Announcing balsamiq.com/learn: A Place to Learn User Interface Design
On our company page, we answer the question: Why Does Balsamiq Exist?
For years, our answer has been this: Our goal is to help people create software and websites that are easier to use. We do this by providing software tools, teaching people about UX, and by building a long-lasting company.
Tools, Teaching and Company: these have been the pillars of Balsamiq, the legs that enable us to fulfill our mission of ridding the world of bad software.
We started by focussing on the tool pillar. Our low-fidelity wireframing tool has evolved and matured over the years, and continues to do so. Balsamiq Cloud is the best expression of this massive effort, and it shows: our new web app is focussed, solid, incredibly useful, and taking off like a rocket.
In order to build, sell and support such tools, we've had to build a real company around it. We are now over 10 years old, with 30+ employees spread around the world, and are considered thought leaders in the bootstrapped, independent, long-term-focussed software business space. I am often called to speak about our little five-star-restaurant on the web at various conferences.
Now that the product is mature and that the company is on solid footing, we believe the time has come to start expanding our third pillar: teaching people about UX.
The foundation of that pillar is balsamiq.com/learn: our new design education site.
A Tool Is Just a Tool
Giving someone a set of brushes and some oil paints will not magically turn them into the next Michelangelo.
Similarly, giving someone Balsamiq Wireframes doesn't mean that they'll immediately create user interfaces that are wonderful and easy-to-use.
A tool is just a tool: in order to make the most out of it, people need education and training.
A side effect of meeting with many of you is the clarity we have gained on what our value proposition really is. As a result, we have decided to narrow our educational focus to teaching people about User Interface Design, not User Experience as a whole - that's a MUCH broader subject.
Not only that, we think we can be most useful if we teach beginners: non-designers like business owners or product managers or developers, or designers who are just beginning their careers.
So our third pillar will go from "teaching people about UX", to "teaching UI Design to non-designers".
We've divided the site into four sections:
- Courses: We have two courses available already, with more coming soon.
- Resources: Our documentation and support sites are the go-to place for learning our tool; these resources will teach you about UI design, regardless of which tool you use.
- Inspiration: Watch others wireframe, get some new ideas, and see how people like you have solved UI and UX challenges.
- Community: Links to our Slack channel and forums; we've got big plans to expand this area.
We know that many of you are not professional UX or UI designers, so this site isn't intended to make you an expert. Our hope is that this site will be a one-stop shop for acquiring the user interface design knowledge to bridge the gap between where you are and where you'd like to be, to level up your competence and confidence so that the design part of your job isn't a limitation.
We'd love to hear what you think! Is this useful to you? Will the topics covered help you do your job better? Is there something important that's missing?
Please let us know in the comments or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.