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Just started playing around with Axure, an integrated development environment for wireframes, prototypes, and specifications. Already I'm wondering why there's not integration for: business requirements, user scenarios, sitemap/flowcharting, etc.; note: they do have a widget called "flow", though it does not appear to integrate into the workflow and specs. It's also confusing to me how so far it appears to test the prototype you have to generate/export the template, seems like there would just be a "play" button.

What are the capabilities and limitations of Axure? If making comparisons between other tools is helps that's fine, though the focus of the question is understanding the capabilities and limitations of Axure.

Also, do you know of any sites listing a full set of documents produced 100% within Axure? Any suggestions for Google searches to find libraries and widgets?

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closed as not constructive by JonW Jun 14 '12 at 13:38

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Please clarify the question - what are you asking exactly? Axure compared to similar tools? Prototyping in general? etc. –  Dan Barak Oct 24 '10 at 10:24
    
@Dan_Barak: Added a additional information, just let me know if you need more info. Thanks! –  blunders Oct 24 '10 at 13:11
    
Question closed as this is an old question basically asking for a review of a piece of software. There is no correct answer to this question, and Axure changes with each release so answers will become more-and-more irrelevant to future visitors. –  JonW Jun 14 '12 at 13:40
    
@JonW: Maybe, though given the upvotes on the question, closing it doesn't do anything; meaning it's unlikely to be deleted. Thanks for commenting on your logic, though I believe it flawed, since all tech is subject to time, and getting a expert view on a given technology is well within the scope of SO/SE based on my experience. –  blunders Jun 14 '12 at 13:58
    
@blunders closing it prevents new answers, and also shows to any new users that discussion / review type questions are no longer on-topic for this site, so it prevents questions setting a precedent. However it will remain and won't be deleted, all answers are searchable and all reputation remains unaffected. This was a fine question in '10, but not since this site graduated to full SE site status this year. (It's doubtful such questions are on-topic on any SE site at the moment). –  JonW Jun 14 '12 at 14:07

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've used it for the first time on a project and I really like Axure. There is room for improvement but let me start with the pros:

  • simple tools to help you on creating wireframes and flow charts
  • customizable Page Notes. I changed and added to the different types of page notes. I have (Design Notes, Visual Design Notes, Technical Notes, Content Notes, My Notes). These are notes that accompany each wireframe.
  • customizable spec doc. I can publish a version for my graphics designer...e.g., In the specification settings, I turn on "Visual Design Notes" and turn off others that don't apply to my graphics designer.
  • create your own libraries...for widgets that you use a lot
  • wireframe element annotations are easy and customizable
  • element interactions (for prototyping and to communicate to programmers)
  • you can create master elements that are common on pages (for example, side bar)
  • You can use SVN (version control) for your wireframe project so that multiple people can be working on the set of wireframes. (this was a big plus for me)
  • Customer service is great. Usually they will get back to me within a few hours. When I first started using it I had some questions that was not apparent in the tutorials so I emailed their Customer Service.

I like that Axure makes the tedious things about doing wireframes easy so that you can focus on wireframing and thinking about UI.

Cons:

  • your spec is a Word doc. In the past we've made our design documents prettier than what Word allows you to do, but then the trade off is that you're spending lots of time trying to format the document. (this is a minor con for me)
  • right now you can't rotate elements on a screen. (you can scale and move)
  • sometimes I find the selection of objects on different z-indexes frustrating
  • they don't have layers...could be useful
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Thanks, had not noticed: the shared project integration with SVN, custom page-notes/specs. Again, thanks for posting! –  blunders Oct 25 '10 at 21:14

I have recently started using Axure and find it a very effective program for giving some life to wireframes when presenting to clients. It becomes much clearer how interactions are intended when you can actually let the client click through and see for themselves (and it also ends up being useful to just test out if some interactions are really the best way to go).

In terms of seeking some sort of all-in-one solution for the other items you mention, I don't know that you're ever really going to find that. In general I've found that the more things a program tries to do, the worse it becomes at each of them.

You are able to add annotations to just about everything within Axure. It's true they don't have a very good site map ability in terms of a visual, but actually the left-hand frame when you generate a prototype basically serves as a quasi-site map if you've organized your pages logically.

I've also used iRise, which generates a site map automatically, and found that it is basically unusable. It connects every page that is linked in such a way that you end up with potentially thousands of connections with no clear hierarchy.

If you're looking for a program to build interactive prototypes, Axure is excellent. If you're looking for it to be able to generate all sorts of other deliverables, it may not be for you, although I've never seen any program that does all of those things well.

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@Michael_Histen: Thanks for posting! So, far my impression is that it's "ok" -- main issue so far is the lack of widgets/components/templates/wizards. Learning curve to using it seems okay. Also, it requires you have MS-Word installed; normally use OpenOffice. Main thing I'm looking for are major benefits or issues that might not be clear upfront... :-) –  blunders Oct 24 '10 at 19:57
    
I would agree on templates. I think this is a key piece that's missing, as now you have to kind of fake it. –  Michael Histen Oct 25 '10 at 5:43

The benefits, to me, are that they make the wireframes clickable. If that's useful, then it's nice to kill two birds with one stone.

The drawback is that it can be taken too far. The fidelity in Axure just isn't there to fully prototype rich interfaces so there's a point of diminishing returns. I advocate using it as a replacement for paper prototyping rather than a replacement for hi-fi prototyping.

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@DA01: I agree that so far it only appears to be good for making clickable wireframes... which is nice, but not sure if it's worth the overhead workflow wise. –  blunders Oct 25 '10 at 15:33

Axure is great. I am not going to list all the good and bad things about it - however there is one big piece missing - Axure does not support key events other than OnKeyUp.

So for example, I cannot hit 'enter' on a search field and have it load a new page, or override cursor key behaviour.

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and this is an example of why I'm less and less interesting in the 'axure way'. As axure becomes more complicated, there's a bigger learning curve, and, IMHO, that learning curve could be spent learning some HTML and jQuery and have infinitely more flexible options at one's disposal. –  DA01 Nov 20 '11 at 3:41
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I am a product manager who does UX, and I will be the first to admit that is a risky situation. The way I mitigate is by using tools like Axure to run usability studies on prototypes. For this use Axure is perfect, and crucially, fast. –  Jon White Nov 20 '11 at 5:30

As of version 6.5 you can rotate elements so it's one less thing to worry about. I've been using Axure for about a week and have found it very easy to pick up. Also the Axure forums have an extremely helpful community at hand to help.

You can use some functions like math-based stuff and other variables but I'd like to be able to write, reference or manuipulate arrays and other advanced bits like that. I tend to find the limits in some of the predefined widgets can be overcome by authoring your own, which is fairly straight forward.

Obviously it's only supposed to be a prototyping tool and there is no substitute for actually building the damn thing with HTML/CSS/Javascript.

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The biggest benefit of Axure is the ability to create really in depth wireframes that can easily be converted into testable or demoable prototypes.

From a look and feel standpoint, I will compare to Balsamiq (which I love, love, LOVE) for it's speed and agility.

Axure has a much more polished look and feel. Things look pixel perfect, which depending on your clientele, may be the difference.

While the cost may be a factor, there are a rich set of widgets, many user-generated, that are really great.

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