Communications Articles

Let Your Imagination Take Over Simulate Mobile Applications — a Review of Proto.io From a Non-Coder

by Stephanie Watson
Published on 4 June 2012

Proto.io is an innovative product that allows you to create a mobile prototype with the intention of simulating a mobile application for your smart phone or tablet computer.

It works for iPhones, Android phones, as well as tablets PC's with iPhone and Android operating systems. The web-based prototyping software lets you create the prototype of the app you have been imagining with a variety of features and simulation possibilities.

Preview An Interactive Mobile App Before Writing The Code

The prototyping abilities offered by Proto.io provides you with everything you need in order to create an interactive sample application of one you have been imagining, whether you are a coder looking for a preview of what the app will look like, or an app enthusiast with an amazing idea. With Proto.io, you will be simulating typical app touch events such as tapping, tap-holding, clicking, and swiping. App developers and coders who have wanted to create a new app but do not want to write code until they can see their vision beforehand, now have the opportunity to try out their app before they spend time and money on writing code for it.

Anyone Can Turn Their Vision Into A Reality

Anyone who has used apps on their smartphone or tablet device will be able to experience what it's like to create their own app with an interactive prototype. Proto.io offers an inside look into designing your own app that incorporates simulated activity and a variety of personalization. If you are someone with an idea for an app, whether you have a complex concept or simply a curious notion, you will have the option of putting that curiosity to the test with your app prototype. App users aren't the only ones that benefit from Proto.io; graphic designers, coders and developers will find just as many valuable features.

Alexis of Proto.io stated that the service was created out of their own pure need. They were developing iPhone apps at the time and didn't find tools that allowed them to prototype how the app would look and work. Not finding a single tool in the market that would offer mobile app prototyping to support screen transitions, touch gestures and multiple interactions essentially forced them to be innovative and create the product.

Create A Prototype Of Your App In A Matter Of Minutes

I found Proto.io to be fast, efficient and incredibly easy to use. As someone with no coding experience, I was able to dedicate a short amount of time to a basic app vision I had without slow-loading issues. The web-based program is user friendly and offers experienced coders an opportunity for envisioning their app before taking the time to write the code. The great thing is that according to Alexis, the dreams are becoming a reality for many who used the tool to see the prototypes which are now turned to apps.

The Basics: What Does It Look Like?

From the moment you sign in to your Proto.io, you will discover just how easy it is to create your prototype. Creating a project requires only basic information before you enter the prototype editor. Once you are on the editor screen, you can access the various tools including adding text, lists, images or media, forms, buttons, and action bars with a simple drag & drop feature.

As with any program, the Proto.io web-based application offers a number of advantages and disadvantages. While everyday users with an app concept can utilize the prototype features, you may find it difficult to create your first project unless you have a solid design idea in mind. Coders, app users, and designers who have an idea in mind have a variety of features available such as creating master templates to be used on multiple screens, previewing your app while you're editing, zooming in, and using keyboard shortcuts for various actions.

Proto.io offers three plans for creating your mobile app prototype, which range in price and features. The most basic plan is free to try and includes 10mb of storage, 1 project, 5 prototype screens and 1 editor. If you choose a paid plan, you will be charged a small monthly fee and have access to significantly more storage space, more projects, unlimited screens and editors, as well as additional features like printing and PDF creation, exporting to HTML, publishing and sharing the prototype.

Is It For You?

If you are someone with a solid design idea in mind for an app that is a new concept or a modern version of a classic favorite. Proto.io offers you a unique opportunity for turning that vision into an interactive mobile app. Coders and designers benefit from seeing their app in action prior to writing the code, and the ability to share the prototype with friends or fellow coders for their input and suggestions.

The company is very in tune with their client base, and according to Alexis are constantly under development. They add features on a weekly basis. Their next release will include comments and conversations that will allow project reviewers and developers to visually communicate by exchanging comments on the actual prototype screen to bring more true collaboration to the experience. That sounds great! I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Proto.io

Ratings: ease of use 4.5/5, features 4.5/5, value 4.5/5 and ease of deployment 4.5/5


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