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InfoQ Homepage News Article: Using SketchFlow to Create Better Prototypes

Article: Using SketchFlow to Create Better Prototypes

At the MIX09 conference in March 2009, Microsoft announced a new tool called Sketchflow, that aims to improve the prototyping experience for developers and designers. In this article, Simon Guest from Microsoft covers the importance of prototyping for today's applications, and takes the reader on a walkthrough of using Sketchflow to create a prototype of an online store.

Topics covered include: Importance of prototyping, application flow, navigation, composition screens, feedback, states and transitions, sample data, and documentation. Guest introduces the article with the observation:

All good developers and designers that I’ve run into do some kind of prototyping. For me, prototyping is about creating a communication channel with customers, sharing ideas with stakeholders, and receiving feedback so that changes can be made early on in the development lifecycle.

In this article we’ll be exploring the functionality within SketchFlow, covering how it works in a soon-to-be-released preview edition, and looking at how such a tool could make your prototypes more usable and effective.

If you’ve heard of the Expression Blend family of products, you’ll likely know that the Expression Blend tool is marketed toward the designer community. While interaction designers will likely make up the majority of the users of Blend, I believe that the SketchFlow functionality also makes for an attractive proposition for many developers – many of whom have been prototyping for some time, using whiteboards through to creating mockups of screens in Visual Basic or other tools.

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