Tool to create prototypes and test them (proposal)

  • From the comments of the Telegram group I see that this project has many tasks and a limited number of resources. Parallel to the development of the base system with UBports, we must also work on the development of applications.

    I see two large blocks:

    • Documentation to program applications with QML and JavaScript.
    • Create functional prototypes for applications so that the work of the programmers can be prioritized.

    Photoshop is usually used for prototypes. They look great on the screen but then they are complicated to program. Designers have to know the blocks that already exist in Ubuntu Touch for the application to be feasible. Another drawback is that you have to imagine how the interactions with the user are.

    For some projects I have used Fluid UI. Its advantages are:

    • You have design blocks to make prototypes.
    • Each screen has its own controls defined.
    • To move from one screen to another you can "press" a button and with an animation you move to the next screen. Visually it is as if the application responds to the pulsation.

    The main advantage is that you can validate a layout without writing any line of code. When the design is closed the programmers can start working.


    • You have to design Ubuntu Touch blocks.
    • The free version does not allow custom blocks.

    I know other free tools that allow you to make designs for Ubuntu Touch but the design can not be tested.

  • Administrators

    We should probably look for a free and open source soulution. A quick startpage-search brought me to the Pencil Project. Care to test it, @mimecar?

  • Pencil was the other alternative, and I valued it a long time ago. The advantages it has are:

    • Multiplatform and open source.
    • You can create new editable components.
    • The components are defined in XML. This facilitates the control of code in Git.


    • It is not trivial to create new components. There is documentation on the project website but it takes study time to create a component gallery.

    If you are interested in the Pencil option I can prepare a proof of concept with a couple of basic controls.

  • Administrators

    Sure, if you got the time and skills to do it, that'd be awesome! It's you call. If you think this tool could be used, i say go for it! 🙂

    Using a commercial closed source solution for this would seem a little weird to me...

  • Maybe this isn't what you want, but Ubuntu Core Apps have a history with Balsamiq. I don't think one can test designs though…

  • Hi,

    we need to be very clear on the terms when talking about UX matters.

    • Pencil is a wireframing/flowcharting tool (which I know very well and often use instead of Balsamiq).
    • Fluid UI is more of a "low-fi prototype demo" service.

    The two are not interchangeable nor synonimous.

    @Nic264 I used to work on the core apps project and still have the Balsamiq credentials stored somewhere. The tool is pretty slick (though a little slow at times) and allows for both wireframing and live-testing.

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