AxureWorld, Automated Mobile Menus, UX Map & Mobile Prototyping

This fall, the Axure community has created a number of resources for fellow UX practitioners. The following are a few of the best.

AxureWorld 2015: Lean UX, Widgets in the Sky, and Collaboration in Axure RP 8

If you missed this year’s AxureWorld Event on Nov. 20, not to worry. Ezra Schwartz, AxureWorld’s founder and organizer, has published videos of the presentations on the conference site. The first, “Axure for Lean UX Enterprise” from Archie Miller of CarMax, covers how Lean UX principles are applied within a large corporation and illustrated with details from a sample project. In the second presentation, “The Great Widget in the Sky,” Ritch Macefield demonstrates how he uses Axure to create heuristic evaluations of existing applications. The talk is an elaboration of Ritch’s popular 2014 article in UX Matters entitled “An Overview of Expert Heuristic Evaluations.”

The third video is an overview of the collaboration features in Axure RP 8, presented by Axure’s Associate Product Manager Rachel Brown. RP 8, currently in Beta, contains a number of additions designed to make things easier for teams to work together, including Team Projects on Axure Share, new print specifications, and easier ways to manage styles, among other things.

Delicious Mobile Menus Made Easy

Some stakeholders aren’t comfortable with seeing just one sample menu of a mobile app—they want to see all of the permutations. For some apps, that could mean manually generating a dozen or so menu states and hand-linking each according to a sitemap hierarchy, a laborious process. Montgomery Webster, a user experience technologist at Creative Jar in the U.K., figured out a way to automate this task in Axure RP. His template, which he shares as a free download on the Creative Jar blog, lets you cut and paste the page names from a spreadsheet into an Axure repeater that automatically puts the tabs into the correct hierarchy. Montgomery acknowledges that it’s not always necessary to take this extra step in a Lean UX process, but “some clients just want it all. They understand that the additional work will take more time and budget. However, their internal workflow may require a fully-realised prototype. This is especially important when they have internal or off-shore development teams. I call this approach ‘Fatty Tuna UX’, after the expensive sushi ingredient.”

Online Course: Mobile App Prototyping

Ronnie Peters, the CEO of 360 Design in New York, has created a 45-minute online course on how to prototype a mobile app using Axure RP and other tools. The course quickly covers a lot of ground—from concept to delivery of a working prototype on an iPhone 6. It’s a fast clip, to be sure, and some of the technical steps are mentioned only in passing. If you basic familiarity with the tools he uses, you’re in good shape. If not, you may want to do a little side research to keep up with the course and build alongside him. It’s an excellent overview of the mobile prototyping process, and one that comes from a seasoned UX practitioner. Peters’ firm, 360 Design, has done work for American Express, the New York Times, Seamless, Reader’s Digest and others. His class is part of Skillshare’s Premium offering, which means you’d need to pay for access ($10 a month for access to their full catalog). You can read the course description here.

Documenting Your Design Journey with a UX Map

Prototypes are great at communicating design choices, but they still need to be supported with more information—often in the form of functional specifications or user flows. Luca Benazzi, a UX consultant and Axure trainer in Berlin, created UX Map, a widget library designers can use to integrate that information directly into their prototypes. Luca works on the assumption that documentation presented in context with the prototype leads to faster and more accurate communication than if they were in a separate document that’s “difficult to find and never up to date,” Benazzi wrote in a post explaining his approach in developing the UX Map. “Documentation should be interconnected. The Axure prototype becomes a central place for all UX documentation.” Benazzi sells the UX Map for $19, which comes with detailed instructions and two video tutorials.

New Axure Meetup Groups: New York and Helsinki

Axure aficionados in New York and Helsinki now have official Meetups where they can network and exchange ideas. The two cities join Chicago, San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Richmond, Hamburg, Berlin and Manila, bringing the total number of Axure Meetup groups to 11. The New York group is organized by David Mahmarian, formerly of Sapient Nitro and now a graduate student at the School of Visual Arts. The Helsinki Meetup group is helmed by Kwame Afreh, a UI Designer at Webropol. Welcome New York and Helsinki!