Welcome back to The Blank Page, a blog series where we explore ways to kick the blank page blues. In the past we’ve explored cutting up a screenshot and throwing together a quick static wireframe. Today I’ll be showcasing a powerful and, in my opinion, underutilized method for getting your project started in Axure RP: the auto-generated flow diagram. (Here’s our support article about the auto-generated flow diagram feature.)
To try out this method, begin your new project not on the canvas as usual, but instead in the Pages pane, where you’ll create any number of new, blank pages and arrange them into whatever hierarchy you like. Add an extra page at the top of your list to serve as the home for your auto-generated flow diagram, and open this page for editing on the canvas.
To generate your diagram, right-click on whichever page in your list you’d like to be the root node and choose “Generate Flow Diagram” from the context menu. Voila!
To reiterate, the page on which the flow diagram appears and the root node page don’t have to be—and often won’t be—the same page. You can generate a flow diagram from any page in your Pages list, and the resulting flow diagram will appear on whatever page has focus on the canvas at the moment you generate.
Once you’ve generated your flow diagram, you can move your flow shapes around on the page and the smart connectors will reflow to match. The shapes are also pre-configured with reference pages, so changing a page’s name will automatically update its widget in the flow diagram. (Here’s our support article about reference pages in case you’d like to know more about this feature.)
Axure’s great at handling large projects, so feel free to add as many pages to your sitemap as your heart desires before you generate that flow diagram. Once you’ve got your whole site or project captured this way you’ll be ready to tackle navigation, hierarchy, and other IA concerns from a bird’s eye view.