11 Posts about
Prototyping

Axure Vs. Sketch: What, Why and When

This is a short(ish) blog that aims to respond to the increased use of Sketch (a software design/prototyping tool) by our clients. I’ll look at some of the more significant differences between Sketch and Axure (a similar prototyping tool), how they fit into our user-centred design (UCD) practice and what we recommend our clients use to upskill their teams and streamline their product pipelines.


Leap day charity event at Bunnyfoot

I don’t know if you realised this, but we have a free day this year! Yes, 1 free day. How would you spend it? Let’s be honest, you’d probably just go to work.

At Bunnyfoot, we decided to donate the extra day to charity so we got in touch with some exceptionally brilliant charities that make a difference to our world but are just not big enough to provide the super slick websites that established charities can.


Leap day charity event

I don’t know if you realised this, but we have a free day this year! Yes, 1 free day. How would you spend it? Let’s be honest, you’d probably just go to work.

At Bunnyfoot, we decided to donate the extra day to charity so we got in touch with some exceptionally brilliant charities that make a difference to our world but are just not big enough to provide the super slick websites that established charities can.


Test and learn trend continues into 2014

Looking at trends for this year can be done with guidance from developments made last year. Econsultancy have recently predicted a number of digital trends for 2014, including a greater focus on experimentation and agility.


Your guide to card sorting and how to use it

An introduction to card sorting

Card sorting. It’s really as simple as it sounds, but one of the most effective tools in user centred design to understand how your customers navigate to structure your content and name your sections.

I’m going to use this blog post to try and give you an overview of card sorting – what it is, how we use it and why you should make it a part of your next design project.


Children are the stars of World Usability Day

11th November 2010 saw World Usability Day being celebrated around the world. We took part by hosting a design competition on World Usability Day’s theme of “Communication”. We had an amazing morning with the kids from Royal Mile and Niddrie Mill primary schools. In the last month they have built their prototypes following user centred design principles, and after a round of testing at the Bunnyfoot offices they have made all their changes and were ready to put their ideas to a panel of judges.

Prizes up for grabs were:
Best Presentation, Most Usable Device, Most Innovative Device and Most Realistic Prototype.
Children having fun


Children learn usability is the key to great communication tools

This week, we’ve been overrun with 10-11 year olds from Royal Mile and Long Niddrie Mill primary schools, showing us up with their amazing ideas for how to improve communication in their schools for World Usability Day.

We’re hoping to teach them that usability is a key element when designing tools for communication by helping them to test their products in a professional environment. Each team appointed a moderator, then watched from the viewing room as a group tested their prototypes.


The Best Free and Affordable Web Apps for Creating Wireframes and Interactive Prototypes

11th January 2010
Posted by in Tools and Resources
Tags: ,

Wireframing with a desktop app? Oh come on – that’s so 2009.

Recent months have seen a slew of online web apps specifically for the creation of low-fidelity, clickable prototypes. It all started with “Balsamiq” some time ago now (complete with Comic Sans default font scandal) and has quickly progressed to an alarming array of free and affordable options.

Over at Bunnyfoot towers we’ve been giving them a spin. Here’s a quick rundown.

Mockflow

http://www.mockflow.com/
Pricing: 1 mockup with 4 pages is free, or $49 per year for pretty much unrestricted use.

The overall experience feels swift and straightforward after initial bump of a UI learning curve. The key differentiator over others on test here is the ability to co-edit mockups with collaborators. Online chat is also built in, making it easy to work together to craft your dream app.

Other nice features include align guides as you draw, a comprehensive library of components and quick and easy sharing (both private and public).

The main gripe whilst editing was the lack of keyboard shortcuts (at least on a Mac), making every copy and paste a menu selection.

screen shot of the mockflow application

screen shot of the mockflow application

iPlotz

http://www.iplotz.com
Pricing: free for 1 mockup with 5 pages. Subscription packages from $15 per month to $495 for 10 users with desktop and online access.

Phew. iPlotz is a beast. As well as wireframing, you also get an array of project management features, including to-do lists and completion status. There are also other powerful features such as version control, fine drawing tools, HTML export and annotations. It also makes a mean cappucino if you ask nicely enough!

Putting together a mockup is fairly straight-forward, once you’ve become accustomed to the (quite busy) interface. The default “sketchy” style is similar in feel to Balsamiq (see below), but a little less “play school” in feel.

Of course the trade-off with many powerful features is simplicity. The overall experience is more akin to a desktop app and takes some determined effort to feel comfortable.

screen shot of the iplotz application

screen shot of the iplotz application

Balsamiq

http://www.balsamiq.com
Pricing: free for online use, $79 for desktop app.

Balsamiq is fairly well known in web circles, and courted controversy with it’s choice of the oft-slammed font Comic Sans as a default (although you can change this).

The overall experience is not bad: drag, drop and edit works reasonably well. You can also search for widgets and add them to your canvas with the press of an enter key, speeding up the drawing process. There are some nice human touches: there’s an inspirational design quote as the app loads.

You can export your design, but unfortunately you can’t easily share your mockups – you need the desktop version to do this.

Overall, the end result feels a little too playful for serious heavy duty projects – we’re not sure how well it would go down in the financial sector for example.

screen shot of the balsamiq application

screen shot of the balsamiq application

Mocking Bird

http://gomockingbird.com
Pricing: free (currently still in beta).

Probably the slickest of the apps on offer here, Mocking Bird has a clean look and easy to learn UI.

Like Balsamiq, you can get stuck in and create a mockup without creating an account (you get a prompt to signup on save).

There’s nothing drastically new on offer in terms of drawing tools, but they work well and there’s a comprehensive library of components to start you off.

Public sharing is also pretty straight-forward, making it easy to send out a link for user feedback. There’s no private sharing unfortunately, although the URL is sufficiently obscure.

On the downside, it’s not straightforward to create precise pixel width layouts (there’s no ruler or way to specify exact sizes) and no page masters or templates to save on copy and pasting.
So will we be throwing away Axure anytime soon? Well, the job is not entirely done — there’s a gulf between quick and dirty concept tools and full-blown, enterprise standard specifications. It also requires a client with a good understanding of the design and user research process and confidence in the value of low-fidelity, disposable prototypes. Oh, and maybe a soft-spot for Comic Sans.

screen shot of the mockingbird application

screen shot of the mockingbird application

The biggest boon has got to be the ease and speed of sharing (anyone trying to upload an Axure prototype with its 1,000s of spacer gifs via a slow connection will feel our pain). It’s dead easy to get an idea online for client review and a rapid round of user feedback.

Got your own favourite, or an opinion on these apps? Have  you used them on client projects? Let us know.


The Usability Snowman Challenge

7th January 2010 - This post has 2 comments
Posted by in News and Announcements
Tags: , ,

Well, we asked for some snow donations on Twitter and they came in in abundance! One day, there was not even a hint of frost and the next, we were ankle-deep in snow, working from home, but still managing to inject some Bunnyfoot fun into the day with a “usability snowman” competition across our UK offices (I hope Hong Kong don’t feel too left out!).

2 hours, some snow and a little imagination produced an outright winner from Oxford’s Usability Consultant, Nick Antram. Here’s his entry…


Usability Snowman

7th January 2010
Posted by in News and Announcements
Tags: ,

Well, we asked for some snow donations on Twitter and they came in in abundance! One day there was not even a hint of frost and the next, we were ankle deep in snow, working from home, but still managing to inject some Bunnyfoot fun into the day with a “usability snowman” competition across our UK offices (I hope Hong Kong don’t feel too left out!).

2 hours, some snow and a little imagination produced an outright winner from Oxford’s Usability Consultant, Nick Antram. Here’s his entry…

Here is an attempt at a usable snowman. We talked to local snowmen users and asked them what they really wanted out of their snowmen and the overwhelming response of the 2 people we spoke to was that snowmen needed to be not only big fat piles of snow that were funny to look at, but useful too!

Popular suggestions were:

  • To have a flashing light on the top so users could easily see the snowman in a snowstorm
  • Have a comfy seat to allow users to have a nice sit down after struggling through the snow
  • To have a nice cuppa tea (when is this not a popular suggestion?)

So we sketched some ideas:

Well ok, just one

Initial sketches of a usable snowman

Did some anthropometric analysis and fitting trials:

Scientific sketches to make sure the snowman chair is viable

Which gave us the 95th percentile of users

Then we user tested it thoroughly in blizzard like conditions **

And this is the result…

The snowmatic ergsnowchair!

Snowman Chair in its completed form

With some final user testing, we just knew it was perfect.

Nicks quest for to build an ergonomic chair

* Ergonomic principles may not have been used
** May not have been user tested thoroughly


About Bunnyfoot

We are psychologists, interaction and design experts, researchers, usability specialists. We cover Web, software, mobile, print, service design and more.
More about us