I don’t have a tablet PC or a drawing board (electronic or not). I guess I could create wireframes on basic computer tools like Pencil even using the highlight tools on Microsoft PowerPoint, for instance.
But one tool I discovered recently makes it much easier to come up with mockups very quickly: Balsamiq Mockups. The tools has a small cost ($79 at the time of this posting) but it is worth it.
- Drag and drop interface
- Hand-drawn look and feel (makes the mockups look like just that: mockups, allowing you to communicate your ideas with enough freedom for creativity in the actual development process and without raising too much expectation from the developers since what you are offering is nothing more than a *mockup*)
- Several standard built-in navigation and user interface elements ready to be customized
- Ability to export as PNG
- Ability to create new mockups from an existing one
- Repository of icons and images
Features that would be nice to have (at least some I can think of off the top of my head)
- Native “print” functionality
- Custom lines and hands-free drawing. Right now you’re limited to the icons and shapes available in the tool’s repository.
- Collaborative editing possibility – either by sync’ing your local files in real time over the Internet or by providing an online-only version (I’d rather have the first option in case I don’t have internet connection for some reason).
- Sharing capabilities (to services like those covered on ShareThis and AddThis.
- A “website” mentality type of mockup. With “real-time” navigation, allowing a person to navigate through the (mockup) website and have that experience from a user perspective. This would need a mockup to have multiple pages linked to a main index. Similar to FlairBuilder and Napkin Look & Feel‘s approach.
- As pointed our by StuffThatHappens, a built-in storyboarding feature (storyboarding templates?) would be an asset as well.
The only similar tool I have found is iPlotz (I do not have this software and can’t make a comparison here) but it does seem to offer an online collaborative version of the tool (a bit overprices if you ask me). Their desktop app costs $75 (as I post this entry). Might also be worth checking out. Here is a post comparing both tools. Beware: it has been written by a competitor, FlairBuilder).