Mobile App Visualization Tool Keeps Development Teams Synchronized

Kony Inc. announced an upcoming Kony Visualizer 2.0 designed to streamline the enterprise mobile app development lifecycle with a cloud-based, collaborative, codeless design prototyping tool that keeps teams of business stakeholders, developers and designers on the same wavelength throughout a project.

The company said the visualizer will address the disconnect between what a business stakeholder asks for in a new mobile app UX and the final product that developers eventually deliver.

Using widgets, libraries, dynamic layouts and a WYSIWYG app canvas, teams can collaborate on the UI and UX of cross-platform apps built for phones or tablets running iOS, Android or Windows, along with mobile Web apps.

"Developers, designers and business users need a means to rapidly prototype native and Web applications, have them quickly previewed by all stakeholders on actual mobile devices, and enable stakeholders to provide real-time feedback from when the application is created to when it is deployed," the company quoted 451 Research analyst Chris Marsh as saying. "Essentially, enterprises need a compressed lifecycle where at all stages the stakeholders are as close during pre-production to what the end users will themselves ultimately experience."

After click-through preview apps are created without manual coding, they can be published to the cloud-based service so everyone can view and experience them on different devices and give instant feedback, providing a rapid iterative process that reduces the time needed for design and testing, the company said.

The no-code prototype design tool.
[Click on image for larger view.] The no-code prototype design tool. (source: Kony Inc.)

The app prototyping tools allow for actions such as form navigation; manipulation of widget and style properties; animated transformation, scaling and opacity; and exposure of native capabilities and devices, such as e-mail and cameras.

Team members can use the Kony App Preview app -- available for download from the iTunes or Google Play stores -- to publish apps to the cloud for sharing across different users and devices, with annotated explanatory notes that are automatically synced with the visualizer

"The challenge with the current app development process is a lack of mobile-first design tools that enable users to build cross-platform, multi-edge user experience for phones, tablets, watches and other newer device form factors," Kony said in a statement. "In today's silo'ed business environment, each team of app designers tend to use different tools and capabilities to create static assets that are usually not translated well in the development process. This approach to app design and development creates inefficiencies and misrepresentation of the business use cases, due to the various hand-offs that take place at every stage in the software development lifecycle."

The tool also generates the code used to create a UX, which can be re-used for future projects, eliminating the common practice of throwing away prototypes after they're built, the company said.

While the current visualizer is available now, Kony Visualizer 2.0 will be issued in limited release next month. No pricing information was given by Kony, which offers a 90-day trial.

The company, which earlier this month was named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADP), also offers other mobile app development products. These include: Kony Studio for multi-channel development; Kony Management, an enterprise mobility management (EMM) tool for handling apps, devices and content; and Kony MobileFabric, an enterprise cloud infrastructure providing back-end services for mobile apps.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.