the title might be a bit misleading. This is no big rant about the shaming state of balsamiq, I just want to get in touch with you. Right now I am facing problems balsamiq can’t solve. Have to do a presentation and prototype a menu with existing graphics (ok so far), sounds (yikes) and animations (yikes²). Management will look at it and they need to feel, static is no option.
It looks like power point is the right tool for me this time, but what it gives me in animations and sound, it takes in good usability (you know the champion in this field ). I did a lot of research and stumbled upon a lot of your competitors, some browser based, some Mac only, one that looked really interesting (Adobe Edge) but unfortunately discontinued. Now two things:
1.) What are YOU working on right now? Are animations between slides, animations in slides and sounds on the horizon?
2.) Try to get outta there. In a couple of lists balsamiq was not even mentioned. The tool is, in my opinion, really really good, works very well and is in 90% of the cases the solution to my needs. You can’t imagine what I managed to do with this tool so far. Somewhat interactive portfolios (pdfs with buttons), game mockups, App UIs, mindmaps etc.
imho I am glad that balsamiq is balsamiq and provides Wireframes and not Mockups (although it is stated wrong from balsamiq itself).
It forces you to take care of the Information Architecture and not fancy images and animations. In my opinion this is also important, but in a second step.
If balsamiq would provides such functionality as axure or more software which focus on “production like results”, I would be sad
Always good to hear your thoughts, hope things are well for both of you.
Trying to balance between things that should or shouldn’t be implemented always brings some good discussions but we try to keep the tool as easy to use as possible since it is meant to be a starter tool.
1.) Right now, our main focus is on making our app native on all platforms, and we’re getting close to the private beta for the new web version!
More interaction is not on the roadmap for now, but I added both requests (for animations and sounds) in our internal tracker. We want to consider every request, as always, and measure if this becomes something a lot of users want to see.
2.) Thanks for sharing that, glad to hear that Mockups allows you to achieve most of your needs.
Thanks again for sharing your opinions and needs!
Would taking screenshots from Balsamiq and dumping them into PowerPoint suffice?
The only animations I can think of requesting are comboboxes that open/close when clicked, but for the moment I just place closed ones in the interface, then an open copy of all comboboxes to the right side of the spec.
Going Native, which I hope to mean extracting Balsamiq from dependency on Adobe Air would be a great achievement, as I think it is causing performance issues for my larger / complex layouts. It would be really interesting to hear more about what archeture you folks decided on to accomplish this, as there are so many competing strategies.
Hi @sdwarwick! We fully rebuilt the app from the ground up, with the goal of making it performant and feel native on all platforms, while reusing as much of the codebase as possible.
On the web, both core and native layers run in JS, of course. We use a bunch of React for the app itself and we use SVG to render the wireframes.
It’s coming along really nicely, let us know if you’d like to be included in the private beta, which should start in a few weeks.
This is great… It seems like lots of folks are using this kind of strategy these days. (Rather than using something cross-platform like JAVA or Go as a core even though they may be higher performance) . I believe that Pinegrow is doing something similar. Would look forward to being part of the beta.
I rather agree with both @ArcticMe and @heringsfilet!
I love the simplicity of Balsamiq, but I do find I’m reaching its limitations.
If more support for interactive prototypes could be added without losing the great usability that would be excellent.
- Are there any plans to include nested symbols in the near future?
I think this would cover a lot of the interaction I want to show.
A typical situation where I would use this:
I usually have a large number of mockups with a common toolbar in all of them. It would like to be able to click buttons on the toolbar and have them open menus (which I would then in turn link to other mockups) over the top of the current mockup, so that I wouldn’t have to replicate lots of similar mockups to create a fully interactive prototype.
- I would love to be able to specify more of the styling of the mockups. At the moment I don’t have another tool to take a prototype to that next step of looking realistic. I’ve had a play with a few trial versions of other software that probably do what I want, but in the last 18 months-ish that I’ve been using Balsamiq I haven’t been able to really justify asking for the time or budget for a new tool as I can do most of what I need in Balsamiq. So at the moment that next step is done directly in software - it would be really great if I could just quickly try out different styling options on my existing mockups to check how they work on all screens, without having to recreate everything in another tool or actual software.
Simple options like setting defaults for text colour, colour / line style of shapes, would go a long way towards this. Essentially being able to customize the skin instead of just choosing between the two defaults would be hugely helpful.
We hear you, @kati. A lot of the stuff you are talking about is stuff that we have been talking about.
Nested symbols are definitely coming. We had hoped to have them ready by now, but they turned out to be a lot more complex than we initially thought. It’s something we are doing - it’s just going to take a bit longer.
Setting the default values of controls and text is an interesting idea that we have talked about before. I’m not sure we are ready to move forward with that yet, but I will check in with the rest of the team to see.
Interactivity continues to be hard for us because we have always envisioned the app to be a starter tool, and we build the feature set according to that vision. The more interactivity we add, the further away from the starter tool we get.
I hadn’t had a chance to chime in on this thread until now, and I just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts and suggestions. It means a lot to us that you would take time out of your day to help us make our app a little better.
Thanks for the update @Brendan that’s great news about nested symbols!
One thing I really like about using Balsamiq is that you guys always respond to suggestions and issues on here
@kati Exactly. The do a great job in every way and they always give me the impression that they are as passionate about their work as I am about the mockups I create.
- I would love to be able to increase the space I am building something in. You know the problem.
- Maybe being able to use different fonts.
- Easy animations that react in presentation mode, click for move to position 1, click at position 1 to move back. Enough to mimic opened and closed states.
I’m quoting @Brendan because of this delicious irony: Balsamiq’s philosophy of being so easy to use that beginners can pick it up immediately is what makes it the wireframing tool of choice for many seasoned UX professionals.
It’s great for performance that Balsamiq is now going native – although I will miss the smoothness of the Flex-based app
To perhaps echo the sentiments of other posters here, I have so often wished there was a bridge between Mockups and a rich, interactive prototype, or even a finished website / product. Napkee looked promising, but it never worked very well. I still have to go ‘back to the start’ after the wireframing stage.
These days, I love using FramerJS for hi-fi prototyping – although it’s not for everyone as it involves coding.
Anyway, here is my wish list for potential features / sibling products that I hope you might build:
A Mockups-style app or plugin that is focused on data visualization. In the last few years, much of my design has been focussed on data viz, which is a reflection of the market rather than of me. One of the hidden strengths of Mockups has been that it teaches users about what standard UI components are, and best practices (e.g. radio button lists stacked vertically). These learnings are required even more in the data visualization space, where few understand what the different chart types are, and how to best use them, etc. Some tools exist (e.g. Excel charts, Google Sheets) but they tend to be data-centric, rather than design-centric.
A ‘convert to HTML’ feature that creates an exact WYSIWYG replica of wireframes in native web pages, but using a series of graphics per page, rather than a single static graphic per page. A further option could be to allow the user to manipulate the web designs in various ways, e.g. to individually convert the graphical elements into native elements, but to roll back if this makes it look wonky. The final output would still be a prototype, not a polished design.
A ‘product builder’ that is 100% visually focussed, and doesn’t aim to teach the user anything about coding or coding concepts. This is hugely ambitious and somewhat of a holy grail. I have some ideas on this, but who knows if they would fly?
If you’ve read this far, thanks for indulging me
I’m more than interested in being part of the private beta. I would love to get involved in making the Windows version spot on. Please count me in!
As usual, I will gladly help Balsamiq Mockups becoming a better product by testing the native app (in the beta phase).
@MikeH We’re excited by your enthusiasm, and we’d love to get the beta of the native tools into your hands first and continue the discussion from there. We’re always open to hearing people’s feature wishes.
The web version will be the first one to go native and the other versions will follow that. I’m adding you both (@ArcticMe and @MikeH) to the list for trying out the private beta of the next Desktop version, we’ll keep you in the loop!
Can’t wait to have more news to share!
Add me to that list too, @Virgin
It’s fine that Balsamiq is intended as an amazing ‘starter tool’, but surely they don’t expect us all to recreate all our designs from scratch in some ‘prototyping tool’ when we could just keep tweaking what exists in Balsamiq.
I am also very interested in private beta testing the native Windows desktop app