It wasn’t too long ago that I heard about using Keynote as a way to rapidly prototype mobile interactions. My first thought, of course, was although that sounds interesting, it can’t really be serious? I had some horrible memories of Powerpoint stuck in my head, so I decided to dig in further.
It just so happens that Keynote is a remarkably adept tool for this purpose, and very easy to learn. I used it several times while working on a redesign of Target’s Android app. It took me less than a day to become proficient enough to rapidly execute different interaction scenarios. It was that easy, and I still haven’t learned the full benefits it can offer.
The first thing I did was surf over to Keynotopia, a website dedicated to using Keynote for mobile prototyping, and bought their Android template. I highly recommend spending some time at the site learning more.
Then, I read up some on how to use the incredibly easy “Magic Move” function. Take one slide, duplicate it, and then assign “Magic Move” to it. On the duplicated slide, just move things to the new locations they should appear in, and voilla – it’d done just like the magic they call it. I haven’t even learned how to effectively use the build-in and build-out transitions, which bring even greater control to the process.
I also read up on how others in the design community were leveraging Keynote, and found a great post from Luke W – start with a template graphic of the phone being used, with the screen area transparent, so that objects can move in and out of screen (similar to off-canvas), and you too can have pretty vivid mobile interactions scenarios to test out in no time.
It’s well worth the minimal effort involved in getting up and running, and the payback is awesome. Instead of waiting however long it might take a development team to reproduce your interaction scenario on a usable test build of an app, you can kick out all or part of the scenario in Keynote in a matter of hours, and have something to bounce off of users and stakeholders quickly. This provides an opportunity to gain valuable insight into the details of how an interaction will really behave, tends to bring the edge cases out of the woodwork, and can save everyone significant time in the end. Oh yeah, and it’s only $20 bucks – so happy prototyping!