Learning about Axure 7 for Mobile
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A few weeks ago we hosted the Chicago Axure Users Meetup group in our offices to hear local UX designer and author Will Hacker talk about using Axure 7 for mobile. About 45 Axure enthusiasts joined us, which was pretty good considering it was another single-digit temperature February evening!
Axure is one of our favorite design tools here at Vodori for its ability to quickly create static wireframes into advanced, interactive prototypes. With mobile and responsive design continuing to grow in importance, we were excited by the release of Axure 7. This update provided even more mobile support than before and introduced an easier way to create responsive designs.
During the hour-long discussion, Will covered a number of topics including adaptive views, mobile-friendly forms, drag and swipe events, and tips on displaying prototypes on mobile devices. Here’s a brief summary of Will’s presentation:
In the past when Axure users wanted to design a responsive website they had to implement a hack to detect browser sizes and create a separate page for each breakpoint of the same content. Now with adaptive views, you only have to create one page and then create additional views within it for pre-defined or custom breakpoints. Content only needs to be created once in a main view and can then be inherited by the additional views.
Inputting data on mobile devices can often be a frustrating task so Will shared some tips on how to make your forms more mobile-friendly. One simple way is to specify input types for text fields within Axure. You can choose from input types such as email, number, phone number, etc., which will bring up the appropriate keyboard on your mobile device to allow for data input to be even easier.
Drag and Swipe Events
When it comes to mobile, touch gestures are an important part of how a user interacts with their mobile or tablet device. Axure supported these gestures in previous versions but in the latest version, they added more interaction events. Will showed off these new events, which included OnSwipe (Right/Left/Up/Down), OnDrag, OnDragDrop and OnLongClick (aka “long tap”). These events allow for even more powerful mobile prototypes. However Will noted that implementation of these events are not flawless as you can have conflicts when trying to assign “swipe and drag” events to the same widget.
Display on Mobile Devices
All of these new Axure 7 features for mobile are very helpful, but what good are they if you can’t test them on your mobile device? Will wrapped up the presentation by sharing some pointers on how to display your Axure prototype on a mobile device to simulate a native application. When generating a prototype, there are some important options that need to be configured within Axure to get your prototype displaying like a native app, such as including a viewport tag and preventing vertical page scrolling. You’re also able to assign home screen icons and an iOS splash screen to further enhance the experience of mimicking a native app. Your prototype can be published to Axure’s built-in hosting service, AxShare, which now allows up to 1,000(!) free prototypes.
Overall, it was a very informative presentation by Will and the audience had many follow-up questions after his talk. Vodori had a great time hosting Will and the members of the Chicago Axure Users Meetup. Hopefully we’ll have another event here in the near future! If you were unable to attend the event but would like to learn more, Will’s slides and Axure RP file are both available to download on his blog.
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