The ‘Browse By’ function in review

This is a recycle of an old article about Parallel Prototyping highlighting a feature we released back in ProtoShare 5.0.  We’ve had some questions about this, so we wanted to cover this again.  Many of you may have noticed the ‘Browse By’ menu item in review.

Browse By Menu item

This feature allows you to create multiple ‘paths’ to browse through your prototype.  By creating a set of designs for each page (for example, ‘Mobile’ or ‘Alternate’), you can then browse through those sets of designs in review by choosing ‘Browse By’ and the name of the set of designs you want to see.  In the example above, I can choose either to see the ‘Active’ design when I link, or, I can see the design named “Wireframe” for each page.  The article below spells out the details.

One of the new features we added to ProtoShare in version 5 is what we’re calling ‘Parallel Prototyping’.

Starting with ProtoShare 2.0, we added a feature that lets you create multiple designs for each page in your website prototype. The designs are shown in a selection box when you focus a page:

Wireframe Design Types

Wireframe Design Types

Multiple Designs Per Page (MDPP) have lots of great uses. Both our own team and our customers have found that using MDPP can be valuable for many different purposes. Some examples include

  • Different levels of prototype fidelity;
  • Design Comps placed side-by-side with wireframes;
  • Live Views placed side-by-side with prototypes;
  • Different versions of a page (to test alternate layouts, calls to action, etc.);
  • Saving versions of a design before making changes.

Prior to 5.0, one drawback to MDPP was that you could only link to the ‘active’ design of another page. You could not define multiple paths through the wireframe. For instance, if you wanted clickable comps after your wireframe, you couldn’t just create a bunch of clickable comps, you had to set them as the ‘active’ design for the page.

In ProtoShare 5, we added  the ability to create multiple navigation paths through the different designs. For example, if you want a complete set of low-fi website wireframes alongside a complete set of clickable comps, you can now do that easily and quickly using ProtoShare.

The way to do this in ProtoShare 5 is to give a set of designs the same name. When you create a new page design, the dialog provides a list of the design names you’ve used on a project, or you can type in a new name to create a new design type.

This might sound complicated, but it’s really easy to do. When you review a site, or export it to HTML, you can choose a design name to use for browsing. This allows you to quickly compare multiple versions of the same project or section of a project. I think the easiest way to demonstrate this is with a quick video, so take a look at the following:

We’re really excited about this feature and are looking forward to hearing about how it’s helping our customers, and about what we can do to improve it. Have you tried this feature? Let us know how you’re using it in the comments below.

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