Software Review: Balsamiq Mockups

I first read about Balsamiq Mockups a few weeks ago on StackOverflow.

In general I agree with what Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky said about the product on their podcast (IT Conversations: Episode 47). It really is a simple mockup tool that isn’t about being exact and precise, but rather sketchy and fast so you can get your idea down quickly. It makes starting something easy and fast, so you can move on to what’s next.

What I like:

  • Simple to use. No need for instructions. Just use and play. If you are familiar with basic design and computer usage, you can start using this product.
  • Tabs to handle multiple screen mockups.
    • Copy & Paste between Tabs makes reproduction simple.
    • Ctrl+Tab to move between Tabs.
  • Project files (*.bmml extensions)
  • Resizing controls is really simple.

What I’d like to see in future versions:

  • Mouse wheel integration for vertical and horizontal scrolling. To be used in the UI Library shortcut icons section. I simply do not like to click and drag the scroller! Although I’m not sure if this is possible on Adobe Air.
  • Make the Quick Add search for the UI library textbox bigger. Once I’m more familiar with the names of the UI controls, I’d like to type and search for them right away, rather than drag and drop. Right now it’s so small and shoved way on the upper left where it’s completely inconvenient to get to.

Overall, I like the product. I’m a software developer that really cares about usability and design. This isn’t as pimped up as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Visio, but it’s not meant to be. Those products would be overkill when you want to sketch a basic workflow and layout out. Good job on a nice product!

See also