Everyone has a go-to wireframing tool. You might have two or three.
Omnigraffle is great for sitemaps. Balsamiq makes it easy to create something quick & low-fidelity. Sketch is what all the cool kids are using. XD might be your first choice if you use Creative Cloud. But, as the title suggests, my favourite is Axure and here’s why…
This is what makes Axure my very favourite tool overall. It does so much but with a little time playing around it’s very easy to get to grips with it, even if you’re a novice. They also offer plenty of training materials on their website if you do struggle with it.
If you’re unfamiliar with Axure, much like other design software you start with a blank canvas. You can add elements from the libraries & drag any image files you need to use right onto your canvas with one click. Style panes on the right of the page allow you to customise everything you've added to the canvas.
You also have the ability to preview your work in your browser and Axure generates all the code for you. It's easy to put together attractive wireframes in a very short amount of time.
Another thing that makes Axure so convenient is its Team Projects feature. This feature has been especially helpful for our team - we often work remotely so are rarely all in one place. This feature has allowed us to conduct regular design reviews where ever we are. AxShare is a platform where you can share your work with its own unique link (and password if need be). Axure has now added the ability to comment on previewed pages - a useful tool for client feedback.
A member of your team can either start from scratch or convert what they’re already working on into a Team Project. Team members can download the project files and work on different wireframes concurrently. It's Check In/ Check Out feature prevents you from checking out a page someone else is working on. This prevents you from duplicating or deleting someone else's work. You can also update, or send your latest changes to ensure you and your team have the latest version of the project.
Another great feature is the ability to add functionality to your wireframes. The natural next step from creating a wireframe is building a prototype.
In the top left pane you have your sitemap where you can click between the pages of your site. You're able to link to these different pages within your designs, like on an actual website. You can also use something called a Dynamic Panel. This enables you to show/hide content, create tabs, pop-ups etc and bring your wireframe to life. You can do some of this easily by learning to code, but Axure helps simulate a more complex site / CMS without having one behind it. Building is almost limitless so you can turn your wireframe into a low or high fidelity prototype with ease.
So whether you want quick & simple, or intricate and functional, Axure is the best tool for the job. And if you’re stuck and don’t know where to start, we’d love to step in and create your wireframes for you! Happy Wireframing!
Adi has been at the heart of the Natural Interaction team since joining us in 2013. Adi’s speciality is empathising with users and ensuring that our design doesn’t lose its humanity. She’s participated in interaction design and usability testing for clients including Jaguar, Consortium and Rolls-Royce.