Software tools for creating mockups & wireframe are fun to use. For product managers such tools are like what MS-Paint is for other people. (Btw, there is difference between mockup diagrams & wireframes diagrams. Check this link – here. Wireframe < Mockup < Prototype, when measured by user experience quotient.)
I’m sure that anyone patient enough to read this, would have heard or tried using Balsamiq. It seems to be the darling of the product development community, and an example of the right way to build a product. My experience using Balsamiq also suggests the same!
Balsamiq is so easy and inviting to use. The designers have gone into great detail to plan the user experience – the subtle colours and easy to customize options. And it doesn’t end there. Balsamiq projects are very easy to share and collaborate within a team. The software is available as a downloadable and a Saas version. One of the coolest features about the product is the ability to copy designs from the downloadable to the Saas (online) version. The software uses XML to copy every little aspect and replicates the exact same on the copy. Cool!
Negatives, if any, would be that I would like to see more varieties of menu structures – an accordion control maybe?!
I was initially skeptic about using this software. I did read good reviews online, but while downloading the file I had my doubts. The user experience while using the software wasn’t great. But I had nothing much to complain too. But what surprised me was the number of different screens I could design for – Android, iPhone, iPad. I could even design for screen rotation. The learning curve with this tool was much less steep and definitely easier.
I was also happy with the options it had for exporting the designs to PDFs and images. I didn’t find any major negative in this tool. But sorry, Balsamiq was just way more cooler to use.