So I’m currently working on a project for the House of Mews in Memphis, TN.  It’s a volunteer project, and kind of a long story on how I got wrapped into it – so I’ll save it for another time.  Anyway, a problem I’ve run into is how to effectively communicate ideas to the House of Mews proprietor.  Using words like content management system, web services, and flex app only draw blank stares.  Bumbling through a long discription of site features elicits some nodding, but the only response I get are questions like, “Can we keep the same music from the old site?”


Enter Balsamiq.  The folks at Balsamiq Studios were nice enough to give me a free license since I’d be using it for a non-profit project.  I can’t be more grateful.  This app blows visio out of the water.  It’s so ridiculously easy to use. I cranked out a handful of wireframes in about an hour.  Since it’s all drag and drop, it appeals to the whole ‘instant gratification’ thing.  And when you’re done, you have this neat drawing that looks like you drew it yourself on a piece of paper.

Showing this to the ‘client’ avoided comments like, “that’s the wrong font,” and “that shade of red needs to be lighter.”  Instead I get, “Ohh, so you can click on the little pictures, and the cat’s bio appears. Great!”


Here’s an example of a ‘first draft’.

Neat, right? Too bad it looked like crapola when I built it.  So I started over.  After shuffling things around, adding new ideas (and subtracting new ideas), I wound up with this – the mighty ‘work in progress’.

Go try Balsamiq.