Cross-Device Prototyping Tools – Beyond Paper Sketches


Two weeks ago, I spoke at World Usability Day in Hannover. Among great talks on flat design, feedback forms and gestural interaction, I had the pleasure to talk about prototyping in cross-device design projects. Unfortunately, I could not go into details of the tools I presented (in German). I would like to take this as a starting point for a series of blog posts.

“A prototype is a question rendered as an artifact.”

— Scott Klemmer


“You don’t design something like Facebook Home using Photoshop”


How can we talk about physics-based UIs and panels and bubbles that can be flung across the screen if we’re sitting around looking at static mocks? (Hint: we can’t.) It’s no secret that many of us on the Facebook Design team are avid users of QuartzComposer, a visual prototyping tool that lets you create hi-fidelity demos that look and feel like exactly what you want the end product to be. We’ve given a few talks on QC in the past, and its presence at Facebook (introduced by Mike Matas a few years back) has changed the way we design. Not only does QC make working with engineers much easier, it’s also incredibly effective at telling the story of a design. When you see a live, polished, interactable demo, you can instantly understand how something is meant to work and feel, in a way that words or long descriptions or wireframes will never be able to achieve. And that leads to better feedback, and better iterations, and ultimately a better end product. When you are working on something for which the interactions matter so greatly—in this case, a gesture-rich, heavily physics-based ui—anything less simply will not do.

Mobilify Design Game


This exercise can work really well during collaborative design workshops. In this exercise, everyone writes down on Post-it notes the elements that may appear on a certain page. These are then stuck to the wall in order of importance, as if they were appearing linearised on a mobile phone. The resulting discussion may generate some surprising conclusions.

For example, you may realise that navigation is not the most important component on the page. This could follow through to the design, where a skip link at the top of the page links to the navigation in the footer.

Check the details on