New in Axure RP 9: Improved Documentation Workflow
Axure RP has long featured the option to add notes to pages and individual design elements. These notes were originally intended to serve as part of the tool’s functional specification output. They’ve also been available from the prototype player when viewing the HTML output, but with some limitations.
During the development of version 9, we set a goal to extend notes’ utility in the prototype to allow for the presentation of a complete functional specification via the prototype player. To accomplish this, we made adding notes in Axure RP much more flexible and intuitive. We also made them more consumable (and attractive!) in the player.
Axure RP 9 allows you to create unassigned widget notes, which you can then assign to widgets or leave unassigned; add a widget’s text as a note; and give notes numbers that appear in both the editing environment and the prototype player.
Unassigned widget notes. Now you have an additional option when adding a new note to your design. You can still add a widget-level note to any widget, as before, or you can add an unassigned widget note — one that appears in the “Widget Notes” section of the notes pane and gets a number, like any other widget note, but that is not (yet) attached to a widget. You can then leave your note unassigned or, with a couple of clicks, choose a widget to associate with the note. You can also easily reassign any widget note from one widget to another.
Multiple notes per widget. That’s right: add as many notes to a particular widget as you like.
Note numbering is now per-page. It used to be that note numbers restarted inside dynamic panels, but no longer — now, every note on a page has its own unique number, including those inside dynamic panel states.
Auto-include widget text in a note. Widget text can now be added to a widget note (or can serve as the entire note) with a couple of clicks. Once done, the text in the note automatically updates with any future changes made to the widget’s text.
The same goes for interactions: the textual summary of a widget’s interactions can be easily added and will update dynamically. (In previous versions an interaction on a widget created a numbered note icon on that widget by default, but now you have the option to include one only if you want it.)
Note numbers appear in the prototype. While previous versions featured a generic note icon for any note appearing in the HTML output, Axure RP 9 shows each note’s unique number in the prototype player for easier cross-referencing with note text in the player’s sidebar.
Notes on widgets in masters are prepended with a letter (e.g., “A1” for the first note in the first master, “C5” for the fifth note in the third master, etc.) to keep the numbering of regular widget notes consistent with what’s seen in the editing environment.
We hope these changes to notes — along with their improved presentation in the rebuilt prototype player — will allow you to deliver a complete functional spec right alongside the prototype. What do you think? Will these changes make your documentation workflow easier? Is there anything we can do to improve it further? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org