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I had a look at Adobe Fireworks used in combination with "Dreamweaver" to upload a .html prototype on an internal server. It seemed to work pretty well. Plus is well integrated with the Adobe suite that allows to create new images quickly using Photoshop and Illustrator.

There are tons of other rapid prototyping software but the use of the Adobe suite seems predominant in AAA companies.

Which other advantages and features does it have that other (e.g. http://uxpin.com/) software don't have? Is there any other tool that has more features or advantages compared to the Adobe suite?

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2 Answers

Prototyping with the 'Adobe Suite' has the advantage of:

  • pixel perfect shiny-ness.

The disadvantage is:

  • pixel perfect shiny-ness.

The reason "AAA" companies use it has a lot to do with tradition in that that's what everyone used pre-internet. The big ad and design firms were never ones to jump on change so have slowly drug the Adobe Suite along with them.

This isn't all bad, of course, as it is now a de-facto standards, so there are advantages to that...files are easily shared between firms, clients, vendors and the like.

But it's also an incredibly heavy way to manage files. PSDs are not easy to maintain. DreamWeaver doesn't make useable markup. Integration between Adobe apps is nice, but also complicates workflows.

And the biggest challenge is that using something like Photoshop and Fireworks encourages designers to make 'pixel perfect' mock-ups. And that can usually cause as many problems as it solves...namely that that final developer product rarely will look like the original PSD for a whole host of reasons, and if not managed well, that can lead to client frustration (not to mention developer and designer frustration).

So, long story, short: The big advantage a lot of tools have over the Adobe Suite for prototyping is that they aren't dependent on heavy, high-fidelity files.

I'm presently working on a project where we're mocking up an iPhone app using PhotoShop. It's 'OK' for the first 10 or so screens, but now we're pushing 100+ screens and it's plain silly. You can't easily update 100 PSD files every time a tweak is made to some standard. Not that you should ever mock up 100 screens to begin with, but had these remained as more wireframes in a more agile tool, at least iterative changes would be a bit saner to deal with.

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Thanks for your great reply (+1). Would you be able to advise on which other tools allow a "easier to mantain prototyping"? Thanks a lot! –  mm24 Feb 11 at 18:41
    
@mm24 I'd encourage wireframing over mock-ups for the initial design thinking stages of a project. Tools you could use could be pen and paper, Axure, Balsamiq, or any other number of 'wireframing' tools. Axure, while it has flaws, is pretty nice as it has good group collaboration and is slowly becoming somewhat of a defacto standard tool for wireframing. Plus, you can add your PSD screen shots to Axure on an as-needed basis to show a few things high-fidelity when it makes sense to do so. –  DA01 Feb 11 at 18:45
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AppCooker is an iPad app that allows you to use all the iOS elements as prototype bits and pieces, and import any and all graphics you need/create to make custom elements.

This makes you independent in terms of design software, and gives you all those iOS features within your prototype building app. It's hard to describe how fast this can make prototyping and wire framing an idea.

Caveat, this does require an iPad, even to make iPhone prototypes. It's an iPad creative app, for lack of a better term:

http://www.appcooker.com

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