As a UX consultant at Webcredible I use Axure a lot, I even teach our two Axure training courses. Naturally I was more excited than most at the release of Axure 7. For those of you unfamiliar with Axure, it’s a tool for creating prototypes of websites & apps without coding. Released in January, the latest release of Axure is full of neat improvements and new features.
I was so excited by these new features (no really, I was) I thought I’d compile a list of the best new things about Axure 7, just in case you missed them!
1. Right click actions with OnContextMenu
Excitingly, you can now build in right click actions so that you can simulate context menus. This is going to be most useful for prototyping software. The ‘ContextMenu’ can be called either by right clicking on a specific widget or by clicking on the page itself by using a Page level interaction.
It’s available under the More Events menu in the Interactions tab. Combine it with another new feature for Dynamic Panels treat as flyout and you’ve got a pretty good simulation of a context menu.
2. Keyboard shortcuts with OnPageKeyUp
There are a number of new OnPage actions including OnPageKeyUp allowing you to assign keyboard shortcuts to your prototype. This is a particular win for accessibility as it allows for keyboard navigation. Once again it is hidden under the More Events link.
OnPageKeyUp needs to be used in conjunction with a condition specifying what the key press should be for example Ctrl+J. And then you can specify actions.
3. Fit to content on Dynamic Panels
Dynamic Panels now have a new option available that saves a lot of time when using complex panels – Fit to content. Available either via the context menu or in the Widget Properties pane, this will resize the panel to match whatever content you have in the states. It will also automatically resize when the state changes.
Combined with another new feature, the ability to push/pull widgets when changing panel states, building accordians has never been easier. Simply check the push/pull widgets option when you specify the state change and the widgets below the panel (including other panels) will move down/up as required. There’s no need to specify pixels or coordinates, saving oodles of time.
4. Repeater widget
One of the niftiest new widgets introduced in Axure 7 is the repeater widget. This widget allows you to build elements that look the same and require repeating such as product listings. The best bit is that you can build a dataset that allows you to interact with it by sorting and filtering the content.
This information will then appear something like this:
This is a super powerful widget, useful for things like building product listings or even data tables, with the ability to customise it in a number of ways. I’ve used it for search results, product listings and also a-z indexes.
5. Adaptive Views
The biggest addition of all is the Adaptive Views feature. This is hugely powerful and useful allowing you to build adaptive prototypes that work across a range of screen sizes. Combined with Axshare the range of touch events that Axure recognises it is now possible to build realistic mobile and tablet prototypes that work as expected.
Once you’ve set up the views you want to design for it’s relatively easy to switch between them with the new options added to the ruler:
You can also control how you want the inheritances to work which means that you can design mobile first, desktop first, whatever first. It’s a great new feature that I look forward to putting through it’s paces.
If you know about any other new Axure 7 features you think are particularly great, please share them! If you want to learn more about prototyping with Axure we have two training courses – one for beginners and another for advanced users.