Is time to switch from Axure 9 to Balsamiq Mockups 3?

I am still exploring all new Axure 9 but I already noticed there’s one huge topic that resonates among Axure users: missing Sketch Effects feature. 

From the product perspective this may look like unimportant feature as this used to be hidden in page property Inspector panel.

But if you look at discussions at official forums, you’ll clearly can see people miss it. A lot! And it understandable.

Sketch Effects feature was great because when you as a designer need to communicate your early ideas with stakeholders, it’s always better to have your concept in lowest fidelity possible. Your mockups look more accessible and are more inviting to discussion and feedback than polished pixel-perfected visuals.

I used Sketch Effects feature on a few projects and it was indispensable.

So it’s surprising for me that Axure people were not listening to their users’ feedback and removed Sketch Effects from Axure 9.

So now what?

People will switch form Axure to Balsmiq

Yes, I do believe this feature is a deal-breaker for a lot of people using Axure. Just the ability to switch to greyscale, possibility to apply certain level of sketchiness and custom font (Comic Sans FTW!) is for them more than possibility to use interactions or conditional logic.

Yes, I do believe there are people who use Axure for very basic mockuping and don’t want / need its advanced features.

And this type of people will be the first who will research competitors if they offer something they were used to.

Who will be the first on their radar? Balsamiq Mockups.

To advanced Axure users and professionals this may seem like a joke as Balsamiq is seen like a very limited tool. But this is its main advantage – its target users are not professional UX designers but more product managers, analysts, developers or just people who need basic wireframing and mockuping tool. And for this need Balsamiq Mockups works very well!

Will I switch from Axure to other tool?

No. Not yet. Axure is still the most powerful tool for me when it comes to creating quick wireframes and prototypes. I have designed and developed my own libraries for it and create new website or app is matter of minutes not hours for me.

I will miss Sketch Effects for sure. Right now I am figuring out other ways how to achieve similar level of visual quality with current version Axure.

My solution to missing sketch effects feature is sketchy library I am building. I will inform you on the progress here on my website.

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