Simple, Quick, and Easy Wireframing
Updated December 01, 2016

Simple, Quick, and Easy Wireframing

Jordan Sakowitz | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Balsamiq

We are using Balsamiq within the product management department to create wireframes that will be used for requirements documentation. We find it to be a good alternative to Photoshop or Illustrator for quickly mocking up layouts and workflows, where the visual design is secondary to determining which components are needed on a page, and where they should go. This is much quicker to implement than a full Photoshop/Illustrator mockup, and much more useful than trying to describe requirements in words to the developers.
  • It's incredibly easy to use. The built in UI component library means that creating a new wireframe is as simple as dragging and dropping components onto a page. Keyboard shortcuts are generally simple and easy to remember. A new user can become very proficient with just 0-30 minutes of training.
  • You can create and iterate on a mockup very quickly. If you know what you want to do, you can mock up a simple page/tool in as little as 10 minutes. Moving a component, rearranging a page, adding or removing components, etc., is all very quick.
  • It is very easy to collaborate with your team. Pricing is by the number of projects you have, so you can have as many users collaborating as you want. This includes sharing your work, allowing others to comment on your work, edit, and propose alternate versions. Sharing a mockup is as easy as copying and pasting a hyperlink- you do not need to download and email files.
  • There is very good support, and help pages/videos. If I don't know how to do something, I can often figure it out by Googling it.
  • Working with grids can be difficult. Resizing columns to specific widths can be very tricky. Adding data to a grid with many columns can also be somewhat frustrating. If you work with data grids a lot, this is something you will notice very quickly.
  • Working with imported images is not great. If you want to import an existing image (say, a screenshot of an existing tool) as a basis for a wireframe, you might have some problems. Image quality of imported images is not great, and the process of uploading images into the tool is cumbersome. This is really a tool for starting from scratch, not augmenting existing designs.
  • You can't really create interactive mockups using Balsamiq. You can add in links, either to web pages or other mockups, but no other components "function". For example, if you want to add options to a dropdown, and then click on the dropdown and see how it looks, or have some behavior contingent on the selection of an option from the dropdown, you will be out of luck. This is a simple, quick wireframing tool, and does not provide support for "prototyping" functionality. This is their intention, and there are other tools that focus on that, but it's something to be aware of.
  • Balsamiq is extremely inexpensive, which means that any benefits gleaned from it are almost pure gain. It requires no upfront costs or IT involvement to install or administer (we use the web based version).
  • The biggest gain we see is minimizing development time. We now spend more time reviewing designs before they are implemented and making sure that they are going to work, before committing them to code. It is so much easier, faster, and cheaper to amend a wireframe than to rewrite code.
  • Conversely, if you are spending a ton of time putting together Photoshop/Illustrator mockups, you will save yourself a lot of design time by creating simpler mockups. In cases where the visual style and components are already set, making designs pixel-perfect often is not necessary.
It is very well suited for rapid, simple prototyping. If you just need to demonstrate where a certain component should be on a page, this is a great tool for you.
If you want to show exactly how something is going to look (color scheme, styling, etc.), build an interactive prototype, iterate on existing tools, or use a lot of custom/non-standard controls in your design, this will not be a great tool for you.