I recently gave a presentation on building mobile app prototypes without coding. This came from my own experience of fully prototyping the SpotOn mobile app without writing a line of code. The benefit of it was immediately apparent when all the stakeholders could touch and play with what seemed to be the real app. Having something that could run on the phone is so much better than looking at screenshots on the computer or looking at wireframes or documentation.
Why is this a better approach? For one this brings a whole new meaning to rapid prototyping. Being able to eliminate what used to be a key player in the iteration loop (the developer) made developing the app so much faster. I would screen the screens, load them up in a prototyping tool, start clicking around, find problems, immediately fix them and retouch the screenshots, rinse and repeat.
Another benefit is that there are so many people who have skills and ideas who cannot code. Now they too can start building their ideas and proving their concepts rather than just talking about it. Having something that is clickable on the phone is priceless compared to having sketches on a napkin or even a powerpoint presentation.
What do you need to do this? My current favorite tool of choice is this brand new app called FieldTest. Load this URL https://go.fieldtestapp.com/13zlx82 on your phone. You can click around some of the buttons to get an idea of how the app works. Keep in mind no code was actually written. I uploaded a bunch of screenshots to the tool and wired it all together using their user interface. I can then send people this link and have them open it on their phones. They can click around and get a sense of how the app will work.
I strongly encourage designers to try this approach as it will really improve their workflow.
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