Hey, anyone out there got any decent wire frame software they use on a mac? I've needed one for years but always end up coming back to Illustrator - it's a shame Visio is PC only, from what I've heard its pretty good.
I used one other program for PC (its wasn't Visio though) and it was no where near as good as Illustrator is so I came back.
Illustrator is awesome for loads of things. I trained as a CAD technician and used Illustrator with a few add ons and brish/icon packs that nearly as good a job as AutoCad. Its by far and away the best Adobe package there is.
I've just found a piece of software called Axure, I have no idea how good it is but it does have a free trial, and the quick look round the tour and features it does look comprehensive - Axure - Wireframes, Prototypes, Specifications. Sorry to say it does look like its PC/Win only, has anyone else used it or heard about it before?
The only Mac based software for any form of wireframes I've been able to find so far is Omnigraffle - http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnigraffle/ which looks very basic on the wireframe side of things and looks more focused on general diagrams.
EDIT: Just found some more information on Omnigraffle, an interesting video at the bottom of this blog page shows a few of the features and the ability to link different canvases to make up a usable website prototype in PDF format- http://urlgreyhot.com/personal/subjects/wireframes
Most common tools I hear people mention for wireframing on the Mac are OmniGraffle, Illustrator, and InDesign. I lean towards OmniGraffle because it's fast and easy to use for creating interface schematics with any of the UI stencils avaialble including my own, is a very capable as a drawing program, allows you to do multi-page documents, and quick and dirty HTML or PDF prototypes.
I use Illustrator when I do visual design, but OmniGraffle for wireframing. And to tell you the truth, I have found myself doing very high fidelity wireframes with OmniGraffle occasionally after many iterations back and forth with designers who work on the visual design.
Axure is an excellent program, by the way. I used early versions for about a year when I was on a PC and the company I worked for paid for it. It's on the expensive side, which is why a lot of PC folks stick with Visio.
Thanks for joining and posting on this subject Michael, appreciate that
(Michael AKA jibbajabba is the author of the blog I linked to in my post above, I sent him a quick e-mail to see if he would be able to share his knowledge of wireframe software on this post)
Axure looks waaaaaay to expensive for what I'm after - I want something really simple that does the basics. Illustrator has too much going on for just wireframing. I'm just looking for something quick and simple that lets me get wireframes down quickly - doesn't seem to be anything out there.
Thanks for that info and the live examples you posted, that's really useful to see it in action, and I'm sure the majority of clients (not the "it's grey and boring" ones) really appreciate that stage in the development. My only concern with working a site development in that way would be that it may restricts the design, have you ever found that to be the case?
Not really - it's the same as offline wireframing except it's not wasted!
You can move the wireframes around to your heart's content - granted it's not drag-and-drop but if you know CSS well enough it's easy to do.
And I use a signed-off wireframe (whether online or offline) to inform the design not limit it. But, yes, the design will be based on the wireframe layout as closely as possible - it was signed off after all.
It's not a perfect approach and doesn't work for all projects but it can be useful.
I think using offline wireframes initially and then producing online wireframes once it's been narrowed down is a good approach.