Overall Satisfaction with Balsamiq
UX designers use it at their discretion depending on the situation and need of the project. Sometimes designers opt for more visually stimulating tools. However, I use and encourage the use of Balsamiq to put together a basic design solution to communicate with engineering and product team members. I think having a quick way to wireframe without the "noise" of colors and highly polished design elements is important to starting a conversation.
- Balsamiq is quick. You can put an idea down in the tool very fast and not have to focus too much on detail.
- Balsamiq allows me to start a conversation with my team members. I can show them the general idea and get feedback and then make rapid changes.
- The use of symbols, as implemented a few years ago in Balsamiq has made it a better tool and even faster to use.
- Balsamiq shows the workflow of a process very easily. I think it's the best tool for UX and IA work, as it does not force me to put in UI element details. I can always work on that later, while development of the interaction and structure of the interface is underway.
- If I place a symbol in a page, then edit one part of it (like a bit of text) the symbol does not sync properly any longer. I understand that I've made an update and broken the link, but I'd like it to link to individual elements rather than the whole symbol so that I can edit text but still get general updates to the symbol that are made.
- I think that being able to use Balsamiq saves UX time and gives us opportunity to work on more projects.
- Adobe Illustraor, Adobe Photoshop and Axure
I think the learning curve for all of the other tools is much greater than that of Balsamiq. PhotoShop, I think, is a poor tool for UX, but is often used by members of my team for its overall prevalence in their past education (many graphics folks). I have found that Illustrator is better in UX, as its layout capabilities are more robust. However, neither of these tools are optimized for linking and showing interaction without the use of a third tool like Acrobat hotspotting or InVision. Axure is good, but the learning curve usually leads me to fall back to Balsamiq with my teams.
Balsamiq is definitely used on a case-by-case basis by my team. I will use it when:
- My development team has worked with UX a lot and is very in tune to our visual language--when they just don't need as many details to pull off the design properly
- I need a quick design to communicate an issue or solution
- For internal tools, where the overall UI is going to be less important than the interaction
- I need to communicate to customers who are not very knowledgeable of UX or its processes
- My development team needs a lot of guidance and detail
- A full UI layout with colors, styles, measurements, etc. us required