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Form – the mobile prototyping tool we’ve been waiting for?


If you have been reading my blog for the past 6 months then you know that I have been searching for a good mobile prototyping for some time. First there was Origami that was a library for Apple’s Quartz Composer from the design team at Facebook (read previous article) which is a free toolkit for Apple’s free Quartz Composer application that which let designers create and test user interfaces without any coding. Then, Ideo has released a free sequel they call Avocado and that built on the functionality of Origami to create an even faster UX prototyping tool (read previous article). The problem I found with both of those tools is that they were created by companies who focused on other things than creating this software so there was a serious lack of documentation, tutorials and a really steep learning curve which made them really prohibitive for most designers to learn how to use. I also had a huge problem with those tools because they kept the prototypes only running on your desktop screen so you couldn’t really prototype on a device which is a huge issue if you really want to see how an interface response and feels when you use it.

Enter a new contender for my go to mobile prototyping tool – Form from Relative Wave. The first thing that got my attention was that Form uses a desktop app to create the prototypes and an iOS companion app that will let you run your prototypes on actual devices. It has the same node based interface from Quartz Composer, Origami and Avocado but is a little simpler to use.  The other thing I love is that there is actually documentation and tutorials for Form since it is coming from a company that actually makes software. That alone is a huge plus for me since these tools aren’t intuitive and you need sample files and tutorials to be able to make sense of the interface and the logic of how you need to build these prototypes.

I continue to try out Form to see if it is the prototyping tool I have been waiting for but it also begs bigger question. With mobile and wearables exploding why the hell aren’t any of the big design software makers taking this segment seriously? If Adobe or anyone else would release a half way decent prototyping tool integrated in with their Creative Cloud apps it would be a huge success with the design community. But the problem over the past 5+ years has been that these companies have lost touch with how digital design has evolved and it is why the computer of every designer I know is loaded with apps from a multitude of companies that we try to stick together to make a workflow we can live with. It is a huge missed opportunity that none of them see that this renaissance in digital design would be so much better if there was also a renaissance in the tools we need to create these new experiences.

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