Given Origami Studio is built and used by designers at Facebook, you might assume this must be a great tool. And you'd be right. There's a wonderful amount of features with Origami, including adding rules and logic to your interactions. How many times have you wanted a button to display or behave differently because of something else? There's an opportunity to create a true-to-form prototype with Origami, but it is very technical and requires some learning. This tool is perfect for developers and designers working together.
Prototyping is an integral part of the design process, as it lets you and your team review concepts and share feedback in the early stages of a project. By creating an interactive mockup of a website or mobile app, you are able to identify any shortcomings in the flow and usability of your design before investing too much time or money into development.
While every designer has a unique set of needs for their mockups, each of the tools below offers the functionality and flexibility required to create highly interactive concepts without a single line of code. Hopefully, after reading through our list, you’ll find the perfect tool to test out your web and mobile designs.
Origami Studio is a Facebook-owned prototyping tool that has been used to create mockups for several apps including Instagram, Messenger, and Paper. Although Origami is reserved for Mac users only, it offers the ability to preview prototypes live both on Android and iOS devices. The tool also offers designers a suite of gestures and transition animations common to mobile UI patterns—many of which are available via downloadable sample files.
Origami offers a couple of useful features for interactive prototyping, including copying anything from Sketch and pasting it as a native layer, as well as an extensive documentation library complete with forums, video tutorials, and guides. Origami Studio is useful when showing many microinteractions, since they can be visualized in high detail to show exactly how something will work.
You can quickly test out your interactive mobile prototypes directly within an iOS and Android device with the companion app, Origami Live. All you need to do is download the app from the Apple App Store and plug in your iOS device to your desktop, and voila!—you have an interactive mobile work environment. Origami’s collaborative capabilities are more limited than the other tools we mentioned, since you can only share a prototype to a person who has Origami Live on their mobile phone.
Origami is a library created by the Facebook Design team for Quartz Composer (QC), a node-based visual programming application from Apple. Origami provide sets of pre-made interactions, animations, and iOS elements.
Pros & Cons of Origami
- It is free. But you do need an Apple Developer account.
- The animation feels native.
- Visual programming tools make it designer-friendly.
Control is not convenient. Assigning value to the patch is annoying. You either need to double click on the tiny area or aim and drag on it. The latter one is actually more buggy. There is no visual clue to help you aim at the area.
Easy to get lost after a while. It is nodes based. Therefore, you will end up getting very messy lines all over the place if your prototype’s workflow is complex.
Lack of support from Apple. It hasn’t been updated by Apple since November 2011. Not sure if it is still in active development. Thus, there might be a risk you are investing your time on a demising
It is a power hog. Even running a simple prototype on my Mid 2015 MBP makes my computer’s fan spinning really hard.
Sharing is going to be difficult. You need to download Origami App and connect it to your computer via a cable to try the demo on your mobile device. You can also export a video, but then it is not interactive.
After trying it, I came to a conclusion that Origami won’t be an ideal tool if you are creating a prototype to share with a remote team. It requires them to have QC + Origami installed on the machine to open it. It is not the end of the world, but it is going to be a little bit inconvenient for your coworkers. Also, it is not the tool that you want to use to prototype a complex user journey. It is better to use it to try out small interactions.