Yesterday, I was introduced to this product called Balsamiq Mockups. After seeing Flash Catalyst and Microsoft Expression Blend 3 in action, I was hoping for something easier, simpler and more fun. I got all three.
Using Balsamiq required no training or anxiety. Part of the reason is the limitations (constraints) the product imposed. You couldn’t do “anything” you wanted. It didn’t have transitions and animations or other extraneous functionality. It is designed to make mockups and storyboards and that’s it. This is exactly what I need to work, so it made sense intuitively. The artwork lent itself to the task at hand. It was a consistent user experience from top to bottom. If you learn how to use one part of it, you have learned it all.
When I compare it to PowerPoint, I missed the ability to animate and drag/drop images. However, my PowerPoint designs have become TOO high fidelity lately and I really need to tone them down anyway. Balsamiq also gave me the ability to publish the output to the web. In the demo version, you couldn’t save, but I assume you could create a web storyboard with the licensed ($80) version.
$80 seems like alot for the tool. If it was $40, I think I would have already purchased it based on the hour I gave it today. I am super impressed with the vision and the artwork. I think if they add very simple animations, it would go over the line for me to adopt it.
I hope this company keeps going and extends their vision. Great work.