Take a second. Let it sink in.
The first impression might be disorienting. There are very few interface elements on the screen. Start exploring however, and you'll find out that Mockups is filled with powerful yet only-visible-when-you-need-them features.
Getting your ideas out should be effortless. We sweat the details so the app gets out of your way, instead of forcing you to learn it. You won't see many dialog windows interrupting your flow, and you won't have to twiddle with options all the time.
Our sweet spot: the ideation phase
Mockups really shines during the early stages of designing a new interface.
Mockups is zenware, meaning that it will help you get "in the zone", and stay there. Our aim is for you to forget our software is there at all.
Mockups offers the same speed and rough feel as sketching with pencil, with the advantage of the digital medium: drag & drop to resize and rearrange elements, make changes without starting over, and your work is clear enough that you'll make sense of them later.
Limited interactivity, on purpose!
We think that in most cases, wireframes + running code is much better than prototyping.
Think of using Mockups as you would pen and paper. Sure it's a medium with lots of limitations, but you can still get your point across with it. We consciously decided not to let users specify interactivity other than the ability to link wireframes together into a storyboard.
- we're not huge fans of building large prototypes. Too many times we've seen people spend a lot of time putting a fully interactive prototype together, then realizing that some features couldn't actually be built or noticing that the user experience wasn't so great once they implemented the prototype. The problem with prototypes is that they take time to build. When you spend time building something, you start getting attached to it, and changing it becomes painful.
We believe it's much better to wireframe the key screens, implement them, see how they feel and go back to the wireframes to tweak them if needed. You won't be attached to the wireframes, and you'll have spent time learning about what works and what doesn't using the real codebase, and real users!
- Letting you specify behaviors and click-actions would inevitably turn Mockups into a much more complex tool, which is a terrible thing for us: if we want to continue to be the in-between tool, Mockups needs to be extremely quick to learn so that every stakeholder can have their say with an equal playing field.
There are lots of quick and easy ways to specify interaction in Mockupsalready. If you're curious to know more about where Mockups fits into the UX Design process, check out UX Apprentice.
We know that there are some scenarios where you may prefer to build complex, highly interactive prototypes. For those, try out Axure RP($589) or Omnigraffle Pro ($199.99). You may notice that they have a steeper learning curve, are slower to use, cost a lot more than Mockups, and are backed by large companies. They have to be: the problem they're trying to solve is much much larger than ours.
Not sure if Balsamiq Mockups is the right tool for you? Here's a handy guide to help you choose.