Balsamiq bills itself as “rapid, effective and fun wireframing software.” But is it? I signed up for the free 30-day trial (no credit card required) and tested out how Balsamiq wireframing software helped my own work. As you'll read, I only ran into a couple negative qualities and mostly found the software to be a huge help...
The pros of Balsamiq Wireframing Software:
Ability to create wireframes using a really rough “sketch” style which conveys the unfinished nature of a design. Also use the more polished style to show what it would look like once you’re closer to the final version. [Examples below]
Intuitive interface making it incredibly easy to get up and running with the tool. I was able to start designing immediately -- no tutorial or instruction required.
Simple method of text customization of complex elements like radio button and checkbox groups, navigation bars, data tables, and tag clouds
Quick creation of click-through prototypes to simulate how a user might flow through your site
Really fast sitemaps can be created with text only -- no maneuvering or drawing of boxes. I was even able to link each page in the sitemap to its corresponding wireframes I had created.
Facilitates collaboration with coworkers and clients with flexible sharing controls. You can give clients or colleagues varying degrees of access -- from viewing, to commenting, to full editing privileges.
Easily exports to PDF
Prints the PDF in “story view” -- shows mockups and their notes one on top of the other
Works with Google Drive for mockup file creation and management
The cons of Balsamiq Wireframing Software:
Hard to scroll through the drag and drop library of UI elements. However, there is a “Quick Add” feature that circumvents this issue.
Limited sitemap creation. Although it is incredibly easy to create simple sitemaps, more complex ones are not possible within Balsamiq. For example, I couldn’t customize the shapes or colors of the sitemap elements to indicate what was on-page content versus individual pages. This is not really a “con” since it is wireframing software (not site mapping) but is worth mentioning anyway.
It’s a fantastic tool that is indeed “rapid,” “effective,” and “fun”! On top of that, the price tag is quite reasonable. Despite the few cons, I highly recommend using Balsamiq for creating and sharing wireframes.