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About Facebook’s Origami Studio

Posted by KingEclient on 21 February, 2017

We are all fully aware of the popularity and rapid growth of Facebook in recent years. Facebook’s success is due to its deep commitment to new technologies, focusing its improvement on its users, and having a team of professionals behind it. The design team is an important part of this success. In addition to creating, designing, and testing their tools for the popular social network, they have shared them with the rest of us so we can make use of them and get more pleasure out of doing our job.

Origami was launched in October 2016 as a native app for macOs. At KingEclient we had spent months testing out and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of the competition’s tools for prototyping and microinteractions. The system we had used most was Axure due to the complexity it allowed us, but we were looking for a tool to create interactions in native apps, a tool which made them look as if they had been programmed.

We had tried Principle, Flinto, Framer.js, etc, which are all very powerful tools, but they weren’t exactly what we were looking for. The day we decided to try Origami we found out it was not going to be easy. It is based on Quartz Composer, Apple’s visual programming system and used concepts that were new to us along with certain rough elements of programming. But when the designers noticed that there were also layers, they knew that all was not lost.


Objectives achieved with Origami

Within one day Origami enabled us to place elements on a mobile screen, interact with them, create interaction chains, use the mobile camera in our prototype, activate vibration and touch functions whenever we wanted to, and even simulate the 3D touch itself. It was really great, a brand new world for making prototypes. In fact it is in apps that its strength really lies.

Origami focuses on interactions which can be implemented in iOS and Android. This may seem obvious, but we wanted to make absolutely sure that it could create interactions which were entirely workable and would not create problems for our programmers. It was really important to see that the application would allow us to cover many more native elements than the rest of the tools and that the microinteractions could be really complex.

The team has now been able to create interactions and browsing systems with greater potential than we have seen in any other app, and we have been able to do so extremely rapidly. The learning curve is steeper than average, especially at the outset, but once you have learnt how the tool works, it is simply a question of having your idea for the interaction and using Origami to create a rapid prototype.

We love it when the great design teams share this kind of tool with us. The tools emerge as internal responses to the need to improve work flow, but in the long run they are shared for the benefit of all. We have seen this a lot recently, another example being Lottie from the Airbnb team. Origami is free and we thoroughly recommend experimenting with it and discovering its full potential.

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