This weekend I had the opportunity to use JustinMind Prototyper a little more. I had previously reviewed it for initial impressions. This was a real project I was using it for and I got at least 6 hours in of real-world usage. Here are my findings:
- The first thing I noticed is that the application is kinda slow. Things like cut/paste take way more time than they should. A snappy application is critical for this kind of tool. I can’t wait for every drag action to update the screen. My computer was not brand new, but still it was fast enough with tons of ram. More than anything else, this one aspect of the application might stop me from using it.
- Next, there were more “oh nuts” moments. When trying to Import/Export templates and masters, you can’t do them all at once. You need to import them one at a time. This is pure insanity and complete waste of time. I found myself working around this issue because it would just take too long. I saw in the manual somewhere you could do it en masse, but it wasn’t obvious how to do it. Saying RTFM is the worst possible UX. They have to make things more obvious and work the way one would expect them to.
- Regarding the entire template/master system, I found it very hard to figure out the best architecture. How many templates to use? How much detail on the template itself? The choices are limitless and they all have pros and cons to that architecture. I found myself redoing a bunch of work when I realized a choice I made slowed me down to a crawl and I was repeating myself alot. One thing I found myself wishing for was the ability to put a “label” on the template and then on the individual page I could set the “text” of that label. That way, I could control the font/placement centrally. This might be a feature now, but I couldn’t figure it out.
- There is a PowerPoint like aspect to the ordering of objects. Functions like [send to back] and [move forwards] are available. They even have an outline on the right. However, the outline did not have the ability to drag and drop in the order. This would have saved me alot of time. This function is important and calls out for folders where you can group “layers” like photoshop and order them appropriately. Again, the lack of this feature made using the product slower.
- Additionally, I found alot of functions to not have keyboard shortcuts. Or at least, I couldn’t find the keyboard shortcuts. They should make it easier to find those. I was looking for (not surprisingly) the keyboard functions for [move forward]. On the last page of their help manual has keyboard shortcuts. There are virtually none that are unique to prototyping. That is a pathetic list. Who is going to read 114 pages by the way? Are you crazy?
- On the good side, linking one screen to another was really easy. And generating the final HTML prototype was simple. The final result was good, but I estimates at least a 25% slow down factor because of all of the bad UX details.
If I can sum up the experience, I would say, “Focus on the things that make working faster. If I feel like the tool can’t keep up with me, I will have to try another tool.” Actually, I just downloaded Axure and am going to give it a try. I’ve never used it before.
Oh, the joys of new software.