ProtoShare gives users the tools they need to create accurate, useful prototypes. The user can build very simple wireframes and more complex prototypes that include a number of interactive elements. The user begins by adding their main elements to the prototype. As they work, a discussion tab allows them to receive feedback and comments on the prototype. The user eventually graduates the prototype from a simple wireframe to an actual design, with color, graphics and logos. Components added to the prototype are updated automatically so the user can always view the current version. The user can also work in pop up boxes and tabs to create an accurate finished prototype. The user can also construct templates that can be retrieved and used for similar projects. External websites can be referenced and the user can upload design comps created in external graphics programs.
ProtoShare was introduced in July of 2008 by Andrew S. Mottaz and Blake Johnson as the first real time collaboration prototyping tool on the web. The application received a great deal of positive attention within its first year. Recognition included a place on the 2009 Top 50 Usable RIA list compiled by O’Reilly Media. The current version serves more than 4,000 users from 84 countries. Part of the application’s appeal comes from its history of good customer service. The few times issues occurred, users were given apologies and quick fixes to minimize disruptions.
ProtoShare.com offers every feature a user could need to put together an accurate, functional prototype. Users can collaborate with clients or team members while working on their project. The web based platform makes ProtoShare available from any computer. The drag and drop system simplifies much of the creation process while the application’s many elements (ranging from basic to interactive) offer the user a large palette of functions and design elements to choose from.
The ProtoShare user interface is stylish in a quiet way. The lightly colored menu backgrounds add a hint of flavor without distracting from the user’s progress on their wireframe. A large area is dedicated to the wireframe, as it should be, while tools and discussions are tucked to the side where they can be quickly accessed when the user needs them. The design is convenient and allows the user to work efficiently without any stumbling blocks.
A new user can create a ProtoShare account by clicking the green “See Plans and Pricing” button along the right hand side of the homepage. The user can click the red “Start Free Trial” button that corresponds with the plan they are interested in to access the registration form. The form asks for a company name, desired ProtoShare URL, name, email address, phone number and preferred payment cycle (options include monthly, quarterly or yearly). A data entry field is available for users who have a promotional code. Everyone else can jump right to the white box at the bottom of the form to confirm their agreement with the ProtoShare terms and conditions. After submitting the form, the user is advised that they should receive an activation email within a few minutes.
New users are given three membership plans to choose from. The first is an Individual plan which costs $49 per month and includes access for one editor, two reviewers per project, unlimited projects and 2 GBs of web storage. The mid-range Team plan costs $95 per month and includes access for up to two editors, six reviewers per project and up to 10 GBs of storage space. The Network plan costs $189 per month and includes access for four editors, up to 10 reviewers and 50 GBs of storage space. A Business Edition is available for large organizations and businesses however the user must contact the ProtoShare team for a custom quote.
ProtoShare.com is ideal for anyone who works with wireframes and prototypes. Website designers, development teams and others can create effective, visually appealing prototypes to share with teammates and clients. The application supports convenient interaction so everyone stays on the same page and can give their input when changes need to be made. ProtoShare can help many developers and designers save a lot of time in the planning and approval process.