Book: Balsamiq Wireframes Quickstart Guide
Publisher: Packt Publishing
I was first introduced to Balsamiq while working as the Director of User Experience
for a software company in Chicago. Until that point in my career, I had been
designing user interfaces and clickable prototypes using Photoshop, handcoding
layouts in HTML and CSS, and spending a lot of time learning prototype software
like iRise and Axure.
Now, these are all great tools and should be explored fully. But, my role with this
company was different. I was working as a user-experience architect alongside a
large agile team of developers. In an environment such as this, it meant that I no
longer had the luxury of time to transform my ideas into hi-fidelity layouts and
complex clickable prototypes. Instead, I now had to work faster, more efficiently, and
deliver creative concepts that were clear and concise, but in a fraction of time. There
was simply no time to wireframe in Photoshop or code HTML, and to be honest,
Axure was just too cumbersome, personally speaking, for doing quick and dirty
designs that my development team demanded. Then, I discovered Balsamiq.
I was first introduced to Balsamiq by a developer on my team. He had been using
it to sketch rough ideas to share with his development colleagues. Of course, I was
immediately impressed. After all, developers are not known as the visual folks
on the team, as much as working with detailed, text heavy requirements, and raw
programming code. So, when I learned that a developer was already using the tool
effectively, I knew I had to learn more.
From the moment I launched Balsamiq Mockups, its value was immediately
apparent. Gone were the complicated toolbars with multiple menu options to
learn. Gone too were the long hours toiling over hi-fidelity Photoshop mockups or
tweaking handcoded HTML and CSS. With Balsamiq, I was able to design simple,
concise, and effective designs using simple graphics and in half the time! As a result,
my development team could immediately see what I wanted and could ask the right
questions early. Plus, with Balsamiq's ability to make simple, clickable prototypes, I
could impressively present my ideas to the team with ease.