What's New in Indigo Studio Version 2

Ambrose Little / Monday, September 16, 2013

Phew! You have no idea how glad I am to announce that Indigo Studio Version 2 has shipped! :) In this blog post, I'll give you an overview of what's new since V1.0.

Version 1.x Updates

Since we first launched back on 29 November 2012, the team has been hard at work doing many enhancements and, of course, bug fixes. Even though we shipped these enhancements as dot releases to V1, you can really think of them as incremental enhancements leading to the next full major version, sort of like we say we are in the 21st century, even though we are counting 2000s. :)

Here are some of the more interesting value-added updates for V1 (i.e., the "second version" ;) ):

  • Sharing to your own servers - this enables two important scenarios for Indigo users--privately sharing prototypes behind firewalls, controlling when and if your prototype is removed, and being able to "update in place" so that you don't get new URLs for each update.
  • Improved Exporting - along with more sharing options, we added more control (and a better UX) around exporting, including exporting selective parts of a project for others to work on, as well as a new "Quick Snapshot" global feature to quickly grab an image of what you are working on.
  • More Options for Preview/Run - you can now choose to run from your prototype home, the current screen's Start state, current state, and “try interaction” to start at prior state in order to quickly try the interaction you are designing.
  • New PasswordBox - adding a password input box is as easy as a drag and drop now.
  • Distribute/Space Out Elements - you can now easily evenly distribute/space out selected elements.
  • Storyboard Enhancements - we made it much easier for you to quickly bang out stories by dropping in images, and then you can simply double click to start new screens based on them, which is great for making literal sketches interactive.
  • Lots of other little tweaks, enhancements, and bug fixes, but by far, the biggest enhancement we made to V1 was the new HTML5 viewer, so you can now share and run your prototypes on any modern device. That's a big deal, and it was especially important because it paved the way for us to add even more mobile design deliciousness to Indigo.

Related Help Topics & Articles

Designing for Mobile (V2.0)

Indigo Studio Platform PickerBy far the most important addition to Indigo Studio in Version 2 is all of our new support for mobile.

Watch the Video to get a quick introduction to all the new goodies for mobile.

Target Platforms

You can now select a target platform. By default, it is "Generic," which is what was in Indigo V1. That is useful for quick sketches when you are not worried about platform yet. It can also be used for desktop OSes, and pretty much anything else.

What we are adding new are these other choices--browser and numerous mobile devices. Choosing one of these will add that target's "chrome" around your design on the design surface, but it does a lot more than that!

We call the new chrome-related stuff, the "Viewport" because it is more than just eye candy, even though that alone can be helpful to set the context. You can change the transparency of the Viewport chrome--even hide it if you find it bothers you.

The Viewport also supports orientation for mobile devices, so you can easily target one or the other for your design.

The Viewport gives you the visible frame for your target and helps define what is scrollable/pannable. If you use one of the new iOS targets, you will have a fixed-size viewport based on those device sizes; however, if you use Browser or one of the Generic devices, you can specify the target Viewport size (making it easy to target the many Android, Windows, and other devices out on the market).

Once you set your Viewport size, you can then drag the canvas (the white bit ;) ) outside of the viewport to enable scrolling/panning for that target. Once you do that, you can literally drag the Viewport itself to specify what you want to be visible, either initially or in response to an interaction.

Now when you Preview/Run or Share your targeted prototypes, we will intelligently display the target viewport in the browser. For instance, if you are viewing a phone prototype on your desktop browser, we will place the prototype inside the phone chrome, which helps give a closer-to-real experience for those prototypes even in a browser. But when you run the same prototype on an actual phone, we hide that chrome--so it's just like it's running on that device.

So you can see that just the chrome/Viewport itself gives you a good bit of new, useful capabilities for targeting mobile devices.

Related Help Topics:

New Touch Gestures

Indigo Studio Touch Gestures

Of course, supporting targeting mobile platforms makes a lot more sense when you can target touch gestures on those platforms. When you target a mobile platform with V2, Indigo will intelligently offer touch-specific gestures for your prototypes. These gestures can be emulated when viewing the prototypes in a desktop browser as well (e.g., click and quickly drag for swipe), but obviously they work best on the devices! :) Plus, for directional gestures like swipe, you can choose the direction and create specific interactions based on swiping in different directions.

Screen-to-Screen Transitions

Indigo Studio Screen-to-Screen Transitions

If you tried to create mobile prototypes in Version 1 of Indigo, you had to simulate screen-to-screen transitions using state-based animations. You can still do that, of course, but the new built-in screen-to-screen transitions make prototyping common mobile transitions so much easier. And let's face it, you couldn't do "Flip" in V1, but you can now!

As with swipe interactions, you can also define directions for applicable transitions.

You can see some of these touch gestures and transitions in action in our new Expense Tracker sample!

Built-in iOS Support

Indigo Studio iOS Controls

Even though this is one "bullet point" in the new for V2 list, it is a really big one! That's because we don't just give you pretty pictures, we give you interactive controls, over 30 new iOS controls, over 15 new iOS icons, special support for targeting iOS, and a lot of nifty quick-drop positioning helps for the common elements to really speed up iOS prototyping.

The tab bar gives you real tabs that work, as do the Page and Segmented Tabs controls. The Picker and Date Picker look real and work real, both in the browser and on device. The new Content List, Icon List, and List build on top of our awesome Repeater to make it super fast to design common iOS item list layouts. The buttons, badges, icon buttons, and so on all have good defaults but can with a simple selection be changed to look like common iOS variants. Switching between the common color themes is a simple click of a button. And yes, we will be adding iOS 7 support. ;)

You can see this is much more than a simple set of stencils or templates, and we hope you will find that it dramatically speeds up your ability to sketch iOS prototypes in no time!

Run Like an App

On iOS, if you add your Indigo prototype to your Home screen on your iDevice, we put the special sweetness in place so that when you open it from there, it hides the browser chrome and behaves more like an app, which is a great way to test with a feel closer to native, if that is what you are designing for.

Export to PDF (V2.0)

Export to PDF in Indigo Studio

A much requested feature has been the ability to export Indigo prototypes directly to PDF. In Version 2, we add that. The tricky part is how to convert an interactive, multiple-path/branch prototype into a serial page-by-page document format--and we do that for you! Indigo Studio analyzes your screen state flows and will provide a flow-by-flow breakdown in the exported document. And because states are automatically named based on user interactions, in many cases, this should be understandable. It can make walking people through specific paths easier. And while storyboards give you much more control to walk people through, this is automatic! :)

In terms of annotating, we support the optional inclusion of our built-in annotation tools (notes, arrows, and callout numbers). This has the added benefit that the notes you add are (optionally) visible both in the running prototype as well as in the exported document--so you don't have to repeat yourself.

Related Help Topic: Exporting Designs to PDF

Indigo Subscriptions & the Third Version

Version 2.0 is still just the beginning for Indigo. We are already hard at work on new, important goodies that we will be shipping over time, both as 2.x updates and, eventually, Version 3 itself. If you are curious what we'll be working on, our User Voice forums are a good indicator. We are working on what you, our customers, tell us is important to you--so go there and vote, if you haven't already, to let us know what you think we should do next.

With Version 2.0, we go from our introductory free Indigo Studio Version 1 to our paid, subscription-based versions. Our subscriptions are paid yearly, and included in them, you get all minor and major version updates within your subscription year, plus standard support. In addition, unlike some software subscriptions, you get to keep whatever version of Indigo you have licensed at the end of your subscription period.

As we have said since the beginning, Version 1 is free forever--you are under no obligation to upgrade and can keep it as long as you want. However, hopefully you see above both how much goodness we add from version to version, and you are guaranteed both what is in V2.0 today as well as any updates throughout the year of your subscription. Plus, Version 1 users get a huge introductory discount--just watch your inboxes or Check for Updates in Indigo itself for more info on that! Don't wait--it's a limited time offer!

Thanks, and enjoy Version 2--you can try it free for 30 days!