Screen Mockups Help Prevent Misunderstandings
May 22, 2006
Misunderstandings are costly in software development. The new version 2.71 of MockupScreens, a rapid screen prototyping tool for Windows, improves project communication by providing an easy way for technical and non-technical users alike to collaborate with clarity.
Aimed at software designers, analysts and development teams, MockupScreens lets you to sketch screen mock-ups of your application or web pages and organize them in scenarios. With MockupScreens you can experiment interactively with your clients, and quickly create a wireframe of your application, while coding hasn’t even started yet.
“The hardest part is to stay out of the way and let the user focus on her problem, and not the tool she is using.” says the author Igor Jese on the usability, one of the strong points of MockupScreens. “If the user has to learn how to use the tool, most non-technical users simply won’t use it.”
Through the use of an intentionally simple graphical interface, users define common screen elements such as buttons, fields, tables, etc. and populate them with data. For web-pages, elements are available such as a web-browser toolbar, links and predefined dummy images. Being “mock-ups”, the screen elements are radically simpler to use than those in specialized GUI designers. Users can copy and reuse the existing screens, transform screens to and from Web-pages, move them among scenarios and use predefined templates.
Most actions can be invoked both via consistent keyboard shortcuts and handy shortcut menus. As an end-result a user exports a single screen, scenario or whole project to images for presentation, printing or similar further use. Mock-ups purposefully avoid the possibility of being mistaken for the real application screens. Additionally, a user puts visually distinctive marks on the mock-up, such as numbering, arrowheads and icons.
With the help of specialized features such as defining multiple screen elements at once or changing the type of elements at will, MockupScreens ensures a high level of productivity. The user interface is simple and intuitive which, together with context-sensitive on-screen help, makes the application easy to use even for non-technical users. The application makes an extra effort to stay out of the way, so the user can focus on his problem and not the tool. The application itself requires very little learning. The user installs it with the automated setup application and gets up to speed in minutes.
MockupScreens 2.71 is compatible with Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and costs $59.00 (USD) for a single license. Licensed customers are entitled to 12-month free upgrades and e-mail support. Additional information on MockupScreens 2.71, a “Getting Started” tutorial, as well as a free evaluation copy are available from http://mockupscreens.com.