There are hundreds of options out there for defining UI Mockups or Wireframes as part of defining software requirements. So when we first looked at PowerStory, we thought “ok, yet another tool that is the same as the rest”. Then we looked deeper and found that PowerStory truly took a unique approach that is not just focused on creating wireframes but also solving some of the common problems with the process of defining and communicating requirements and test cases.
Awesome Tool to Create Wireframes using PowerPoint
First the basics. PowerStory creates wireframes using Microsoft powerpoint. This is very good, but there is more behind this powerful tool for software engineers, developers, UI/UX designers and analysts. Sure it creates wireframes from a rich user extensible library of UI Control shapes. We also like that it is a plugin for powerpoint because let’s face it almost everyone has and knows how to use powerpoint.
What makes PowerStory different and extremely important for your projects?
Just the wireframe creation functionality makes it useful, but what we really liked was how it helps communicate requirements more clearly and reduces the overhead of keeping your use cases, storyboards and wireframes in sync, through what they call Use Case Storyboards. It will also generate your functional test cases for your saving a tone of time and ensuring test case accuracy.
What are these “Use Case Storyboards”?
It’s actually a very simple but powerful concept of combining “use cases” and “wireframes” by attaching a wireframe to each step in a use case.
The Power Story plugin for powerpoint allows you to define the main flow and alternate flow steps of a use case, and automatically associate a normal powerpoint slide with each step. You can then drag and drop UI Control shapes from the PowerStory UI Control library onto each of the Slides to create your UI Mockup / Wireframe and help you during the UX and UI design process.
You use the use case steps editor to navigate through the flow of the user experience kind of like a “storyboard”, except only better, because you can define the alternate flows and PowerStory. You can use this navigation while authoring or also when in full presentation mode which makes it perfect for walkthroughs with your team.
The benefit of using the “Use Case Storyboard” approach?
First we love how easy it is to walkthrough a use case driven storyboard of the user interaction design (UI design) including the ability to navigate to the alternate flows in the storyboard.
In addition to making it easy to do walkthroughs, by including the alternate flows in the storyboard, we don’t waste our time duplicating the common mainflow steps across multiple storyboards, saving us a lot of time keeping these duplicated steps in sync as things change.
Here you can see a quick overview of PowerStory in action.
Or if you prefer, you can see more videos here on PowerStory’s site, if you want to see the plugin in action.
Test Case Generation Capability
We have always thought there was a lot of time wasted and errors introduced when translating requirements into test cases, and PowerStory addresses this in a “why did we not think of that” way. PowerStory will take the combination of main flow and alternate flow steps in your use case storyboard and generate a test case for each possible combination of steps. For example it would create a test case for the main flow, but also test case for each of the alternate flow and the different possible combinations of the alternate flows.
You can have these test cases exported into Microsoft Team Foundation Server as formal test cases including attached images of the UI Mockup / Wireframes associated with each step. If however you don’t use TFS you can also export the test case steps to word or excel. We like the excel option because then you can easily import these test case steps into other test management solutions.
Definitely, PowerStory is a very powerful tool that helps you during the UX / UI design process but also supports you translating the software requirements into test cases and communicating software requirements more clearly within your organization or team.
You can download a free trial of PowerStory, purchase powerpoint Author Edition from here ($89.00) or you can learn more on www.power-story.com.