Here’s a quick tour of Mockups’ features. Also do not miss The Balsamiq Mockups Manifesto! :)
We know it: most people prefer to use pen and paper or a whiteboard to make software mockups because “it’s the fastest way”.
Well, if you count the time it takes to transfer the mockup from paper to a digital image, we think Balsamiq Mockups is faster, not to mention much easier and, dare we say it, more fun!
We optimized the user interface for speed: fewer buttons, more keyboard commands, full undo/redo, object snapping…you name it.
Balsamiq Mockups comes with a vast library of pre-built controls, so that you don’t have to spend time building them. A browser window? Of course! A media-player component, an iPhone picker? Add away!
Balsamiq Mockups has an elegant, minimalist, easy-to-learn interface which doesn’t get in your way and lets you focus on the UI that really matters, yours.
For super-fast selection, use the quick add features: just type a couple of characters from the control or icon name and bam! select from the list of suggestions, and your control will be added in no time. Searching for an icon? Same technique! Try it and you’ll be hooked!
Mockups for Desktop also supports a large number of keyboard shortcuts to let you create wireframes at the speed of thought!
When you select one or more UI controls, you’ll notice a faint Property Inspector show up. It contains context-sensitive options for the selected controls. If you don’t need it, simply ignore it (it will go away when it needs to), but if you do, just move your mouse over it to use it. And if it’s in your way, move it! Mockups will remember where you left it.
Mockups for Desktop also lets you link different mockups together in order to create a simple prototype for your site or software application.
Linking two mockups together is as easy as choosing a file name from a pull-down menu. Simply click on a control that supports linking (most do), and you’ll see a new “Link” pull-down in the floating property inspector
Controls with links will have a little blue overlay on them as well as the link icon and mousing over them will show a big hand pointer with the name of the target file for this link. Simply click on a link to load up the referenced mockup file.
Symbols allows you to reuse groups of controls in order to create templates, page masters, and libraries of re-usable components. This can be done globally for all of your projects, or locally within a single project. You can create symbols from the top down, when you’re setting up a design pattern library for example. But most likely, you’ll be creating symbols from the bottom up while you’re working on a projects.
Go ahead, experiment away! Balsamiq Mockups has a powerful unlimited undo and redo, with clear action names to help you.
Your data is yours. We use an open, human readable format called BMML (a flavor of XML, documented here) so it’s easy to duplicate a mockup and “mash it up” with other applications. If you really wanted you could even write some scripts to transform BMML into actual code!
Mockups integrates and can be used in conjunction with some of the best tools out there. Add Balsamiq Mockups and turn the knob to 11!
You can use Mockups for Desktop together with DropBox for painless and near-real-time collaboration (more info), and you can run Mockups for Desktop from the command line and make it part of your build process!
A wonderful community of passionate users has gathered around Mockups. Learn more…