RP9 needs advanced interaction builder

The RP9 interaction builder must be fixed. It isn’t as usable as RP8. I’ve been attempting to use RP9 to work on moderately-sized RP8 projects. I spend most of my day working in Axure and am frequently asked what tools I recommend for UX work. Interactions are the entire point to Axure.

RP9 interactions have taken one step forward and 6 steps back. Interactions are what make Axure the choice to use. The RP 8 interaction builder was non-ideal, but at least you could see the results of what you had done. It sucked scrolling through large lists without typeahead, and there were other areas for improvement, like problems in copying and pasting interactions. Now copy and paste is even worse and display is impossible to follow.

Let’s separate it into two parts: 1. building the interaction and 2. displaying the interaction

  1. Building Interactions
  • Adding typeahead to select an interaction is a good change. Well done!
  • Adding interactions is not a modeless state. You shouldn’t be able to start an interaction and then click & scroll around the prototype as RP 9 lets you do. Give us back a modal interaction builder.
  • Building an interaction in the sidebar sucks for utilization of space. My main office is a 3 screen setup, but on location travel requires small screen work and you can’t afford to waste all the space. Medium length interactions no longer fit on my 36in massive main screen. What the hell?
  • If we had interaction builder that starts in the sidebar, but could be popped open into an advanced modal interaction builder (more like RP8 except with your excellent typeahead interaction selector), that would be MUCH better. I would prefer an Axure preference where interaction editing always shows in a modal advanced dialog.
  • I understand that you might want a simpler sidebar interaction builder, but only for beginners or to add very small interactions. Even so, it could be done without wasting so much space.

-This is further complicated by including long winded text explaining what you’re doing. See the example below with Raised Events. If you don’t know how Raised Events work, you need that long-winded helper information, but then you never want to see it again. This is further evidence that a) it shouldn’t be in a sidebar and b) that helpful tips about interactions are only a good and fine idea if you can then hide the tips once you know what you’re doing.

  1. Display Interactions
  • the color coding is nice, but other than that, it’s a total fail.
    -The display of interactions in RP9 is bloated and useless for non-trivial interactions.
    When you have a long list of interactions, you want the display to be very compact. That makes it easy to read and follow to check it and add to it later. RP9 bloats the whole thing into an unreadable mess. It’s a pretty mess, but still useless.
    -Along with taking too much space, it skips details needlessly.

In the screenshot above, it shows a small part of multiple IF…ELSE cases that changes a dynamic panel state. What state for each case? You can’t tell without clicking into each one. That makes it incredibly difficult to read and check anything before adding to an existing interaction.

On a separate note, handling Repeater data in a sidebar sucks. If there was ever a thing that needs a sizable dialog, not a sidebar, it’s repeater data. The only way I’ve dealt with it is by working with the data always in Excel and pasting it back in to the repeater. Not only is this a hack that requires another heavy app, but most Axure users suffer because they don’t even know you can do it.

To summarize, I appreciate some of the things added to RP9 interactions, but the negatives vastly outweigh them. I cannot recommend that any of my clients move to RP9 or start using Axure if the interaction builder isn’t improved.

Respectfully,

-Bill

6 Likes

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to gather all of this feedback together for the RP 9 beta! I’ve gone through each of your feedback items and passed both the positive and constructive feedback over to our product team for review. We’ll be continuing to iterate, fix, and add to the beta in the coming months, so this is all very helpful for assisting that process.

Regarding the specific issue with the dynamic panels in the screenshot you showed, this looks like a bug. If you target a panel in a Set Panel State interaction using “This” then the target state just shows as “State” rather than with the state name; however, targeting the dynamic panel itself in the interaction shows the applied state name. I’ll go ahead and add this to the bug that we have filed with QA.

Thanks again, and cheers!

1 Like

Thank you for reading and passing along my feedback. UX designers who currently use Axure daily are the influencers who are more vital to Axure’s success than new users who are attracted to a simplified UI. I feel confident that a poll of heavy users of Axure would confirm my view of the problems with the new Interaction Builder.

I understand the idea of broadening the audience by offering simpler ways for graphics designers to add simple interactions. Graphics designers can feel put off by the learning curve to master Axure. However, offering a simplified interface for such designers to start using Axure is no reason to make it bad for designers who do complex, rich interactions.

I love Axure & I admire some of the changes in RP9, but the interaction building problems are currently too severe. The thing that most impresses my clients and saves developer time is my ability to produce rich interactions that can be subject to usability testing before coding. If Axure makes it too hard to produce rich, detailed interactions, it ceases to be the powerful tool of choice. There are a lot of other prototyping tools and I get asked for recommendations at least a couple of times every week.

-Bill

3 Likes

I was suppose to build this week a fully interactive prototype for a demo and the simply thing that there is no copy paste for interaction make it impossible.

You should see how many times i’m doing this thing in a workday. For sure, if you don’t build prototype and do simple click transition, you might be okay but I cannot imagine migrate to axure 9 without this…

P.S. The small thumbnail in the sitemap was very usefull!

2 Likes

Thanks Bill,

Chiming bit late I figure.

+1 on interaction flow. I did not analyse it thoroughly as you, but it is a problem working on such narrow side bar. Putting the style effects on the end of the interactions is an issue too. Not something I would figure out by myself. There is also a separation between defining the style, and actually mark a widget as selected/disabled/focus, etc. They should be together, since it a complementary operation: defining the style and the widget state.

Totally agree regards the repeater. It needs its place. you keep scrolling and tabbing back and forth between interaction and repeater data which is down there and so narrow.

BTW - Copy & paste from excel does not work in the repeater for now. It’s a known bug. I hack it by doing in Axure8, and import the page/master with the repeater.
I like working with repeaters (complex web apps with many lines, tables, etc) - so it’s a pain.

Cheers!

1 Like

Thank you Bill for the analysis.

I completely agree there are some nice changes but the negatives outweigh those. I use Axure for a large part of my day building complex screens for an ERP application, and even though I’ve learned how to use the new interaction panel, it is just slower to use and does not provide a good summary view of the interactions. I’m glad this feedback is being passed back to the product teams and I hope they make some improvements.

Regards,
Amanda

1 Like