Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category


Thursday, October 1st, 2009

C-Inspector, as the name implies is an online category evaluation tool. The idea is quite simple and the tool works a little something like this. First, the information architect sets up a categorical multilevel sitemap of sorts. The nice thing here is that the categories can be manually adjusted using the online interface, or alternatively a CSV file (Excel?) may be uploaded. Then, the IA can setup a number of tasks which pose a “where would you find x” question. Once a welcome and thank you message is created, the project can be saved to a specific URL. As this URL is then opened by participants it initiates the test. During the test, users aim to identify a correct category which they think might be the appropriate answer for each task. When the test finishes, the IA can then look through an overview screen which shows which tasks where completed with what success rates, number of trials, and timings.

At a $99 monthly subscription, C-Inspector isn’t cheap. The manual category inputing or welcome message setting also aren’t very responsive as the interaction requires quite a few submits and button presses. Aside of the subtly interaction issues, the tool can be a powerful addition to an information architects arsenal.

Be sure to check out the 30 day free trial.

Connect-a-Sketch Beta

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

This little application is still in a beta development phase, but nevertheless has some interesting potential as a means for adding interactivity to UI sketches. Simply, Connect-a-Sketch is (will be) an online tool that allows to upload a set of images or sketches, which then can be interlinked with click-able hot spots. From what I’ve noticed so far, the interactivity that can be set is limited to basic clicks, but who knows what the future may bring. Look out for an upcoming release in the near future or follow the latest and greatest on twitter.

Pencils, Pens & Markers Sets

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Ahhh, the good old tools. Last week I asked around about who uses what type of markers, pens and pencils, and here are some results. In general, people tend to have at least a few light to medium dark and thick grey markers for laying a foundation down. On top of the greys, a few coloured options are also used for extra emphasis when needed. Then, most designers also rely on using some form of a thin gel pen for detailed work such as text. Pencils and sharpies are also visibly used for callouts, annotations or defining interactions. One other nice thing about markers such as these is that you can also layer them to achieve higher saturation. By putting a few extra strokes on top of one another, more of the ink seeps into the paper and you can have darker tones. Aside from markers, Synve prefers to use crayons over markers as to have an even stronger control over saturation. Nick also uses an empty business card holder for drawing box outlines and blue tack for attaching modal windows. :)

The more popular markers which people seem to buy include: Copics (refillable), Tombow (less pricey, but equally good), and Prismacolor.

Thanks to: Jason, Nick, Ben, Synve, and Jakub


Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Another interesting online wireframing tool developed in Flash has just launched last week – MockFlow. It comes with pretty standard feature set such as: draggable components, pages, basic linking, sharing and online storing. There is a nice ability which allows users to change any page to a master. Other than that, I haven’t found much more which stands out as unique on this one. MockFlow is quite simple and resembling existing UI tools out there, is an nice alternative which comes without a high learning curve.

Give it a try right here.


Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

In the light of the previous post about creating Functional Mindmaps, XMind is another open source tool to help with just that. The software is available for Mac, Windows and Linux, and allows to brainstorm ideas in a social way. Mind maps can be generated to explore abstract requirements or ideas. After a mind map is created, the document can be shared online free of charge. XMind also comes in a Pro version which allows to share your work privately. Pretty cool.

Download it here.

iPlotz 1.5

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

iPlotz is a great web based wireframing application. There is no point in hiding that at first glance the tool resembles to some degree the sketchy feel of Balsamiq Mockups. However, upon further investigation, iPlotz stands out by extending the wireframing process with project management. The hosted application offers the ability for different users to collaborate around a project. For each project, tasks can be assigned and degrees of completion can be measured. More so, iPlotz provides a version history feature for wireframes which is quite unique. The version control feature allows designers to mark wireframes as milestones as well as revert back to older ones.

Being an Adobe AIR application, iPlotz comes with both a hosted and a stand alone format. This wireframing tool also contains interface elements that meet web application as well as iPhone style requirements. IPlotz also has support for masters, libraries, clickable prototypes, and annotation.

Try the demo right here.

Hot Gloo Beta

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Hot Gloo is another alternative online wireframing application on the rise to keep an eye out for. This flash based tool has been designed by IA’s for IA’s in Germany. Last week they finally opened up and released their first beta version. The interface feels slick, supports a grid, auto alignment, and a some basic drag and drop elements. The tool also has two modes of working, edit and review modes, which support design and annotation activities. An interaction panel is also present which allows designers to specify events and some conditionals. Pretty cool …

Sign up for the beta from here.

Napkee 1.0

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Napkee has just launched their first version this week. Napkee is a nice little application which transforms Balsamiq Mockup files into interactive prototypes. You import your BM files, and export into FLEX or HTML resulting in clickable prototypes. Great idea. The founder, Enrico, sums up Napkee the best:

Well, I think that the idea behind Balsamiq Mockups is absolutely brilliant, so is the founder Peldi and his whole team. I also think that a software that allows you to give life to your mockups is a valuable addition to Balsamiq Mockups and it helps you in your daily job. That’s why I created Napkee. It enables you to create working prototypes of the web application you are designing, and with some adjustments you can add interaction, modify the look’n’feel, and make your prototype ready for a usability session.

Visit the site here.

Justinmind Prototyper 2.6

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Justinmind Prototyper is a standalone prototyping environment which allows designers to prototype, simulate and collaborate. Currently two products are offered which include the Prototyper and Server. The Prototyper, as the name indicates, is the core tool for creating interfaces representations at a wireframe level of detail. Some of the features include: the ability to drag and drop interface elements, easily change and reuse components with masters, define scenarios and flow, define events and interactions, as well as inject real data into the prototypes. Justinmind Prototyper also supports capturing requirements in text form, exports to HTML, and allows for inserting external native widgets in the form of HTML or Flash objects.

Then comes Justinmind Server. It is a separate product which allows numerous people to join in and collaborate around the created prototypes. Here users can comment and annotate the work. A dashboard overview is also available which shows the latest discussions for each project.

Give it a try right here.


Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Naview is small web based tool, built by Volkside, for generating prototype like hierarchal navigational structures. The tool allows information architects to specify a tree based hierarchy using tabbing and line breaks, which spits out an interactive prototype of the navigation. Volkside state that with this little piece of software they try to “bridge the gap between card sorting and IA user testing”. Pretty cool!