Book Review: Axure RP 6 Prototyping Essentials

Published: January 2012 (Packt Publishing)
Paperback: 446 pages

I just finished reading the first book I’ve ever seen devoted exclusively to user experience design using Axure RP 6. Axure RP 6 Prototyping Essentials by Ezra Schwartz takes readers through project examples with step-by-step instructions for creating highly realistic interactive prototypes without writing a single line of code.

Unlike other prototyping books that address multiple tools, this one is focused solely on Axure.

Axure RP 6 Prototyping Essentials
Axure RP 6 Prototyping Essentials

Annotated Screen Example
Annotated Screen Example

Schwartz’s book introduces using Axure to create simple website wireframes and prototypes before moving on to more advanced topics like:

  • Using session-persistent variables in simulations
  • Using raised events
  • Conditional logic and behaviors
  • Dynamic panels
  • And much more

The book even addresses topics like simulating keyboard shortcuts for desktop applications through a technique that leverages hidden form fields. It is full of clever and well-illustrated examples.

There are also entire chapters on generating specification documents, using the team collaboration features of Shared Projects, and creating custom UI widgets for shared pattern libraries. There also is a brief section on prototyping for mobile devices (an area of functionality that has been improved in the recent Axure 6.5 Beta).

Axure RP 6 Prototyping Essentials also addresses important areas of the prototype planning process like object naming conventions and other things to consider if you are building highly interactive prototypes or working on a team project. While developers will understand why you need naming conventions for your objects, it’s not something UX designers usually think about, especially if they are more experienced with producing static wireframes. The coverage of pre-planning activities is extremely useful if you are new to Axure.

The book is available in both e-book and printed formats and is a great starting point if you have little to no familiarity with Axure. You’ll quickly see why Axure is one of the most widely used software tools for user experience design. A word of warning — it is helpful if you are familiar with the user centered design methodology and its focus on iterative designing and testing, which is discussed in the first chapter.

Whether your skill level with Axure is novice, intermediate, or advanced, you’ll find valuable techniques and best practices in Axure RP 6 Prototyping Essentials.