Axure...I'm frustrated. (An open letter to the Axure community)


#1

So… just thinking aloud here…

Recently I was thinking about some frustrations that I want to believe others here have prolly faced and resolved before, so looking to hear how you did that (and be inspired)…

  1. I’m frustrated that I work in Axure RP to essentially program entire apps… that I can’t build. That when it is all said and done, this marvelous piece of work gets archived, and the ‘real’ site that it birthed is all that users experience. That while I can manifest an amazing vision that the development team may or may not be able to implement (or do so immediately, leading to phased release of features). Then I move on… to the next creation, and do it all again.
  1. I’m frustrated that there are a lot of new cool prototyping tools that are focusing on new interactions like voice, touch gestures, remote control interactions for TV, AR/VR, and games…which even if I build the look and feel of here, is a far as I can go. But when I evaluate the Protopies and Figmas and Framers and Xds they lack the breadth of capability to do multiple things as well as Axure can. Can we get some of these?

  2. I’m frustrated at the relatively small portfolio of templates and assets for Axure. and those that exist are getting dated. Do I need to fill that gap? Are there enough Axure users that may be interested in this? (if so, let me know what kind of assets library would be of interest)

  3. I’m frustrated that in the midst of the rise of no-code tools becoming the wave of the future, that Axure fundamentally does or can fill that need… except that it doesn’t deliver a final, production-ready product. (Think how great would be to build on Axure, and be able to do data binding to a API, or airtable/google doc as a database.). Would it be that different from say Bubble.is, UIbakery, Webflow, etc? (again…this echos #1. I want to build apps with Axure. (Axure WAB - No-Code Web-app builder)

  4. Is there an Axure roadmap… or conference…or any insight into where AxureRP is going? Maybe a lot of the things I’m frustrated about are addressed there.

  5. I think to sum it up… sometimes it feels like the value of what I do… feels less valuable. How do you actually/tangibly quantify the benefit of building a prototype. (Is the ’ you don’t waste time and money building the wrong thing’ still the best response to this?

ok… thanks for letting me vent!!!. Feel free to pile on into this discussion. I figured I’d prolly get a better response here rather than Reddit! lol.


#2

Hello,

I share globally all your frustrations ;:thinking:


#3

I share this frustration, even if it is partly different for me.

That the Axure code can still be used in the coding is currently more of an obstacle for further development, because I think that flexibility and creativity will be lost.
I see this for example with Webflow (I don’t know the others): using such HTML builders limits creativity because they are often based on existing building blocks. Less new ideas, new innovative operating concepts come out and the conceptual layouts become more and more similar.
Apart from the fact that the code of Webflow is also completely useless for modern frontend programming.
In my opinion this would be the wrong approach.

And prototyping still works perfectly with Axure.
I only see more possibilities for improvement in mobile implementation.

What I miss the most is the possibility to set up reasonable usability tests without the need to use third party developers. This is completely missing, but for a program that is made for concept designers it would be a big improvement. In the last years there have been several threads about this. But since Axure switched off the feature request channel, a useful discussion about it is no longer possible. I still think this is a wrong decision and since then I avoid the forum as well.

On closer inspection, not much has changed functionally in the last major versions of Axure. There was a little bit of screwing on the surface and then, due to the many protests, it was gradually taken back or solved differently.
And Axure Share has only been adapted to the requirements that others have been offering for a long time.
Nothing really innovative in sight.

And of course I also see that other providers are now passing Axure by on both sides and my customers are constantly bringing new tools into play.

A roadmap would really be a step forward.


#4

@uelsimon Your self-described “venting” makes some challenging statements, but you’ve done so without context. For instance frustration at “entire apps … [sic] that I can’t build:” are you an individual designer/UX or are you part of a large organization? Few individuals have ALL the skills needed to efficiently build a large-scale app by themselves, even though they can simulate it in Axure. But a large development shop with the various dbas, UI devs, mid- and back-tier developers could. Not fair to criticize Axure if you’re asking it to do something it isn’t intended for.

I think many would probably criticize ‘no-code’ tools as being acceptable for the WordPresses, Squarespaces and Wixes of the world. For a restaurant or a band or a boutique retail shop, a ‘no-code’ solution might be just fine, but inevitably more complicated ideas require more complicated implementation. But large organizations using WordPress typically have dedicated developers writing custom code to enhance their WordPress implementations. So again, are you a one-person team or are you a cog in a larger enterprise? The perspectives are different.

If “the value of what [you] do… [sic] feels less valuable” because you don’t know how to “quantify the benefit of building a prototype,” I think you probably should not be building prototypes. The value of a prototype is in learning what features and behaviors are desired by potential users of your product. This allows your development team, guided by learnings from testing with your prototype, to build the right thing with less waste. If you’re not using prototypes that way, maybe you should be building and releasing actual code in the leanest, most “minimum viable improvement” way possible rather than taking the time to prototype.

And if your development team is not able to implement your ideas, you need to be working more closely with them to understand what capabilities they (actually you as a team with the developers) do have. Perhaps show them your works-in-progress in a casual “give me some feasibility feedback” way, rather than laboring on your own for weeks in order to present a highly polished ‘finished’ item, only to find out that the development environment is Cobol and doesn’t support a graphic user interface, haha.

For my own part, I accept that my sloppy, inconsistent and incomplete Axure creations will be thrown away. They’re horrible! I have to keep telling my stakeholders “use your imagination here 'cuz I didn’t take the time to make that work.” But what I learn from showing these hideous sketches to people is quite valuable and informs the rest of the development process: it is the learning that is kept, not the blabla.axshare.com thing.

I share your concern about the lack of an Axure ‘conference’ —there used to be an active user group here in Chicago, but either I’ve lost touch with it or it has gone dormant—and agree that a roadmap and user input are good things for a company to make available.

I am not sure if I care one way or the other about templates and such: if my crappy prototypes looked too good, people might confuse them for actual code, and more seriously, I don’t know if it would be better to pull in a pre-built behavior since it would be simple to add it, or better to struggle building an interaction and in the process decide if I am really committed to that interaction being the best one for users.

I appreciate that you felt you’d get a better response here than on Reddit, and I apologize if my comments seem ad hominem (they’re not, but I love throwing that phrase in every now and then). I hope I have given you some reasonable things to think about, and would like to hear your responses and those of others.

Regards,
Jacque Harper


#5

All Axure RP need to so is optimise their Generated HTML Codes, that would essentially kill any No-Code applications.

Semantic HTML that is well layered out, all widget currently can essentially be a library so no need to design from scratch, just drag and drop the library. Once the basic HTML structure is formed. The rest is history.

Just as you can connect Excel sheet to Database, Axure RP should be able to connect to Database.

Once you can do the following

Create
Read
Update
Delete

Trust me, Wordpress etc will be dead in 24 hours.


#6

I almost spat up milk I never drank after reading this. lol… but I agree… give us some data integration already…it’s almost 2021.


#7

:joy::sweat_smile::rofl: Seriously No-Code is the future and platform that can do CRUD easily will win.


#8

you liking any in particular?


#9

ok lets start at the beginning. (since you didn’t use any form of anchor…I’ll use P# to represent which Paragraph I’m referring to.)

P1- Agree fully…context changes meaning, so let me provide some. I am both an individual designer/UX product maker …. and…. Part of a large organization where I ‘program’ enterprise software for financial services. I’ve even launched a few startups (primarily in the consumer focused mobile retail space and open data/civictech space.). I may barely qualify into the group of the few you defined, although the development part I’ve chosen to not sink into on purpose, since I primarily build for speed…proof of concept, MVP etc,…and others take what Ive built, and scale it for production (if that makes sense). And that may be my issue. I can fully simulate a complex vision for an application, and after spending all that energy… to then handoff and wait and pray that the dev can execute as shown in the same or less amount of time… is prolly the root of that frustration. Obviously you can sense there is a matter of ‘control’ at play here…(invoking the founder’s dilemma)…, but my prototypes contain the experience strategy, the UI, the interactions, and outline the data flow and sequence. That why I say I do the programming….just not the coding. So yeah…most of my frustration on not being able to build the thing is more directed to non-work personal projects rather than the fintech stuff.

P2- I think you are prolly overly narrow defining what no-code tools are capable of right now. And the scale of enterprises using it. And not being semantic about no-code vs low code (lets group them together)…. But your platforms like Salesforce, Outsystem, Bubble, Microsoft PowerApps, DronaHQ, etc are just barely scratching the surface of the scope of what these tools can do. I will admit… I’ve never thought of Wordpress in the no-code context until just now….lol.

P3 - this is summarized by "you don’t waste time and money building the wrong thing”. So…I guess you’ve confirmed as stated. Maybe I’m just at an evolutionary point of my journey…where I want to be loser to the production phase.

P4 - again context changes meaning. The main challenge is time/capability/priority/deadlines. So not particularly an Axure issue…more of a resource thing. So fair enough. WOW a Cobol reference….hmm… did we learn that right after Fortran?

P5 - totally agree here. There’s definitely a 2 edged sword of responsibility here. The best prototypes express intent of the user in a way that business, development, change management, training, and end users can all see considerations for themselves in it. If the process is done effectively, they also can see their fingerprint on the final deliverable. We truly built it together.

P6 - I think it just that we want to understand and help shape the direction of the tool we spend so much of our life energy using…. Else… it may be time to invest into learning another that moves us closer to our current need. albeit…after conquering Axure’s learning curve… I’m in no rush learning any others for a little while.

P7 - In the context of enterprise tools where there are existing design systems to leverage in reducing the time to get things up and running, these templates can be useful. Focusing on the flow and interactions rather than the pixel perfectness. But agree, that you need to know ur audience and match their ability to understand and be trained to focus on what u want them to decide upon through the experience of your prototype.

P8 - Hey Jacque, thanks for the consideration you put into this response. This was fun…and no worries…I’m unoffendable. Indeed, there was a lot to think and respond to, hope you felt this was a worthwhile conversation. Hopefully an Axure support will surprise us with some a goodie or 2 after reading this. (Like. A link to a roadmap, or future board lol)