Posts Tagged ‘information architecture’

Internet User Experience Conference Summary

April 12th, 2009 No comments

Just a quick summary on the IUE 1009 conference.  First, it is a local conference for Southeast Michigan, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some quality speakers present.  As Dan Klyn pointed out, Ann Arbor can be seen as the birthplace of modern IA (check out his slides for more info).

I did do some tweeting at the conference; more than I’ve ever done actually. In fact, at one point I think I was the top contributer for #iue09. Compared to my last conference (CHI 08 in Florence), I noticed that Twitter was playing a larger role. At a panel on social networking, all of the panelists had their twitter usernames on their namecard, including Chris Barger, GM’s own Twitter guru.

I would give a summery of the talks I went to, but you can basically check out my Twitter feed for that (#iue09). A few good presentations that I could find on Slideshare:

Presentation this Thursday at IUE

March 29th, 2009 No comments

For any readers in southeast Michigan, I’ll be presenting at the Internet User Experience conference on Thursday.  Our presentation is titled “Lessons Learned While Integrating a New IA Tool” and will focus on our experiences adopting Axure RP.

Update to Axure + Protonotes script

February 27th, 2009 15 comments

In a previous post, I discussed a script that I wrote to insert text into the <HEAD> tags off all HTML files in a directory.  The intention was to allow users of Axure prototypes to insert a Protonotes script and be able to annotate pages in their prototype, similar to the functionality of Protoshare.

I have updated the script once again to Version 3.  Two new features were added: first, you can now ignore HTML files that end with “start.html”.  These files are generated by the new Axure 5.5, and they contain frames, which can make the Protonotes tool difficult to work with.  Second, the script can now be minimized to the system tray, where it will run in the background.  While running, it will monitor it’s current directory for changes to the HTML files, and reinsert the script if it detects new or changed HTML files.  In this way, users can keep recreating Axure prototypes without having to run the Insert script again.

Download Version 1.3 here.

Download Version 1.31 (additional debugging support) here

Axure & Protonotes: an alternative to Protoshare

January 14th, 2009 13 comments

Update 2/27/09: Updated the HeadInsert script again to Version 1.3.  Read about the changes here.

Update 1/21/09: Added new version of HeadInsert which can ignore certain HTML files.

Do a Google search on Axure vs. Protoshare vs. iRise and you may find sponsored links from each of these products explaining why they are the best.  These three are the leading “designed for IA” options for wireframing and prototyping (I say designed for IA, as Visio, Omnigraffle, and other drawing/diagramming tools still have a strong following).

iRise was never an option for me due to the cost, so I have been using Axure for the past 8 months. I initially was able to use Axure for free thanks to their Good Student Program, and I found it to be well worth the cost when I entered the workplace. I have found it to be a great tool for wireframing, prototyping, and generating specifications.  While there is certainly room for improvement, particularly with specification generation, the community around Axure is engaged and growing, which means that new features and widget libraries are coming all the time.

I heard about Protoshare a couple months ago.  While I haven’t used it, I have read some documentation and viewed demonstrations.  Axure still seems to be more fully featured for wireframing and prototyping, but I was intregued by Protoshare’s reviewing features.  Then, while browsing the Axure forums, someone mentioned Protonotes, a free tool for annotating HTML pages.  As Axure produces HTML prototypes, it seemed like the Protonote script could be inserted to achieve functionality similar to Protoshare.  By inserting the script into each page in the prototype, team members and even clients could make comments directly on the prototype/wireframe, which can then be viewed in a central location.

The problem is that Axure generates a new HTML page for each wireframe, so large projects can easily generate 20+ pages.  Inserting the Protonotes script into the header of each one every time the prototype is recreated isn’t really feasible.  To that end, I wrote a small program that will allow users to automatically insert a script into the header of each HTML file for their prototype.

Just download and extract this Zip file.  Generate your Axure prototype and drop the HeadInsert.exe file into your prototype directory.  Run it, then paste your Protonotes code into the text box.  Leave the checkboxes checked (you don’t want Protonotes scripts in your frame management files) and press the insert button. For example, I pasted the following:

<script src=”” type=”text/javascript”></script>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
var groupnumber=”##############“;

into all of my prototype HTML files.

I recommend making a backup of your prototype files if they are important, as there is no way to reverse the process short of opening each .html file and removing the code you inserted (though you can always regenerate your prototype with Axure). I am not responsible for anything unexpected that happens to your files, unlikely as this is.  It’s a pretty simple script, but if any errors occur, please let me know.

Zip file: HeadInsert_v1.2


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