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Think Stick! – Tool Box : Balsamiq — post by Perfect Tuna

Design, Technology, Innovation and Being a Stick!

Tool Box : Balsamiq — post by Perfect Tuna


11.21.08 Posted in Tool, UI by

I tried out this tool after reading Samantha LeVan’s post.  It’s super fast and all the alignment just happens. $79 is totally worth the money.  I plan to write my own review post on the tool soon.

I’m always looking for new ways to sketch and wireframe my GUI ideas, searching for something quicker than hand drawing and less refined than Visio and Illustrator. My rule for the perfect tool is that it has to be super fast to learn and quick to produce results.

Googling wireframing tools, I came across Balsamiq’s website. What captured my attention was the fun appearance of the GUI and the statement that “life’s too short for bad software”. That’s a pretty bold statement to make so I had to try this tool out immediately. Super psyched that I could run it on both my work PC and my home Mac, I installed it and had it running within minutes.

I fell in love with this software immediately.

Why Balsamic Mockups is fantastic:

  1. It doesn’t require much learning time. Drag-and-drop interactions are intuitive and consistent.
  2. Work feels fun. I felt like I was sketching ideas and playing, rather than feeling like tasks are tedious and repetitive. The grunt work is done for me.
  3. The primary GUI widgets are included. Containers for both web and software applications are included.
  4. The elements are sketchy. In this I mean my wireframes really do look malleable and editable. It is clear that at this stage, a project can be critiqued and changed easily. This is sometimes hard to communicate with more refined wireframes and mockups. The focus is on the layout, not the visual design.
  5. Having all the widgets in front of me helped drive me to some creative solutions my first try. Interaction methods I hadn’t considered were sitting right in front of my eyes inspiring innovative solutions.

I believe my biggest reason for supporting Balsamiq’s software is that it feels like a tool designed for users. As a usability analyst, I am a firm believer that software must be designed based on research and this tool feels like a company invested in user research. I see this in the little details – the notebook background that gives a sense of drawing in a sketch pad and the awareness of the common GUI elements that designers are looking for.

Of course, there’s always the one big block to many designers looking for a new application – cost. This one’s really reasonable, just $79. There’s no excuse not to try it as the demo is free. I honestly believe you’ll be hooked if you just try it once.

Posted bySamantha LeVan


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