I’ve been trying to use more of the Microsoft Expression design tools (for a number of reasons). I’ve decided one of its biggest advantages over other options is its prototyping tool, Sketchflow (included with Expression Blend 3).
Why should you be using Sketchflow to prototype?
- It’s the closest digital option to paper prototyping
- Sketchy styles – helps people remember that it’s still under construction. More on this from this boxesandarrows article.
- Pen tablet integration – allows you to hand draw stuff, which is faster than anything else. Want one? Check out the ones from Wacom.
- Progressive Fidelity – move from hand-drawn objects to sketchy objects to wireframe objects to highly-polished designs
- Portable – can be packaged up quick and sent out to your team and your clients
- Feedback Management – your team and clients can annotate mockups directly and share back with designers
- Snappy transition to developers – it produces xaml and code behind files that front-end developers can use as the basis for their code (instead of just looking at a set of graphic mockups and having to translate those into development assets)
I recently watched a good video on Microsoft Sketchflow. If you just want to see a demo, jump to the 31 minute mark.
And if you didn’t know already, you should be prototyping your solutions, because it leads to better requirements and faster development. If you don’t have access to Sketchflow (or time to learn it), at least get out a pen and paper or jump on the whiteboard with your team. That would be better than nothing. Happy prototyping!