Forum Nokia has released a tool, Flowella, which allows designers and developers to easily create design prototypes (mock-ups of how an application will look), without using a single line of code. Prototypes are built by using images of screen mock-ups and defining links between them (i.e. what happens when you click of a given area). The information is then used to create a Flash Lite application or WRT widget, which can be run on a Nokia phone or in the included simulator.
The tool is important because it allows designers to create design prototypes more easily, making it more likely that an application design can be evolved several times during the course of a development cycle. In a video introducing Flowella Tim Brooke, Senior Design Specialist (nokia Desgn), notes that Forum Nokia found that, “a lot of designers were creating visual assets that never made it made out of Illustrator or PowerPoint” and that “a lack of developer resources means prototypes are not created or are created too late in the process”. The result is that “designers are unable to test until late in the design process and this is often too late to suggest significant change”.
The aim of Flowella is to allow a greater amount of design prototyping to be included within a project. It should also help free up developer resources that may have previously been used for prototyping. The end result will be an application with better UX, which will be easier to use and more popular with consumers.
Even though Flowella might be coming out a little late in the day, I think it’s still interesting enough to try.
I think its great for simple screen based interaction, especially when there’s lots of wireframing involved.
Personally I’ve been trying to use Adobe Flash Catalyst a bit in recent time, but the dream of the perfect software for IxD designers remains elusive.