Recently, we had to build a simple web application visual prototype containing a few pages. In the past, we created static pages showing the visuals. Even though the static pages were put together in order, it was tedious and difficult to explain the business flow to the customer. To address this, we built pages that were interactive and navigational. But including this type of interactivity in the pages always took a considerable amount of time.
We decided to look for a tool that would help in build the interactivity that we were looking for, along with the following points:
- Easy to use
- Drag and drop for adding visual components
- Should reduce time to build pages and add interaction
- Should help in building interactive wire frames with the intent mainly to demonstrate the business flow (visual specification focus not needed)
The tool Xcelsius (currently called ‘Dashboards’) satisfied all of the above factors that were required. This tool contains almost all the web application components (for example: radio button, check box, drop downs, charts, buttons etc.) that are required to build a simple web application wire frame.
Xcelsius Dashboards has an embedded Excel workbook that can set the component interactions and page navigations.
All components can be dragged from the components panel and dropped into the canvas. There is no coding required to apply the component interactions and page navigations. A short help video on how to use each component in the component’s properties window is also available.
The output can be exported as a .swf file (flash). The swf file can be opened in any browser that has flash enabled. The output looks fascinating like a web application.
To summarize, Xcelsius Dashboards tool is a very good choice to build web application visual prototypes. It reduces the time and effort involved and can be used without any conventional programming knowledge.