Pixate, an Accel-funded Y Combinator alum, is opening the doors to its visual prototyping service today after a long private and public beta phase. When the company graduated from Y Combinator last January, it still focused mostly on allowing mobile developers to style their native applications using CSS. These days, it’s still about making the lives of mobile developers easier, but Pixate now offers a highly visual environment for building native app prototypes for iOS and Android without the need to touch any code.
“Mobile applications have moved well beyond static designs. Motion, rich interactions, and seamless transitions are the defining features of well-designed, successful modern apps,” said Paul Colton, co-founder and CEO of Pixate, in a canned statement today.
With Pixate, designers can create and test 100% native prototypes that allow them to experiment with complex interactions, gestures, animations and transitions right on the device. All of the work is done in the browser, but the prototype runs natively on the device and designers can see their updates on the devices in real-time (you can see both the iOS and Android app simultaneously).
For the time being, the team is focusing solely on building prototypes, Colton told me when I asked him about the company’s plans. “These apps are meant to be quickly iterated through to enable a full-fidelity prototype to then be presented to managers, stake holders and ultimately then passed on to engineering,” he said.
At some point in the future, though, the company will implement some form of “developer handoff” to improve the workflow from designer to the development team.
Users’s expectations for what a modern mobile app should look like have increased drastically over the last year or so. But good looks aren’t enough, the user experience also has to be up to par. Interaction designers can choose from a variety of applications, but most of them don’t offer anything akin to Pixate’s easy to use visual editor.
Access to Pixate costs $10 per user and month for the basic Personal Edition. There is also a Team Edition and an enterprise plan will launch soon.