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Paul Nielsen

UI Design Mock-ups made easy

As I ramp up my new software company, one critical need I have is to communicate my UI ideas to clients and .Net programmers. I’ve used Excel and Visio for the task and wasn’t very satisfied with either. I figure that most of my blog’s readers are also database developer who might also need to help with project designs from time to time, so it makes sense to share the results of my search.

What I like most is that the resulting mock-ups look like mock-ups – the back of a napkin pencil sketch type of mock-ups. Because my goal is to invite discovery and iterations, a hand-drawn mock-up is better than a perfect polished Windows app look. It took me about 30 minutes to figure it out and crank out 2 form designs. Highly recommended.

Published Wednesday, August 19, 2009 6:56 PM by Paul Nielsen



Luciano Evaristo Guerche (Gorše) said:

Quite similar to WPF's Sketchflow...

August 20, 2009 8:58 AM

Bill Graziano said:

Did you also look at Balsamiq?  I've used that and was happy with it.

August 20, 2009 6:01 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

Hey Bill,

I'm watching the Balsamiq demo now and it looks pretty cool,


August 20, 2009 6:55 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

WOW ! Balsamiq has a plugin for Fog Creek FogBugz - I'm a huge Fog Creek fan. Thanks Bill!

August 20, 2009 7:03 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

after a few days of creating UI Mock-ups using Balsamiq, I gotta say, Balsamiq runs circles around Lumzy and I really like how the Balsamiq mock-ups drop right into FogBugz cases. It's a near perfect combination.

August 22, 2009 9:34 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

another utility I've found invalable as we share files between remote developers is DropBox - a great little utility that flawlessly synchs directories between the cloud and multiple users. Free up to 2-5 Gb. cheap to 50-100Gb. Not for database files, but perfect for .sql scripts and other collateral files. I've tried other utitlies like this but this is the first one that simply works without any hassles. Highly reocmmended.

August 28, 2009 1:34 PM

Brice said:

I was going to mention that Lumzy looks alot like Balsamiq, but someone beat me to it!  As far as Sketchflow... I havent used it and it looks a little heavier.  I like Balsamiq because it is lightweight but packed with features.

I have used it on a few projects and it helps convey ui ideas tremendously without trying to look to polished and professional.

I will have to check out DropBox.  Thanks for the tips Paul.

October 9, 2009 10:36 AM
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About Paul Nielsen

Paul Nielsen believes SQL is the romance language of data. As such he’s a hands-on database developer, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, trainer, and author of SQL Server Bible series (Wiley). As a data architect, he developed the concepts of Smart Database Design and Nordic – an open source O/R dbms for SQL Server. He lives in Colorado Springs.
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