Using myBalsamiq as a UX tool on a Distributed Team

Working on a large project with 2 UX designers, 1 visual designer and several engineers had me rethinking what tool to use for wireframing. We recently started using myBalsamiq to create wireframes and the move from the desktop to online version of this tool was a game changer for our distributed team. The advantages come in the form of additional features that allow for remote collaboration and communication.

Features I love:

  • Project history. We have two UX designers on working on this project, so visibility into project history is essential. By glancing at this view, which is like an activity feed on any social media site, I can see what my colleague has worked on since we last checked in. Our project manager also finds this useful.
  • Mockup history. Here we can view the history of changes made to a particular wireframe. We also have the option to restore a previous version of the file.
  • Commenting. Project members can comment on any mockup, and when they do, the entire team is notified by email. This enables engineers to ask questions about a particular wireframe in a comment thread attached to the wireframe in question.
  • Clickable Prototype feature. myBalsamiq can be used as an effective and easy-to-learn click-through prototyping tool (the desktop version doesn’t do this nearly as well). After adding links among different mockups, launch the prototype view and you, stakeholders or other users can try out possible workflows. We use this for client-facing demos, via screenshare, and it works very well. This view integrates with several user testing tools – something I’m looking forward to taking advantage of in the near future.

There is definitely room for improvement, too. I would personally find the tool much easier to work with if the files could be stored in folders. For a project with many wireframes, the long list gets a bit cumbersome. Another improvement would be to adjust the workflow so that upon closing a file and leaving the Edit view, the user is taken to the file she was just working on. Instead she is taken back to the aforementioned long list.

Overall I have really enjoyed the change of tool and would recommend myBalsamiq to other distributed UX teams.

2017-03-31T06:19:57+00:00 Categories: Design, User Experience|Tags: |

About the Author:

Jen Harris joined CivicActions as an Agile Project Manager in 2012 and made the transition to User Experience Designer in 2014. She leverages her communication, technical, and creative skills to manage projects and translate business goals into strategic user experience solutions for government and nonprofit clients.

Jen has been instrumental in integrating UX work with Agile development at CivicActions. She was the primary user experience and content strategist for EatFresh.org (San Francisco Human Services Agency) and has contributed UX expertise on projects for the Regional Plan Association and a collaboration platform for a large federal agency. Other clients include Tesla Motors, Save The Children, Transparency International, and Astraea Foundation.

Before joining CivicActions, Jen spent seven years as founder and director of Black Sheep Heap, a small design company with a focus on projects combining sustainability, social justice, and the politics of food. Clients included Microsoft, Just Food, and Brooklyn Victory Garden. She previously worked as an arts administrator at The Getty Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Peter Norton Family Foundation.

Jen earned her BA and MFA in Studio Art from Yale University and Queens College CUNY respectively. She is a Certified ScrumMaster, avid traveler and practicing visual artist. When not working, Jen enjoys making home-brewed kombucha and other fermented treats.