Ben (oh no…another wall of text…[facepalm]),
I can appreciate that Balsamiq would like to avoid its UI becoming comparable to a Chinese supermarket. I also do not care too much for Balsamiq’s UI to be modelled after an advanced tool like Photoshop – there’s a giant chasm between those two tools in terms of intent/purpose. I was merely using my use-case of Photoshop’s panels to refer to the subject of being able to see some of those panels (which resemble some of the panels that can be found in Balsamiq) without them impeding on the work at hand (wich is not the case with Balsamiq 3 if you choose to ‘Show’ them instead of hiding them).
I am also much less interested in Balsamiq “adding too many options” or defaults – I would only like to see some of the panel-positioning options that were present in pre- 3 versions of the software*, retained in version 3. That’s all.
Furthermore, I think that trying to emulate the experience of tools like PowerPoint and Keynote is off-target with what most users (mostly designers & UX professionals I’d guess) will be looking for in Balsamiq. Those tools are exclusively meant for composing material for presentational purposes. And while Balsamiq is meant to carry across ideas for software and iron out UI/UX issues easily & rapidly, I am convinced that there are a lot of users/agencies/teams who are using it in more complex contexts and, consequently, deliverables.
For instance, apart from initial concepts, the company I work for uses Balsamiq to create & capture every use-case of every screen in any given project, be it a website, web-app, mobile app, etc.
The software serves this purpose extremely well, due to its ease-of-use, generic element library and among many other points, the way its symbols work.
It has allowed us to do the following with ease:
- Initially refine our ideas and concepts via BA/UX/research processes,
discussions and sketches
- Compose initial layouts in Balsamiq (obviously, in grey-scale, free of excessive use of color and styling)
- Present them to the client
- Apply any feedback from the client or test-subjects with ease (due to heavy use of symbols)
- Get sign-off on those initial layouts
- Create all instances/use-cases of all screens, helping us create a sort of ‘UI Manual’ for the dev team (still in grey-scale and Balsamiq’s native ‘rough’ styling)
- …after all that, we create only a few high-fidelity mockups of unique screens in Photoshop for styling reference (CSS/spacing specs are exported for the dev team)
So, as far as I’m concerned, you’re real competition will be closer to tools/services like UXPin (https://www.uxpin.com/), not slideshow-publishing software. Wireframes created in your software have become the bulk of the collateral of any project our company launches.
Lastly, your tool does pretty much what Bohemian Coding’s Sketch 3 does, sans all the asset-exporting and high-fidelity-output capabilities – and truth be told, people (OS X users) could use Sketch for wireframing very easily and then translate the work into polished designs…AND export all their assets/CSS in many different formats.
What I’m getting at is that for us, Balsamiq is more than a tool for briefly assembling a few ideas and you are selling yourself short if you dismiss small requests like mine (not that you have) because of a philosophy that induces the notion that PowerPoint and Keynote need another cousin.
If you’ve made it to this little line of text at the end, I commend you and thank you for reading. I apologize for the colossal wall of text.