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SketchFlow: An Overview

By:  Expression Team  

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SketchFlow enables you to rapidly create and prototype new ideas and effectively present them to your clients before evolving and delivering them as completed projects.

Traditional prototypes are generally redundant after the concept phase and are discarded. SketchFlow is different, it enables you to leverage all the conceptual ideas, components, behaviors and resources expressed via the SketchFlow prototype and use them as the starting point for the next phase of the project.

The ability to rapidly prototype multiple branches through an application and propose multiple different functional layouts for screens and then deliver these as an interactive prototype is an exceptionally powerful way of engaging your client.

SketchFlow helps you keep the client focus on the overall solution rather than the detail early in the prototype stage by visualizing concepts and layouts using SketchFlow’s built in ‘sketchy’ styled controls. Once you are ready to demonstrate a prototype to your client you can solicit immediate feedback via the SketchFlow player.

Customers can test the concepts you are prototyping without installing any software on their machines, adding their thoughts through annotated comments which can then be viewed directly on the design surface within SketchFlow. This enables you to iterate quickly on feedback and once your customer signs off on a concept you can move quickly from a prototype to production project, which enables you to maximize your investment from the concept phase.

Expression SketchFlow is included with:


Top Features

  • Effective Prototyping - quickly and efficiently experiment with the flow of an application UI, the layout of the individual screens and how the application will transition from one state of the application to another.
  • Interactive Review - the SketchFlow player engages clients with working prototypes, collects annotations and feedback which get displayed directly on the design surface within Expression Blend.
  • Powerful Documentation - Quickly create detailed project documentation for your prototypes.

Overview

Rapidly prototype your user interfaces with SketchFlow.Sketching and prototyping are successful techniques that enable you to successfully explore multiple ideas and concepts quickly without excessive investment in either time or resources.

SketchFlow revolutionizes the speed and efficiency you can demonstrate a vision for an application. SketchFlow provides an informal and quick way to explore, iterate and prototype user interface scenarios allowing you to evolve your concepts from a series of rough ideas into a living breathing prototype that can be made as real as a particular client or project demands. This rapid, iterative and cost effective approach to prototyping allows you to concentrate on what matters most, being creative and building the best solution for your client, on time and within budget.

What is SketchFlow

SketchFlow enables you to quickly and efficiently map and experiment with the flow of an application UI, the layout of the individual screens and how the application will transition from one state of the application to another.

Defining the flow of the application

Use the built in ‘sketch’ styled controls and components, sticky notes as well as imported images to iterate and visualize your ideas quickly. This quick and fluid way of working means you can create, test, iterate and discard ideas in rapid succession allowing you to explore multiple routes for a solution with minimal cost. The speed and low cost that ideas can be visualized and demonstrated to a client enable you to consider approaching projects that previously would not have been cost effective or profitable.

Quickly iterate on screen layouts using the built in Sketch styled components

The ability to rapidly demonstrate how the application will flow and transition from state to state enables clients to appreciate the user experience of the application earlier in the design process and highlights navigation and application flow issues early in the development cycle helping you and the client to reduce painful and costly last minute concept changes.

Gathering effective and timely feedback from a client is just as important as creating the prototype in helping reduce time lost and costs in the design and development process. The freely distributable SketchFlow player ensures that your Silverlight concepts can be demonstrated effectively to your client through a standard browser wherever they are located. Clients review the Silverlight prototype in their browser, testing multiple scenarios and provide in context feedback for the development team by annotating their experience as they navigate the different screens.

Client adding feedback in the browser-based Silverlight SketchFlow player

Once the feedback is finalized clients can save and return it to the development team who can then import it directly back into Expression Blend. The client’s annotations are visible in-context on the design surface allowing it to be immediately reviewed and acted on.

Concepts built during this early design phase may be a prototype in look but they are actually real Silverlight or WPF projects utilizing the same project format that is already shared between Visual Studio and Expression Blend. What this means is that from the very first moment you are working on a real project that can be explored and presented – even while it is just a flow of conceptual sketches without any real user interface.

SketchFlow enables the creation of comprehensive project documentation through an export to Microsoft Word command that creates an outline project document complete with table of contents, screen grabs of the application flow and the different screens within the project. This literally saves hours of time during document creation and enables you to easily keep your project outlines up to date even while you are rapidly iterating on the application.

Evolution, from Concept to Completion

SketchFlow prototypes are fast, easy and inexpensive to build, making it possible to create, explore and compare multiple ideas before moving forward with a solution.

Traditional prototypes are generally redundant after the concept phase and discarded. SketchFlow enables you to leverage all the previous conceptual work, every asset and component created is reusable in your production project – nothing goes to waste.

You are able to rapidly evolve your prototypes utilizing the full functionality of Expression Blend 3 with no limit to the scope of a prototype. Mock-up functionality, experiment with data-driven UI with data binding and sample data. Apply rich interactivity with Behaviors, without writing code, using extensible libraries of packaged interactivity building blocks. The ability to integrate with existing workflows by importing Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files at full fidelity; preserving layers, vectors and even most text formatting accelerates your workflow further.

From simple prototypes that are wireframes featuring low fidelity visuals to prototypes that are high fidelity, fully interactive and data driven, SketchFlow gives you the flexibility to experiment, evolve and demonstrate your concepts and ideas to clients in the most effective way possible. You have total flexibility and total control from concept to completion.

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