Saturday, September 12, 2009

Product review of Balsamiq Mockups

Balsamic Review

Recently I came across Balsamiq Mockup which is a Adobe AIR based application to create mockups. I recently used it to create multiple mockups for a website that I am working on. Here is a brief review of that effort.

Here are some of the features that I really like about this tool.

  • left - top to bottom (e.g. all labels/input fields in a form
  • middle - useful for adding multiple items at the same level horizontally (e.g. a label and input textbox in a form)

Variety of elements
  • Amazing number of UI elements that can be added to mockups. They are nicely grouped into logical categories like containers, buttons, layout etc.

Customization of elements
  • Each element provides all possible kind of customization that might be needed for it.
  • I really liked the customization to move elements forward or backwards when they overlap. Very useful when using containers.

Grouping of elements
  • It is very easy to group a number of elements by just clicking the mouse and dragging it to cover multiple elements. They can now be easily moved around as a group. This makes it very easy to change their positioning

Overall it is a great tool to rapidly develop a User Interface prototype. I am in the process using it in conjuction with Napkee which builds upon Balsamiq bmml (xml output of balsamiq mockup) and generates stylized html or Adobe flex output. I think the two of them combined make a compelling case for a web developer with limited UI skills to reapidly develop UI mockups. But in itself Balsamiq is great to develop quick prototypes in an agile manner.