How Long Should It Take To Learn Axure?

Posted By Debbie on Jun 23, 2015 in Business


We train people on Axure. We are one of the few trainers recommended by Axure on the planet! And proud of it.

There are other trainers, recommended or not. Sometimes we take a look at their lesson plans… and we’re always surprised by them.

It looks like trainers believe they must teach you every key thing Axure can do in one day. Given how much Axure can do, this is likely to cover too much too narrowly in too short a time.

Typically these curricula claim that in one day, you’re going to learn the environment, masters, dynamic panels, forms, variables, conditions, Axure “logic,” widget libraries, adaptive views, and Repeaters. Can that really be done? If you’re coming from a development background, you might be able to learn nearly all of Axure in one day.

Most of the people I’ve trained the past few years aren’t developers.

Why not? Because developers figure out Axure well on their own and generally need little training. The people who come to me for training were sometimes confused by Axure the moment they opened it. They don’t have a programming background. They often have art backgrounds and haven’t had to think of things in terms of logic or processes where the order of things matters.

I’m not saying that all art school people have a hard time with Axure. Some fall into it easily! Many don’t, and that’s OK; it’s why we’re here.

We teach you how to think like a programmer and stay a designer.

We’ve broken core Axure training into eight lessons that take 1.5 – 2 hours each. We start with understanding the software environment (menus, panes, toolbars). We fully cover masters and Widget and Page Styles, which are life savers. We then go into forms using standard Axure widgets and forms when you’ve custom designed the elements.

Not only is that a great lesson for people who like higher fidelity prototypes but it’s also a core skill that you’re going to use in many of our following lessons. Once you can build a custom droplist from scratch, you’re on your way to nav menus, mega menus, accordions, and other standard elements that use similar approaches.

We teach progressive disclosure, setting text, beginner-level variables, and iFrames. We hit adaptive views at the end but don’t go too deeply into prototyping for mobile. That and other lessons like having Axure do math and building “listeners” (automatically running processes) we consider to be add-ons for students after they’re comfy with the foundation lessons.

Nothing gets the quickie version when we teach it. Students are taught how to think out, step by step, each interaction they want to build. Rather than show you, “Here’s how to prototype a website,” we teach skills and approaches so that you can learn to make Axure do whatever you want.

That means we take you from newbie to intermediate in two full days.

That’s 16 hours including breaks. Our video version of the same course runs over 7 hours (but there are no breaks and I move a bit more quickly on the assumption you will pause or re-watch if you need to). That’s also without time to stop and help troubleshoot people’s common mistakes.

That gets you up to a confident intermediate prototyper. 16 hours. And then you need to use those skills and practice! Please!

We don’t teach you Repeaters unless you have a note from your doctor.

Repeaters are neato and powerful. They allow you to build “real” data into Axure (think mini Excel spreadsheet with text and/or images) that you can then manipulate. Pretty neat, right?

And also often unnecessary. We used it for an eCommerce prototype because the client insisted that when someone clicked “Add To Cart,” the EXACT item they chose showed up “for real” in the shopping cart. Would the prototype have been “worse” or harder to test if Lorem Ipsum showed up in the shopping cart?

Someone emailed us recently thinking he needed to learn Repeaters because he was going to have rows of data added, edited, and removed from an interface. Well, you could learn Repeaters but they’re rather complicated. Can this just be faked out? Can you have adding a row show a hidden row? Deleting that row removes it and moves the ones underneath up? And you only build certain rows to delete so that the prototype always looking like it’s perfect?

It will be faster and less hassle to build the “fake version.” It might even be fine for user testing. Consider saving your time and “faking” it instead of building Repeaters. Repeaters aren’t the wrong choice. They’re just a tough thing to learn for most people.

I tell students it will take you a half day to wrap your head around Repeaters and then most of the week to start to feel like you get them. I once taught them to a really sharp UX guy, who seemed to pick it up well. At the end of the week, I asked how it went. He said it took him a half day to wrap his head around it and most of the week to just get it to start to work they way he wanted.

Which means I have NO idea how people are teaching it fully as a small section of a full day workshop.

When choosing an Axure trainer, consider the background and comfort of students.

Are your students all developers? Then nearly any trainer will do. 🙂

Are your students artists, visual designers, UX practitioners, managers, business analysts, or product managers? You probably will want to look at Axure training that doesn’t try to pack it all in a day. You may think you are saving time and money on a one-day bootcamp or workshop. Ultimately, the real measurement of that is how much your students learn and how independent they feel after that class.

Our workshops are two full days. We also offer private training on your site or over the internet. Private training is customized to who your team is, what they need to know, and the pace at which they go.

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