To answer this question, an accurate definition of prototype design must be necessary. Generally, prototype design is the bridge between interaction designers and product designers, product managers, developers, etc. Note that under this definition, the nature of prototype design is not producing but communicating. It is born to realize conceptions as examples at minimum cost. That is to say when we talk about prototyping tools, we are actually in search of an inexpensive and solid solution to realizing conceptions. Our final choices of tools are nothing but a zero-sum game between cost and quality. Unwise choice means inefficiency.
Then, according to this definition, we may try to reanalyze three prototyping tools.
Axure is not so much a weapon of mass destruction as a exquisite comb. This is a distinguishing feature, and vital to some groups of developers, the real value is that it allows developers to comb through the outline of the information and functions of products.
In fact, it doesn’t really emphasize on interaction or graphics. However, this bulky fellow is still equipped with satisfactory training and documenting support. Varieties of styles of elements are included to enhance the interactivity between independent elements. Excelling in designing complex interactive behavior pattern because of its built-in component library, it is able to customize particular interactive functions. And, for that reason, its output is so flexible that it can run on any terminal.
However, in a sense, its pros are also its cons. Beginners are so vulnerable to distractions that they often unconsciously forget their first intentions and pile up unnecessary components, getting a bloated prototype at last. Sometimes we do need to calm down and reconsider that is it really worth it to be overwhelmed in so many other aspects if the goal is just to demonstrate your thinking? Will the product in mind remain the same as it was or be influenced to be something else? But in spite of all the doubts, we cannot deny the greatness of Axure.
Justinmind is so powerful in producing high-fidelity interactive prototypes. The output apps and webs running on varies terminals are like it’s really happening. It’s like database manipulations, highly liberalized but difficult operated. Designing dynamic panel or element visibility without variable operations will cost plenty of time. It seems to be unwise to realize high-fidelity at the cost of much time under today’s rapid-iteractive environment. Of course, everything has a price, the so-called”perfection” never exists.
Mockplus features in fast interaction, fast design, fast previewing and almost no learning cost. Specifically, it is operated by highly visualized grag-and-drop. Moreover, with more than 3000 icons and nearly 200 components available, you no longer need extra time for designing components yourself. Nothing but design itself deserves to be focused on.
After you complete your excellent work, a QR code is already automatically generated right there for you to do your demonstration, or you can export HTML or image. Remember, there is no training needed for all of what we discussed above. It also offers cloud syncing service, allowing users to design with high-efficiency anywhere, anytime and on most of devices.
Unlike the heavy Axure or the attractive Justinmind, Mockplus is friendly and approachable. It’s tiptoeing on the balance point of speed and stability finding a solution to touch designers with the warmth of a modest and reliable prototyping tool.
In a word, efficiency means speed and stability. When we talk about a prototyping tool, we should actually focus on whether the its choice between these two key points really suits your needs. Slowness equals to opportunity costs which means that quick verification before the launch of development is not possible. Instability, on the other hand, can become a heavy burden of reworking and refactoring risk. Only by focusing on the nature of designs can we not be the slaves of tools.