Creating Balsamiq Mockups

Tool-for-creating-mockups-150x150 Creating Balsamiq Mockups

Sketches are casual so stakeholders aren

Lately I’ve been using an excellent web/desktop application, Balsamiq, for creating interactive mockups. It can be used to create a screen-by-screen overview of a proposed mobile, desktop, or web application. Recently I mocked up a 30+ screen mobile/web client then exported it to PDF to share with a client.

In addition to exporting your designs to PDF, you can launch an interactive prototype via a web browser. This can be shared with anyone on the web or you can invite users to add comments or even collaborate.

Steps for Mocking up a Software Solution:

  1. Establish Requirements: list the system’s business requirements.
  2. Create high-level use cases: list the main actions a user will take. It’s best to write use-cases or tasks from start to finish. For example: Log into system, go to settings, update email, save, log out.
  3. Create template: creating a basic template for your application will save on re-work. Every application generally has a framework of common elements. By creating a template you can ensure you have one standard look/feel/functionality throughout the application.
  4. Create your mockups! The exciting part is putting all the pieces together. I advise going through the list of use-cases and creating them one at a time. By the end you should have all required screens setup in a very user friendly fashion. By focusing on use-cases instead of requirements, you’re forced to focus on user experience. Good software is intuitive and quick. Common tasks should be no more than a few clicks/taps away.
  5. Run your prototype: once you have created a few screens and links between them, you can run your prototype in your browser. Although it won’t feel the same as an actual application, you start to get a really good idea of the system.
  6. Share your mockups! Sharing is easy. You can either copy the prototype URL (which are public by nature but nearly impossible to guess) or export the PDFs. I recommend both.

If you’re looking to get some software developed, I strongly recommend playing around in Balsamiq and getting your ideas “on paper.” By putting your ideas into an interactive medium, it’ll be easier to imagine the final product.

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