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Ok so this question comes in mind after dealing with multiple prototyping tools out there. Lets consider two - Balsamiq and Sketch for this discussion. Is there some agreement in saying, that the casual (sketchy?), interface design/approach of a tool like Balsamiq makes a task like Wireframing easier, vs. doing the same task in Sketch, which is more refined? Sketch's interface, though very user friendly, sometimes overwhelms you, and a sketchy wireframe tends towards getting more finesse. Agree?

  • So, Is it better to focus on a single task and then wrap the whole product around that?
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The interface of balsamiq has two main functions:

1 - Stop you from fiddling

You won't spend time doing unnecessary things. If there's no option for color or rounded corners, you won't worry which shade or radius to use.


2 - Communicate that it's a sketch.

enter image description here

Of these menu mockups, which is more likely to receive comments about the M not being the right font for the logo? The top one makes it very clear that this is not a stylistic mockup but a functional one. So all the feedback from the client would be about positioning.


Using an obviously sketchy style keeps all involved parties more focused on the layout and interactions rather than styling and details.

Of course this has the tradeoff of potentially ending up with issues down the line. For example, I used yellow on red for the logo, but the inverse for the buttons. The black and white sketch doesn't show any difference, so you wouldn't get feedback on that if you use balsamiq.

In the end, both routes are valid options, and it depends on the circumstances. If you're specifically working on wireframing for complex sites or interactions, you may want to work with balsamiq. However if it's a smaller project and only 1 dev/team you might want to integrate the sketching, interaction, and first visual mockup stages by using something like Photoshop or Sketch.

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I think the goal of prototyping is to get feedback on designs as quickly as possible. If it takes as long to produce a prototype in a tool as it does to actually code it, then the prototyping tool has failed.

Balsamiq's primary audience is low fidelity prototyping with basic linking for showing flow of screens. When showing this to users for feedback, you need to moderate the scenes, but at least they will not be confused that it is a real working app or website.

Most prototypes I have seen produced with Sketch are mid to high fidelity. It can take quite a while to produce and iterate on depending on how fine grained you want to make it. Since the screens are close to the real deal, you will need to moderate the scenes very carefully while gathering feedback from users. They may get confused when trying to click on regions of screen that are not hooked up to other screens.

  • Way back I made a "sketch" in MS Access, as that was to be used for the implementation. The client believed the application to be already finished and was quite disappointed to learn that implementing the logic would take a few days. Since that day I only use hand-drawn sketches or "wobbly" balsamiq. – Stefan Schmiedl Jun 19 '16 at 15:46
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    This is correct. While Balsamiq can be used for quick mockups which do not require copious amounts of time, Sketch can be used to detail these low fidelity mockups into high fidelity ones. It's about how much time you have and what are the probabilities of rejections. If a mockup has a high probability of getting rejected, you might as well stick to low fidelity than go guns blazing directly on a high fidelity mockup. Balsamiq's mockups also conveys that's it's still preliminary while Sketch's mockups show a lot more certainty. – Swapnil Borkar Jun 20 '16 at 1:09

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