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January 02, 2009


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Thanks for the post. I prefer regular lines to pencil-style sketches too but know usability professionals who can't get enough of them.

PS the link in your first para is off.


Thanks for the tip! The link is fixed now.

Sorry Joshua, still not fixed :)

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Comic Sans was the first thing I noticed as well, heh!

Hi there, thanks for the review and the constructive feedback, it's just what I need in order to make the software better!

Let me address some of your points:
- "no way to draw your own shapes": true, there's no free-form drawing tool, but you can draw an image in your favorite tool (which includes pen and paper) and bring it in, as I show here: http://www.balsamiq.com/products/mockups/help#images
- "shapes cannot be broken apart": what do you mean? Can you give me an example?
- snap on center: it's on my TODO list, I'll bump its priority up :)
- Keyboard shortcuts. Ahh, the eternal curse of Flash-based apps. The old (and unacceptable) answer from Adobe is "the browser eats those keys and doesn't pass them to any plugin". The ONLY flash app that has solved the problem well is Buzzword, and they swear that they wouldn't wish the work to make it work on their worse enemy (it's a GIANT, horribly bug-prone hack). I'm not trying to divert the blame, I knew this full well when I chose Flex/Flash as the platform to build Mockups. The lack of keyboard shortcut support is the reason I have copy/paste/delete icons everywhere in the UI, and it's a big part of the reason why I built Mockups for Desktop. In Adobe AIR, keyboard shortcuts are supported properly, and they do work in Mockups, on the mac, windows or linux. Here's a list of supported keys: http://www.balsamiq.com/products/mockups/help#shortcuts
- Collaboration: yes, I am working on a few ways to make collaboration easier in 2009. Here's a blog post about it hot off the presses: http://www.balsamiq.com/blog/?p=539
- Comic Sans. Aside from the "Use System Fonts" solution, which was really intented to support non-latin character sets, I recently added a way to choose any font on your system: http://www.balsamiq.com/products/mockups/help#air and scroll down to "The BalsamiqMockups.cfg configuration file" section. Not super-easy to set up, but if you're really allergic to Comic Sans this should ease the pain.
- Sketchy UI: it's worked really well so far (in fact, others are starting to copy it). The mockups created scream "I am just a draft, criticize at will, I won't get offended", which I think is a good goal for the app. That said, I have heard this complaint before and I am considering building a "straight blue lines" skin in the future.

Once again, thanks so much for the review and the feedback, I really appreciate it.


Thanks for the detailed comment Peldi. I'm impressed by how hard you work to make Mockups better.

Regarding "shapes cannot be broken apart," I was using the Playback controls shape, which has three circular buttons for reverse, play, and fast forward. I wanted a layout that would space the buttons out more, and I was thinking I could "ungroup" the three buttons. It was a habit of thinking left over from Microsoft Visio.

I was able to approximate the layout I wanted using three Buttons with angled bracket labels, so it wasn't a big problem.

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