Balsamiq Mockups - Wireframing Basics

When it comes to software development, it is more than important to know how the actual software will look, way before the actual development starts. This is a critical activity, as it serves as a guideline for all the stakeholders in the software project.

Traditionally, paragraphs of text have been used to describe or elicit the software requirement. However, when it comes to comprehension of these texts, every individual will have their own way of visualizing the requirement. This leads to a mix-up in the software development teams and the ultimate cost is in terms of wasted efforts, money and time.

Wireframing can be defined as an activity to visualize the layout of a given screen (mobile or web). In the recent years, there has been an increasing demand on Wireframing the screens/pages in order to gauge its acceptability.

Why Wireframing?

Wireframing is required in order to save on time invested in understanding a software requirement. As they say, a picture is worth more than a thousand words, Wireframing provides a glimpse at the requirement of any feature/page by effectively visualizing the screen layout and elements. In the end, it also helps the development teams to be oriented towards the common end goal.

The owner of the Wireframing activity is usually a Business Analyst / User Interface Designer / Interaction Designer. This team member is required to collaborate with the team before, after and during the Wireframing process.

Balsamiq as a Wireframing Tool

For a professional assigned with a Wireframing activity, it makes sense to save time by using a tool. One of the most effective tools to do Wireframing is to use a simple pen and pencil! This requires no investment at all! However, when it comes to communicating it to the teams, we need a look-and-feel similar to a pen and pencil, but with added features such as sharing over email or similar mediums.

Balsamiq serves as an excellent tool, fulfilling all the requirements of Wireframing, collaboration and creativity. Its unique set of features enables the team member to do rapid Wireframing, get a consensus on the feature to be developed. This will eventually have the team aligned with functionality in terms of the layouts.

It also enables collaboration over different teams, so that a team member can collaborate with different co-located or remotely located teams. Its ability to export the wireframes in PDF/PNG formats allows for a flexibility, while sharing the wireframes with the teams.

We now know how Balsamiq is efficient for creating the wireframes on-the-fly. If we utilize this time early during the software development to set the expectations of the stakeholder, there will be a higher satisfaction among the stakeholders considering the minimal amount of time required to create the wireframe. This is the primary reason why Balsamiq is used by majority of the product organizations, where meeting customer/stakeholder relations are crucial.

For a Product Manager / UX Analyst, Balsamiq Mockups provide a platform to add value early in the development. By using its rich toolset, Product Manager / UX Analyst can drive the product seamlessly towards its success.