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Four useful tools to accelerate your mobile app prototyping

BloggausHave you ever had thoughts like these?
- I have excellent app idea but I´ am not a developer.
- Since I´m not a developer, I cannot create any prototype to test my idea or app.
- That´s a nice idea but there is too much risk and cost if it does not work.
- I hate how this app looks like and I would add button here and there.
- I ordered app from developer but it does not look anything like I wanted.
I would assume that at least at some point you have had thought or two like these. There should be ways to innovate and build prototypes faster. Prototypes should be interactive but in the same time development for prototype should be cost-effective and low-risk. I would like to share some useful prototyping and mock-up tools which could help you to tackle these problems.
Axure RP is one of the leading on-premise prototyping tools in the market. It can be used to create interactive mock ups and prototypes without any need for coding. You can add for actions, event and notes for each element in your prototype. For SAP-users there is possibility to download Fiori Design Stencils: https://experience.sap.com/fiori-design-web/downloads/. Basically this means that you are able to create prototypes according to SAP Fiori´s design guidelines. Downside in Axure RP is that it is not free and license cost is relatively high if there is no business case for using it.

SAP BUILD is free cloud-based tool to create SAP Fiori-style mock ups. Tool is rather easy to use and interactive Fiori-style prototypes can be developed without any coding. You can also copy example applications and change and explore them in your own way. You are able to use your own mock data and gain knowledge about your data requirements. This also enables that . User interface to modify apps is quite intuitive and simple and properties for different controls are easy to change:

Another nice thing in BUILD-tool is that it provides options to preview how apps would look like in desktop, tablet or phone. Besides non-code development possibilities there are possibility to conduct comprehensive studies such as heat map analysis or share prototypes for users to give feedback. Basically BUILD-tool has lots of great functionalities packed into one solution and it speeds up dramatically prototyping for Fiori-style apps. However as this is intended for SAP Fiori-style apps, it is a bit hard to design completely freestyle and to create proto app which does not follow Fiori-guidelines.

Adobe´s free beta-version of Experience Design is also tool for wireframing and prototypes. In my opinion is suits best for mobile prototypes and there are possibilities to upload UI Kits for example for Apple iOS. Editor is simple to use and great looking clickable mobile prototypes can be created straightforwardly:

Compared to BUILD, Adobe’s tool is lacking data modelling options and interactions are more limited. However there is more freedom to design any kind of mobile app whether it is designed for iOS, Android or Web.
4. Paper and pen
Even though we have awesome digital tools around us, sometimes the best option is to go with old-school style. Paper and pen is the most cheapest, easiest and fastest technique to design high-level wireframes. It is easy to change screens, add or delete buttons or change the functionalities however you like. Although drawback in this technique is that it requires some imagination from participants and open-minded approach so that more detailed mockup will follow later.
We in Headstart are utilizing all these tools in our UX & UI-development depending on customer´s case. Sometimes it is useful to pro-style tool such as Axure RP while prototyping with customer. In another case it is more useful to use SAP BUILD to create demos and to design data requirements. Sometimes very high-level wireframes are designed using only whiteboard or paper and pen. Whatever is your weapon of choice, remember that user is the one that matters. 

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