project.
Having a good mobile e-commerce experience matters a lot. In fact, recent research has found that people are 67% more likely to make a purchase if a website they’ve reached on their phone is smartphone-friendly.
Validating a design through user testing is necessary for the success of almost any product. And it’s even more critical in the mobile application space, where context and individual devices play an important role in how a product is experienced.
Fortunately, interactive prototyping is a time-tested way to quickly get your design onto a user’s device and into their hands. So, let’s look at why prototyping matters and explore one powerful tool that will enable you to do it quickly.