I believe in low-fidelity sketching at the wireframe stage. Balsamiq makes it easy with its large library of UI control stencils, its auto-complete driven keybroad stencil selection, on-screen snap-to alignment guides, a powerful inspector for precise control when rarely needed, and, more of all, a simplicity that makes it easy to start sketching or tweaking your mockup immediately.
The output is Balsamiq files, PGN or flattened image files, and XML. Because it exports XML it’s possible to use Balsamiq as a programmatic ingredient for downstream engineering systems and tools (such as partially automating the creation of detailed functional specifications, or using it as source for the automated building on the actual interface.
There is a rumor that they’ll be announcing clickable output files shortly, which might allow for the fast creation of clickable wireframes for usability testing (and other) needs.
I haven’t noticed, but it should be possible to customize what’s in the included UI Widget Library to a) take on a different visual skin; b) reflect new or fewer interface widget options.
All and all, I’m pretty intrigued. It seems there’s a market for consumer-friendly ways to design interfaces. Once more people catch on how to much fun we’re having, they’ll want a shot at designing and realizing all the apps they’re dreaming up, too!
I’d love to hear what you think of this approach. Have you tried it? Does it work for your teams”