Great New Features in Axure 6.5 Beta

The beta version of Axure 6.5 was released recently and includes some great new features for mobile prototyping, especially simulating iOS apps.

Axure 6.5 Beta Demo
Axure 6.5 Beta Demo

Some features I’ve already explored:

  • A home screen icon for iOS can be imported into a project as a PNG
  • A splash screen that displays when your “app” first loads also can be imported
  • Full-screen display mode for prototypes launched from the home screen icon
  • Dynamic panels can now be “pinned” to the browser to allow simulation of a fixed tab bar with content that scrolls from underneath it
  • Black or translucent status bar
  • An iOS-style arrow button shape
  • Support for drag and drop
  • Left and right swipe events

Your prototype is still created as HTML and displayed in Mobile Safari but the full-screen mode allows you to simulate a native app’s appearance. To test your design on anyone’s iPhone or iPad just place the files on a publicly available web server or Dropbox and access them with the browser. You have to add the app to the home screen to get the icon on the device and launch in full-screen mode.

The biggest problem I’ve had with the beta is that scrolling actions can pull the simulation away the browser’s edges. This is not a real problem for a prototype being used for usability testing or requirements demonstration, but fixing it would make your simulations seem even more native (it also may be possible already and I just haven’t got it yet).

All in all the new version of Axure is pretty exciting. It’s fast become the best tool short of HTML coding for mobile prototypes.

To learn more about the new 6.5 beta consider attending the Chicago IxDA monthly chapter meeting on Wednesday at Critical Mass. I’ll be giving a short talk on Axure for mobile prototyping.

To view my demo, a screenshot of which is included with this post, point your iOS browser over here.

You can also download my RP file, which was craeted in the 6.5.0.2981 build.

Happy prototyping!