Every now and then, at work, we have the following team discussion. Sometimes, it follows a discovery of a new tool, sometimes it’s a frustration on a project. Every once in a while, we wonder: why are we still using Axure? It is the best solution out there? Would using another solution have made this iteration easier, that wireframe more clear? This content easier to share with the development team?
We test different tools over lunch. We consider changing for a single project, to try and test something else. And then comes the upgrade. We have used axure for a while because it allows collaborative work on the same prototype and because it allows us to use a single source file to increment the level of detail of designs with the maturity of the project – rather than switching tools and designing the same thing over and again just to add functionality, interactions, or detail.
With Axure 7, the responsive view feature helped us spare a lot of efforts, despite its initial flaws. The repeaters were not so obivously usefull at first, but proved invaluable on a specific project.
Now, Axure 8 proposes a new layer management that really improves the way assets are handled, and the new vector drawing feature, rudimentary as it is, is just the right level of control to be able to better communicate ideas without adding too much complexity. It feels like the tool is a bit closer to bridging the gap between wireframe and design.More importantly, it should allow us to have more lightweight prototypes for testing purposes. Until now, designed mockups were imported from photoshop files in order to prepare the test material.
Once again, the new version bring value which makes us consider sticking to Axure for yet a while longer. What we are still missing though, in bridging this gap, is file format compatibiliy, as can be experienced with sketch. It’s not a blocking issue currently, because anyway the person doing the design is not the one building the wireframe at my current company. It would however make us spare some effort, like grabing the text content and getting the initial zoning right.
Whatever the next steps, Axure still has a good time ahead before it’s out-performed by online or hybrid solutions.