Axure Library Review: Axutopia



I spent some time looking at the Axutopia Widget Library the other day.

(Disclosure: I am neither employed by or working with the folks at Axutopia. However, they did provide me with a full copy of their library for review and if you use my referral link I do get a benefit (Click here to visit Axutopia.). But don't worry. Nothing gets a good reccomendation from me unless I use everyday in my consulting work). 

Axutopia claims to offer, "The largest collection of Axure UI widgets on the planet." I'm not sure about the accuracy of the claim in terms of numerical supremacy. However, I have used a number of libraries so I think it is either accurate or very close. The Axutopia Widget Library certainly offers the widest coverage of platforms that I have ever seen with coverage of all major phone (Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows), tablet, web and OS platforms. 

More important statistics include: 

 

  • 3,000 + shapes
  • Royalty free
  • Editable text labels
  • Pixel perfect PNG groups

 

 

Apperance

I experimented with the iOS library to build a couple of prototypes. As a caveat to this, graphic art is not my core skill set. I was a psychologist, then an interaction designer/wireframer. In that regard, I am looking for something that helps me make really good looking prototypes without extensive treatment experience on my part.

Keeping that in mind, using the Axutopia library, I was able to produce quite an nice looking prototype very quickly. Granted, you may have issues with my own relatively simple art skills, but suffice to say, someone with more expertise will really soar. 

 

iPhone prototype

 

The iPhone library I explored in detail had both complete common iPhone screens (i.e. list views) as well as rich patterns (i.e. spinners and settings tables). 


Rich sample widgets

The iPhone library also had a large number of icons with alternate colour treatments (dark grey, blue and light grey). Keep in mind, there is more then just the iOS libraries. I also looked into the Android, Windows and Web 2.0 libraries. The Android and Web 2.0 libraries in particular were very well developed. 

 

Android library sample

Web 2.0 library sample

 

Organisation

The excellent organisation of the the Axutopia library really stood out to me. The widgets within each library well shaped and easy to drag and resize. As mentioned earlier, it was easy to take apart the larger widgets to get at their atomic components. The library is logically grouped into either full Axure files (.rp) or Axure Library (.rplib) so you can work with it the way you want. 

 

Conclusion

I didn't find a lot to critique with the Axutopia library. It is comprehensive, well organised and cleanly built. 

I did find that the Windows 7 library was quite small, perhaps the smallest of the lot. Granted, I don't design much in Windows 7, so I might be wrong, but I would have thought there would be more Windows 7 patterns. In contrast, the Windows mobile patterns seemed much richer somehow. 

Overall, there is a lot there. When you think about it 3,000+ widgets is nothing to frown at. More importantly, where needed, the larger groups of widgets can be de-constructed into their individual image (png) parts. This made it easy to manage different phone sizes (for the most part. More on that later). 

If I had a quibble with working with the library, it was that I originally started to build my sample tests around a small Android and iPhone 3G resolution of 320 pixels wide. For the most part, the library is built around the wider ~640 pixels width for the newer generation of smart phones.

However, Axure allows you to downscale mobile prototype when you export it using the mobile viewport tag. This way, you can test on both small and large mobiles. It isn't a big deal that the library comes in the higher resolution, as it is easy enough to solve by changing the scale factors in Axure.

Overall, at less then $100 it represents extremely good value for money. I would recommend it to anyone working extensively in Axure.

If you're keen on the library use my link and keep me in victuals Click here to visit Axutopia.

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