I’ve previously mentioned Field Test in my big list of UI/UX links. I’ve gotten really familiar with it after relying heavily on it for the last project I just finished. This prototyping tool worked best for me because the support of gestures and the ability to build both iPhone and iPad prototypes. (It also supports some Android and Windows 8.) Field Test out of beta now, so anyone can get an account. I highly recommend this. There’s a free option that allows you have one project to play with. If you need more projects, there are various plans: Starter ($7.00/month) 3 projects, Starter Plus ($10.00/month) 5 projects, Basic ($19.00/month) 10 projects, all (even the free) with unlimited screens.

 

Features that I really liked:

The ability to view the prototype on the device: When you’re sharing the prototype, the link that you share opens in the browser, giving you the ability to “add to your homescreen”. In Field Test there’s an option to make an app icon for your prototype, so when you “add to homescreen”, it creates an app icon on the device and makes it feel like you’re actually opening up an real app.

This is the most important feature, in my own opinion. I can’t express enough how important it is to always view what you’re designing on the device. This is a great way to make sure your clients do the same. The shared link also allows one to view the prototype in a normal web browser, but still presents the screens in a device frame. This is even better than just the comps on their own.

Also make sure that the link you share is set to “public”, otherwise you will have to share your Field Test login with your client, allowing them to view your other projects. Even though the link is set to “public,” no one can view the prototype without that exact link. This doesn’t mean you’re opening the prototype up to be found through Google.

The ease of updating screens within the prototype: When you’re in the process of designing, things are changing constantly. This keeps all of your hotspots intact and allows you to just replace an old image with a new one. After you’ve updated, the changes are immediate and there isn’t a need to re-install or download anything. This keeps the confusion level down on which prototype the most recently updated and accurate. It’s also good if you realize that you forgot to add something to a screen; one quick update is all you need and none the wiser.

Batch uploading of images: Field Test allows you to upload more than one image at a time, this made building this a little less painless. I also liked that you could easily re-name the images intuitively (clicking on the image name, just like photoshop).

 

Features I’d like to have:

Copy & Paste hotspots: There are a bunch of screens that have the same buttons, it would be nice to be able to just copy and paste the hotspots so you don’t have to set each parameter every. single. time. I believe this is something Field Test is working on though.

Adding the actions/gestures are a little confusing: After playing with Field Test alot, I figured out that when you set a hotspot to “swipe left”, you don’t “swipe right” to go back. The correct way is to “Swipe Left” then check the “reverse” box, to “reverse” the action you just did. I didn’t get this at first, I wish that was a little bit more clear in the options. It made sense once I figured it out (and talked to the support team at Field Test).

A few more gesture options: Swiping up or down, two finger swipes, pinching, etc.

Like anything, you really need to use it in order to get really familiar with it. One trick I did find helpful: On screens where there wasn’t an appropiate gesture/action that Field Test had available, I just used no action and it still felt natural enough.

(originally published on thoughtbrain)