In this series we look at specific Axure RP features that a visual designer will especially appreciate and probably use most often. Not everyone who uses Axure is a visual designer and its main purpose is low fidelity prototyping. Despite this, the team at Axure have made sure it has enough familiar design tools/features for a designer to express themselves.
Let’s look at the features that are most important to visual designers.
Widget styles and page styles are reusable sets of style properties that give the designer control over the look and feel of the final product. Style properties that are available include fill color and shadowing; border line color, pattern, and thickness; and text attributes like font, color, alignment, line spacing, and padding. Page style properties are also available in Axure RP and focus on page alignment, background color and image, and sketch effects.
To those familiar to Illustrator, Sketch and Photoshop, Axure RP’s pen tool draws vector-based shapes, which maintain sharp lines while resizing on the canvas and can be styled like regular shape widgets. Widgets created with the pen tool are called “custom shape” widgets. The icons in Axure’s Icon library are examples of custom shapes. The pen tool can be used to draw things like icons, charts, and curved arrows.
Grids, guides and snapping
Probably one of the most familiar aids to the designer, grid and guide lines on the canvas and widget snapping behaviors keep your diagrams tidy while working. You can create page guides for individual pages and global guides for the entire file.
Widget libraries ease the learning curve for first time users by providing standard Axure RP widget libraries—Default, Icons, and Flow— that come pre-installed with Axure. But you can also install more libraries and even author your own in RP just as you would create regular .rp files. Axure widget library files exist in your computer’s file system as standalone files with the .rplib extension.
Dynamic panels and micro-interactions
Important to every design prototype is the detail of how the design will interact. Axure allows the designer to mimic these interactions on its widgets or pages. Interactions determine the dynamic behaviors of a widget or page and have three parts: events, cases, and actions. Interactions are configured in the Inspector’s Properties tab. Definitely a feature designers will find they cannot live without.