- Tool Look and Feel - 8/108/10
- Ease of Use - 7.5/107.5/10
- Pricing - 7/107/10
- Support - 7.5/107.5/10
- Tool Library - 8/108/10
Axure RP is a rapid prototyping and wire framing tool used by UX designers. It has some amazing features like animation and master elements which adds to its indispensable character. Axure RP 8 is the latest and the boldest which has removed all the useless things from the users view giving the user a large workplace to work on.
What is Axure?
These days a UX designer has plenty of tools to choose from for wireframing and rapid prototyping and Axure has created a niche for itself in this area. Axure was introduced in 2003; which has made it one of the oldest and widest used tools; And it recently launched it’s latest Axure RP 8. The new version has been deemed as Axure’s best so far with it getting rave reviews from the biggest names in the industry. Users can create user flow diagrams, wireframes and prototypes with animations, without writing a single line of code using Axure.
1. Create All Kinds of Diagrams
You can create diagrams like user flows, screen flows and data flows within Axure. Plus, you don’t have to worry about making circles and boxes for your diagrams, they are already there within Axure. Just go to the flow library and you will find the most commonly used shapes for your purpose. You can double click and change the colour, the text and connect them to each other.
2. Rapid Prototyping and Easy Sharing
Just click on the buttons that you would like to use in your prototype, and connect them to the pages that you’d like to see open when clicking on those buttons. It’s that simple. Also, you can easily publish your prototype and share it with others.
It is similar to the master slides in PowerPoint. Except it’s not a full slide but can be a number of elements, which you can edit once and all the changes will directly apply to all of them. It is extremely useful as a designer constantly changes their mind. So, changing one element is always easier than changing several.
It is always better if you have a bunch of animations to add to your prototype. Animations add interaction to your design which makes your design come to life. This way you can better explain to your client what is going on in your head.
Adding notes while designing just makes it easy when you go through your designs after a long time. Not only that, the notes act like Google Maps for people going through your designs and prototypes for the first time.
6. Slick UI
Axure RP 8 has a neat and good looking UI. It was a major change from Axure 7, which added a lot of useless and distracting features to the application much like how Windows 10 was for Windows 8. Plus, with the new version, the working area has also increased as they have put most of the things under panels.
7. No code required
Axure makes sure that all the designing part is done by those who know the best (the UX designers). It gives the designers enough flexibility to express themselves without writing a single line of code.
It has an inbuilt library on its own website through which you can get icons which are sometimes free and you can load them as .rp files.
9. Specification sheet
Being a designer is tough as you not just have to design everything but also make sheets to make it easier for the developer to understand everything. These sheets comprise of all the colours, dimensions and other things what you have used while creating your designs. Axure makes it easy. It automatically generates a word spec sheet with just one click. The sheet is completely editable and can be easily shared with anyone.
10. Easy Team Collaboration
Axure allows all team members to work on the same file at the same time making it easier for the entire team to work together. Create a team project on Axure Share and use a check in and check out system to manage changes to the document. Team projects also maintains team history with notes for each check in.
Axure comes with a free fully functional 30-day trial. You can try out every feature of the tool for a whole month until you decide to purchase a licenced version. Axure comes with a perpetual or subscription license. The difference between the two is basically that with the perpetual license you can use Axure RP 8 and all 8.x updates for as long as you like. Subscription licenses allow you to use the latest version of Axure RP for as long as you’re subscribed.
You can purchase by selecting any of the below-mentioned packages.
Pro (for professionals creating prototypes and specifications):
Subscription- $29, per user, per month
Buy- $495, per user
Sketch and Wireframe
Notes and documentation
Axure share publishing
2. Team (for teams co-authoring prototypes and specifications)
Subscription- $49, per user, per month
Buy- $895, per user
Everything included in Pro
+Co-authoring team projects
+Team project hosting on Axure share
3. Enterprise (for companies requiring an on-premises solution for publishing and co-authoring prototypes and specifications)
Subscription- $99, per user, per month
Buy- Not available as a perpetual license
Everything in Team
+Publish to your own servers
+Host team projects on-premises
+SAML-bases single sign-on
+Author and reviewer accounts
+Manage Workspace access
Students and Teachers
It is free for students and every student is qualified to receive a one-year full subscription for Axure RP Team as long as they are enrolled in a degree program at an accredited high school, university, or community college.
Axure is also free for teachers who want to use Axure RP Team in the class. Teachers get a free educational perpetual license to teach with and to install in their classroom/computer labs.
Axure offers discounts on volume purchase. All you have to do is mail them to email@example.com for more information.
For education, non-profit and government organisations they offer varying discounts:
Educational discount- 60%
Non-profit discount- 60%
Government discount- 25%
Training and Support
There are several tutorials available on YouTube if you require any assistance on how to use Axure. They also have a blog in which they keep on posting everything about the tool; tips and tricks, updates, news and much more. They also have a dedicated forum where users can post queries and interact with other users. They also have a portal which users can login to check their subscriptions and plans and modify and change them anytime.
Also, once you’ve installed Axure RP, just follow the in-tool Getting Started Tour for a more hands-on experience and then get the most from Axure RP through the Core Training and Tutorials. You can also contact them by sending them a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If it is urgent then just write the word ‘urgent’ in the subject line. They almost always respond immediately. They have a dedicated support team to help out on all queries, bugs and any assistance required when it comes to using the tool.
At first, when I used Axure, I did get confused as it doesn’t have an artboard, something which I am most definitely used to as it differentiates the background from my work area. But Axure works on a different principle altogether. It is a nice tool, but not the best in this field, as it is costly and sometimes buggy. The pen tool lacks flexibility and importing files from other sources is a pain as it doesn’t support .psd and .ai files which are used most commonly for creating vector and raster items. But being an old competitor in this area it has some really cool features which Adobe XD and Omnigraffle and other prototyping tools should maybe check out and implement them in their latest updates.