Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

Protokit 0.1

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Protokit is an emerging experiment of Michael ( targeted at those who like creating HTML prototypes. Protokit is a toolkit composed of existing Javascript libraries which work are combined to together to make the process easier. Hats off to open source prototyping. :) Also be sure to have a look at the working online demo. The toolkit is best described in his own words:

Protokit is a toolkit for creating HTML prototypes. It uses the following open source libraries and plugins: Blueprint, jQuery, jQuery UI, jQuery Templates, and iXEdit. More information about the included libraries and their licensing agreements can be found in the README file.

Credits: Michael Angeles


Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

FlockDraw is an online collaborative drawing tool. It looks like it has some interesting potential for those times when you need to sketch something out together in real time and it’s just not possible to meet face to face. This flash based tool allows to create separate rooms for each sketch which are bound to unique and sharable URLs. The software is very light weight with the first version being released just last month and there is still room for improvement. The slight bothersome usability issue lies around the fact that the toolbar does not indicate the selected tool, nor the selected state of each tool (ex: brush size or color). Other than that, I’m looking forward to eyeing this little app into the future.

Try it out here.


Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

SimpleDiagrams is a very light weight AIR application for creating diagrams which has been just released early last month. This little and simple project has been started by Daniel McQuillen with the intention of describing user experience flows. Speaking to Daniel, he might be willing to incorporate some pieces of the Interactive Sketching Notation in future versions. Look out! :) In his own words, some of the features include:

* Drag, drop and size symbols from libraries
* Add photos and post-notes
* Various background styles (chalkboard, whiteboard, etc.)
* Save diagrams on your computer
* Export your diagram to PNG

Try it out here.


Monday, November 30th, 2009

The Net-Map Toolbox is collaborative and physical tool developed by Eva Schiffer with the aim to visualize influencers in a social context. The maps generated with this approach are a snapshot of a social setting with key influencers being emphasized (raised). I found it interesting to see an attempt to capture more complex social situations with multiple people in the equation. In Alan Cooper’s book, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, the traditional direction given was to design for a single user. Could this rule be breaking down today in light of designing for more complex contexts? Here is a description about the toolbox directly from the Net-Map website:

Net-Map is an interview-based mapping tool that helps people understand, visualize, discuss, and improve situations in which many different actors influence outcomes. By creating Influence Network Maps, individuals and groups can clarify their own view of a situation, foster discussion, and develop a strategic approach to their networking activities. More specifically, Net-Map helps players to determine

* what actors are involved in a given network,
* how they are linked,
* how influential they are, and
* what their goals are.

Credits: Eva Schiffer


Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Creately is an online diagramming tool which makes it almost feel like a web version of Visio. This flash based tool definitely has nice collaborative support that allows sharing and commenting. On top of the expected flows, workflows, sitemaps and UML diagrams, if one looks closely under the hood, Creately also allows to mockup quick UI representations. The User Interface Mockups tab of course is loaded with a bunch of preexisting interface patterns ready to be dragged and dropped.

Try it out yourself and sign up here.


Friday, November 20th, 2009

IxEdit is a Javascript tool for specifying jQuery based interactions on top of existing HTML pages. This tool allows users to easily set actions (event based) and reactions to various page elements. The really nice thing is that you can click on elements directly in order to select which ones are to be worked on. Finally, the other great feature is the ability to export or deploy the interactions as code that can be eventually attached to the HTML. IxEdit also requires Google Gears to run and save the data locally. So if you don’t want to learn Javascript, this tool might make it easier to explore interactions.

Thanks Joshua & Michael for finding this.

Download it here.


Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Protoscript, is a Javascript based notation started by Bill Scott for making interactions and behaviours easier to prototype. Protoscript makes it possible to transform interface objects with a range of standard events (such as mouse clicks, hovers, keypresses, etc) and “sprinkle interactive behaviors”. So if you’re into prototyping with code, this just might be worth looking into. Although the code has not stirred in a while now, it is still very much available and hosted online over at google.

In Bill’s own words:

Protoscript is a simplified scripting language for creating Ajax style prototypes for the Web. With Protoscript it’s easy to bring interface elements to life. Simply connect them to behaviors and events to create complex interactions.

Try out the demos.

Mockingbird Beta

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Mockingbird, is not yet just another online wireframing tool. This fully web based beta software based on the Cappuccino framework, comes with a few interesting features that will make the life of UI designers a bit easier. One of these is the ability to share work online directly as a link. Another cool one is the ability to resize objects or components while their properties and innards automatically scale.

Other than that, the rest of the features are also very much useful, but have been visible in other tools already. These include the ability to double click on a UI component and edit its properties as text. Another one is the ability to drag components and make clickable links between pages. I like it very much and am curious when the full version will be released, as the interaction feels good.

For now, you can try the beta online for free.


Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Jumpchart, is an online wireframing tool with a core strength in content formatting and page structure. This software from Paste Interactive, allows very fast creation of pages and sub pages which can then be filled with draft copy or form elements in a wiki like fashion. Jumpchart even comes with an extensive list of command shortcuts which can be used to speed up the generation of the wireframe. The tool also supports the creation of more interactive wireframes with the help of page linking. Furthermore, collaboration features are also in place with ability to invite people who can post comments. More so, content snippets can be relied upon in order to reuse sections throughout various pages.

Excelling in content and page organization, Jumpchart perhaps at times feels like it’s geared more at the copywriter-type information architect. One area where this software might lack in, is its inability to move elements around in a more free form manner. Yes, Jumpchart offers the additional flexibility of one or two column layouts, but being strongly command driven, precise layout adjustment are just not there. Then again, some might say that this removal from detailed layout control could be a good thing as it elevates the importance of content and functionality above all else. Overall, a very interesting tool.

Sign up for the 30 day free trial.


Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Treejack, is an interesting online tool for testing site structures brought to you by OptimalWorkshop. Simply, a site map composed of categories and subcategories can be presented to users in conjunction with a number of tasks. The individual tasks which are given to participants, force them to select a particular category or subcategory to satisfy the task. Once a number of tests from separate participants have been collected, a results overview page is also available to the researcher. Treejack, then could be a useful tool for the information architect types who wish to test a categorization quickly independent of user interface details.

Be sure to check out the 30 day free trial.