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June 14, 2012 / carlispina

Rapid Prototyping for Mobile Websites with Proto.io

Proto.io LogoPrototyping a mobile website before you start developing it can make it easier to finalize design decisions and come to agreement with the entire design team before you start coding. I’ve previously discussed Codiqa as an option for mobile prototyping; another option for prototyping mobile sites geared towards iOS and Android devices is Proto.io. This web application uses an easy-to-use drag and drop interface to allow you to quickly create prototypes of mutli-page mobile websites. The final prototype is interactive allowing you to preview the way that the mobile app will actually work and how users will navigate between pages. Prototypes created with premium accounts can be shared with an unlimited number of editors and reviewers for more collaborative work and can also be exported to HTML to give you a starting point for finalizing your site.

Overall, I think Proto.io is a nice prototyping option. I was able to design a simple homepage for a mobile site in a matter of minutes using the drag and drop functionality and, particularly with the premium account options, it seems as though it would be possible to design a large and complicated site fairly quickly. I also like Proto.io’s focus on collaboration. In addition to allowing an unlimited number of editors and reviewers with premium accounts, the latest version also provides a way to add comments directly to the prototype, which will make it even easier to collaborate with other team members. Proto.io also allows you to create templates, which can be great for repeated content. The library of items that can be dragged and dropped onto your screen will meet the needs of most users. And, perhaps best of all, when you preview your prototype, Proto.io automatically generates a QR code that lets you easily pull the prototype up on a mobile device to see how it actually looks on the device. I would note that free accounts offer fairly limited functionality and only offer one editor, five pages and 10 MB of storage space. The premium accounts, however, do offer additional features that mobile designers will likely find extremely useful. I think that Proto.io is an interesting prototyping tool that is well worth checking out, especially if you are willing (and able) to try out the premium option. To get an overview of the service, check out the video below:

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One Comment

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  1. Proto.io (@protoio) / Jul 10 2012 11:39 am

    Thanks for the shout-out Carli! We’ve added a new ‘freebies’ section on our site today that might interest you. It’s there to share useful tools and code, engineered for and used in Proto.io. Our first freebie is a CSS3-only On/Off flipswitch. Check it out http://proto.io/freebies

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