Balsamiq is a simple yet amazing tool for building User Interface sketches (known as wireframes) to effectively materialize your vision about a desktop, web or mobile product/feature and start gathering initial feedback.
Balsamiq tries to replicate the experience of sketching on a notepad and it does it very well. Since it is digital you can build scketches much more efficiently that on paper and feel comfortable that what you are producing will look good and be easy to understand. Some people still prefer drawing their own sketches on paper but that’s not for me.
Balsamiq offers a wide variety of UI components that you drag and drop into your wireframes and configure to meet your needs. And if you think you are missing some components, you can create your own ones or go to Mockups to Go and browse a very extensive collection of UI components created by their active user community. For example, Balsamiq includes by default some UI components for iPhone but not for Android. You could download this Android 4 Balsamiq library and add it to your list of available UI components. The option to extend the list of available components and share them with others through the online community is a very distinctive feature of Balsamiq.
With Balsamiq you can also add basic interactivity for navigating from one wireframe to another. It is not possible to add interactivity or animation within one wireframe and that is not the goal of the tool since the idea is to keep it simple.
Balsamiq offers the wireframing tool in 3 different ways:
- Balsamiq Mockups
A desktop tool that you have to download and install on your computer. You will only pay a one-time license fee of $89 at the time of this writing that will give you access to all future versions at no charge.
A web application that offers mostly the same feature set as the desktop version but allows you to collaborate with other users. There are different monthly plans starting at $12 based on the number of active projects. All plans offer unlimited users and wireframes. Note: A project is a collection of wireframes.
- Plugin for Confuence, Jira or Google Drive
Allows you to create new wireframes directly from those applications in your browser and store them as files inside them. The pricing depends on the type of plugin.
I have used both the desktop and the web application. If you are working alone go for the desktop one but if you work in a team or you want to gather feedback online I suggest you go for myBalsamiq.
Wireframes are a very powerful communication tool to help others understand what you want to build and start collecting feedback immediately.
Start building wireframes with Balsamiq now and see how you will level up your game in a few days.