UX Design in the Open
Today marks a new chapter in the ongoing evolution of Balsamiq. In the spirit of openness and transparency that you've come to know from the crew at Balsamiq, I'm going to be writing the UX blog to talk about how we do user experience design.
What can you expect?
You can expect to read about topics ranging from specific feature design, to discussing our design philosophy. You can also expect to see me asking you about your experience using the products.
I want to know how you're using Mockups and myBalsamiq. Are we successful at providing an experience that maps to your mental models? Is our purchase, installation or upgrade process not working for you? Maybe part of that discussion is also discovering and introducing each other to new ideas for using Mockups more efficiently or in ways that are unfamiliar, but potentially useful? Any question related to your experience with Balsamiq is fair game.
Sharing our process
I think a big part of this blog will also be about sharing our process with you, being open about how we do design, what we're researching, and discussing the process of vetting and designing features. We're committed to sharing as much as we can, and what I intend to do is put my thoughts and most of my research out here so that you can understand how we're approaching problem solving.
One of the first things I will be working on, for instance, is a new component skin. While some people love our current interface component style, we also hear people asking for elements with slightly cleaner lines that still retain a low fidelity sketch appearance. As I work on this, I'll post my references here so you'll see where I think the design of those components should be headed.
Peldi recently started a discussion on the design of shared component feature, which will let you share grouped masters like page headers, or reusable components like forms. We're essentially asking you as users what you think of the model, and what works and doesn't work for you before it gets released. That's designing in the open, and I think we may see more of that happening.
Communicating the path
Lastly, as I dive into the support queue on Get Satisfaction, I'll try to distill the feature request discussion into a dialogue that relates back to the bigger picture for Balsamiq. It will be helpful for me to get my head around how the product evolves to match the mental models we have for interface design as a varied audience that ranges from developers and ux designers to business analysts.
So that's the plan and enough talk for now. Time to get started.