Silverlight 3 Tour Overview: Part 2

Before I start, If you haven’t already, please spare a few minutes to read Part 1. Ok, without further Ado…

Enter Alarm Clock, 5:15am. It’s day two of the Silverlight 3 Tour!

Taking the train into the big City definitely has it’s benefits, normally my drive consists of me , well obviously, driving. Since the recent change of “scenery” I work a little bit closer to home, so I don’t quite have enough time to fit in a podcast on my morning drive so I’ve switched back to listening to the radio.  During the course of my morning commute this week I have taken up reading, Wow, what a concept, but it’s something i rarely get to do casually.  My commute home has been dedicated to working on these fabulous blog posts that you have the pleasure of reading.  WAIT! Don’t hit that red ‘X’ yet, there is much to tell you.

Now that we’ve had the opportunity to get a handle on this crazy formatting language XAML, Day 2 has picked up the pace of content, and with it introduced us into a tool that will change your life dramatically, FOREVER!  Sketch Flow which is part of Expression Blend 3 has enabled Silverlight and WPF designers to offer better prototypes (Design Concepts) for their clients. Working for small companies for, well lets face it, my entire career thus far, typically I have both roles of User Experience (UX) Designer and Application Developer.  Typically my design concepts I have roughed up a quick “Cocktail Napkin Design” which then got scanned to a PDF and Emailed off to our client. When you get into the Office tomorrow, throw out your pens, put the lined paper back into the supply closet and download Expression Blend 3, no matter what you plan to develop, create your prototypes with Sketch Flow.

With Sketch Flow you can create pseudo functioning prototypes, that looks literally like you drew it out by hand. Complete with some randomly generated “Mock Data” (not Programmatic Mock Objects, but Mock XML based data). To take this one step further you are then able to “Launch”” your Prototype to a Server and have your customer remotely Rough up your Prototype.  They have the ability to add notes, highlight, and draw on your UX, not to mention the ability to fully step through the system as it is to be intended to be used by a users, or quickly click through an index of “Screens”. Once their done marking up your prototype they are able to export their notes, highlights, and mark-up to a simple format that they email to you.  You then take that file, and import it into your Prototype file and are able to overlay their notes on your design surface so you can quickly make the necessary changes to get your clients approval QUICKER!  If you didn’t notice earlier, I told you that you can “Launch” the prototype, this allows you to have multiple people to review the prototype, and get back to you with separate comments, which you can review one-by-one on your design surface.

Even if you don’t plan on creating Silverlight or WPF apps, there is nothing wrong with being exposed to the XAML and Expression Blend 3 to increase your productivity Prototyping with Sketch Flow. If you find yourself in the same position as a lot of companies do with out of control Feature Creep, you should consider checking out the Silverlight 3 Tour.