Adobe Proto for iOS – 1st Impressions

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Adobe’s iPad wireframing tool. Proto has been out for Android devices for a little while, and is now available for iOS.

Here is a collection of thoughts and impressions…

PRO

  • I love the Palm graffiti-esque drawing gestures. The gestures match the intended elements very well – an X for an image block for example.
  • The grid is a nice touch. I like that you can set the number of columns and the width of the gutters.

CON

  • As cool as the grid is, it will not let you set a custom pixel width for the page itself. You are forced to select from a menu of widths: Web Layout (960px), Default Layout (992px), Tablet Layout (768px), Mobile Layout (320px), and Wide Mobile (480px). If I can’t set a custom width, I would have preferred Ethan Marcotte’s set from Responsive Web Design: 1200px wide screen, 1024px iPad wide, 768px iPad portrait, 600px kindle/nook portrait, 480 iPhone landscape, 320px iPhone portrait.
  • Automatically resizing fonts are a bit annoying. Well … really annoying. If I manually set the font size, then resizing the object should not change my settings.
  • Horizontal navigation bars with forced equal spacing for each item does not work if one label is longer than the others. I either need to make the bar too big or have the label truncated in the display.
  • You cannot designate a specific page in the nav bar as the current page.
  • There is no way to align elements relative to each other.
  • To group elements you use the icon on the top tool bar, but to ungroup them you use the local menu for the selected group.
  • Elements cannot be copied from one page to the next unless you duplicate the page.

I had to stop.

Yep. Proto kinda sucks. It does not have enough features to make it anything more than a UI sketch app. If I want to sketch, I will use Paper from 53 or UI Sketcher from Box UK. For higher fidelity wireframes it’s hard to beat OmniGraffle for the iPad or my second favorite Mocking Pad from accidental fish.

Why does Adobe release software that does not have the features and functionality that creative professionals will need to the most rudimentary tasks? They have stiff competition from smaller companies that are doing astounding work.

But truth be told, all of the wireframing tools for iOS are lacking in some areas. At least with OmniGraffle I can move the same file between my iPad and my MacBook when the iPad experience is lacking.

So sorry Adobe Proto … this version of the app gets an F. I just hope you fix it soon, so I won’t feel like I have lost $10 on a needless software purchase.

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