Better Defaults for Axure, a Widget Library

Axure Better Defaults Screenshot

About a month ago, the folks at Zurb published a nice article about sketching wireframes.  I went ahead and purchased some new sketching items including a nice thick sharpie and a cool gray “dropshadow” pen.

The difference in my sketches is incredible.  Zurb hits the nail on the head, saying, “Although we advocate keeping things as simple as possible, presentation is everything.”  I wholeheartedly agree.  While it’s important to stay in a sketchy, mostly grayscale environment while doing early prototyping, there is nothing wrong with keeping your deliverables professional looking.

In that sense, and through deep offense at the default White, Black, and Blue widgets offered with Axure, I’ve created a small library of widgets that are just a little more aesthetic.

This is for version 5.5 and above.  Put the file in your “My Documents\My Axure RP Libraries\” folder.
Download the Widget Library

  • http://www.zurb.com Mark Otto

    Awesome, Loren! Glad to read that you went out and got a Sharpie and gray accent marker for those sketches. It really can make all the difference when you’re conceptualizing things on paper. Your Azure stencils look great, too.

    We show our sketches to clients sometimes, too—mostly in rapid sprints. Otherwise, sketches are to rough out ideas before we jump into wireframing (in OmniGraffle).

  • John

    Thanks for helping me work smarter. Like the buttons and love the notifications. I’m sure those headings will come in handy to :)

    Cheers.

  • http://www.thedealersforum.com John

    we are a startup. i am experimenting with different prototyping tools. i was interested in your widget library. i downloaded the zip file to the My Axure RP Libraries folder,but it does not load properly. i do not see a file with a .rplib extension, so how does it load? thanks for your help.

  • http://acleandesign.com Loren

    Hi John,

    Some browsers rename this file to a .zip instead of an .rplib. It should work if you download it using Firefox for Windows. Let me know if that doesn’t and I’ll try to track it down further!

    Thanks,
    Loren

  • Matt M

    As much as it can look polished, I tend to avoid using colors because in some situations with some clients, the conversation can be focused on the aesthetic rather than the solution, i.e. “I love the colour of the Cancel button” or “that blue cancel button isn’t on brand…” rather than “why is there a cancel button”.

  • http://acleandesign.com Loren

    Matt,

    I definitely agree that colors should be minimized – you always want to have your feedback at the right level. Grayscale should be the default for almost everything. However, color can, and in my opinion, should, be used sparingly and accurately even in sketchy prototypes. It is a way to draw the user’s eye where you want it, for instance with a large orange call-to-action button or a red error.

    Basically, anything where an interaction can be aided with a selective use of color, especially for directing attention, gets a color. Everything else is grayscale.

    Every designer has a unique style, and this is what has worked for me. It has improved my usability test results to boot.

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  • http://scrumclub.org Amanda

    Now I wish I could buy corporate website templates with these widgets.

  • http://pierrefoucart.com Pierre Foucart

    You may need to save the files with the latest version of Axure because it cannot be open with the Mac version.

  • http://acleandesign.com Loren

    @Pierre Thanks for the heads up, I’ll look into it.

  • http://www.dontblockthebox.nl Thijs van Schadewijk

    @Pierre I experienced that too. The problem is that when you double-click on the zip on the Mac it is unpacking the outside zip as well as the .rplib inside of the zip. Axure expects the .rplib to be compressed.

    To work around this, I used StuffIt Expander to unpack the zip (right click Open With) and that extracted the .rplib intact.

    Thanks to Victor from Axure support who sent me this tip.

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  • Mat

    @Thijs: Thanks for the tip but it didn’t work even I clicked right and used Stufflt Expander… However, I found the solution by using this software: http://zipeg.en.softonic.com/mac.

    @Loren: thanks for this awesome work.

  • http://uxthing.posterous.com/ James

    @this @Mat the Stuffit solution worked for me – I then used the load library… option inside an open maxure, and it loaded. And looks great!

  • http://acleandesign.com Loren

    Great feedback guys, thanks. I use The Unarchiver for decompressing these things, and it works great. I’ll be looking more into delivering the libraries with more clarity as the Mac version becomes more popular.

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  • yvonne

    Thanks for share~~~

  • Kivi Shapiro

    If you’re just coming to this site now, you may be interested in Loren’s new version (v2) of the library, at

    http://www.acleandesign.com/2010/04/axure-better-defaults-library-v2/

  • http://acleandesign.com Loren

    @Kivi Thanks for doing some housekeeping :) This page also links to the new version (sneaky, sneaky)

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  • UXdesigner

    thanks! Just downloaded these. Was looking for tabs, and these look sleek.

  • http://www.numero2.de torsten

    thanx! That’s not only better default, that’s better prototyping! Thanx again. If you’ll send me an 125×125 ad i will support your site a month on a very frequented website from my own.

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  • Fiona

    Thanks a lot~~! It’s very useful~~!

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  • R Cakal

    Hi  there,

    i am i beginner, and thanks to you poeple and with patient i will be a master.

    Regards..
    Recep Cakal

  • dima

    Most usefull and well-designed library!

  • tonicboy

    Thanks for the great library. My only complaint is that all items have a default label (e.g. “paragraph” or “radio”0. Not only is the default label completely useless, but now that Axure has a feature to hide unlabelled widgets, the interactions panel is now littered with ueslessly named widgets.

  • http://twitter.com/borryshasian Borrys Hasian

    Hey Loren, thanks so much for this!
    Where’s the share and donate button?? :)

  • xmy870129

    I wanna know that as well..

  • xmy870129

    really?

  • Роман Коджесян

    Thanks so much!