This blog is going to be a lot more extemporaneous than I’d prefer, but it will serve as a good outlet as I work through a lot of the issues I face trying to launch a new product.
It can be difficult staying committed to an idea when you notice that idea has never been done. I mean, most everything has been done. How is it that I have an idea no one else has had? Well that is unlikely. My guess is that other people have had this idea, but never followed through in any serious way. And therein lies the question.
For anyone wondering, my general idea is creating a theme/template marketplace for Axure. This doesn’t really exist, at least not how I envision it. There are libraries, and a handful of lo-fi design pattern prototypes you can download. But I want to make full fledged themes for Axure, like you would find on a site like WrapBootstrap or template.co.
Up until Axure 6, this didn’t make sense. Axure lacked a lot of the things needed to do this, at least without heavily hacking things. Web fonts, font weights, full width and full height dynamic panels, and so on. Given this, I think people only look to Axure as a UX tool.
But since Axure 7, I don’t see why it can’t be a design tool. I’ve been creating exceptionally high fidelity designs that perfectly mirror a production level website.
Here is an example: http://28ryyk.axshare.com/home.html
I could even take it further and add in break points and make it fairly responsive. But I’m holding off on going that far with themes, at least until I can tell whether or not people will want to use them.
It seems like they should have a huge advantage over libraries. A typical drag and drop library will still have you spending hours piecing together a website, and even then, it might not be all that great. There’s more to a site than the styling of the widgets. Without the keen eye of a designer, your composition will still be less than stellar.
On top of that, you’ll spend hours doing the tedious of work of importing fonts, making all of the backgrounds 100% width, F5ing, bug checking, repeat. Who wouldn’t want to start with a premade template that you could quickly customize?
Well the answer seems to be everyone, at least so far. No one looks at Axure as a design tool. But I’d really like to change that. I think I might be ahead of the curve here by half a year or so. But it seems to me like this is bound to happen, and if I don’t do it, someone else will.
Especially once Axure 8 is released. I don’t know what improvements we will see in Axure 8, but by then you might as well just prototype in production level fidelity. Why not? Build your wireframes. Then build your design. Why mess around with these middling fidelities?
So that’s where I’m at. Trying to stay jazzed about my idea, and keep pushing forward building new themes, while not getting too invested that I sink into a deep despair when the idea flops. Maybe people don’t wanna design like this (although it’s so fast and easy, I don’t know why you wouldn’t.) Maybe too many companies are ingrained within the wireframe -> Adobe -> code workflow. Who knows?
I hope at some point I’ll be able to get more feedback from people who can tell me if this is the dumbest idea ever, or pure genius. Also, if it’s pure genius, don’t steal my idea!