Last week Ostmodern hosted the first Axure London Meetup. Led by Sandra Sears (and her brother, roped in for support during his holiday from San Francisco), it demonstrated the versatility of Axure, both in terms of its functionality and what it can be used for.
While about 15 of us munched pizza and had a couple of beers (kindly provided by the folks at Axure), Sandra gave us a demo of a prototype she'd spent several weeks putting together, which had to believably mimic predictive search behaviour based on a huge database of content. It was far more complex than any Axure prototype I've seen before, but Sandra did an excellent job of building up the logic in layers, so everyone could understand exactly how it fit together, and what each piece of logic solved.
It was an extremely impressive prototype, and Sandra managed to eek out more from Axure than I'd ever thought possible. What surprised me most, however was how differently we use it here at Ost, and how that presents us with completely different challenges.
We primarily use Axure to create low-medium fidelity prototypes for user testing. During testing, we constantly iterate on the prototype to fix things that aren't testing well, or to prove or disprove theories that we have about how products should work. In an average day, we might make 50 small changes (trying out different text, or small layout variations) and a handful of fundamental changes.
This means that we have to build prototypes in a very modular way, so it's easy to rip out entire sections on the fly if we need to. It's an approach that's served us well in the past, but it was interesting to compare that to Sandra's example, almost at the other end of the scale.
The next Axure London Meetup is already in the works. Sandra plans to show us some mobile prototypes that she's built, and we'll be showing a few examples of things we've done recently.
Join the group and come along!