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Previous Posts

Killer intranet prototypes in minutes

Tuesday, January 24, 2006  

Scrap the paper prototyping. Un-install Visio. There's a new prototyping tool in town, kids, and it's called Axure.

What’s wrong with paper prototyping?

I raved about paper prototyping a year ago
. But here’s the problem: It’s S-L-O-W. And if you were weaned on computers like me, your hand starts to hurt after holding a pencil for 5 minutes.

What’s wrong with Visio?

Visio was designed to build technical and process diagrams, not web sites. It doesn’t support pages that scroll. And although it can do a web export, you can’t interact with the forms it creates, making usability testing very difficult.

What’s so great about Axure?

Like Visio, you can drag-and-drop widgets and link pages. It supports templates and styles so you can make global changes quickly. But unlike Visio, it generates stellar HTML prototypes (here’s a sample I created to accompany this newsletter). It also lets you annotate all page elements in detail, and you can generate a complete specifications document in Word format with a single keystroke.

Axure RP 3
costs $589US [3]. Version 4 is currently in beta, and it adds zooming, AJAX-prototyping, and other enhancements to Version 3. If you’re in the business of building intranet applications, a strong web prototyping tool is one of the best investments you can make.

About the Author

I'm Chris McGrath, an intranet consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I've been working on intranets since 1997, and on plain ol' web sites for even longer. I run One Intranets, the firm that co-created ThoughtFarmer -- an enterprise collaboration platform for Windows-based intranets.