reviews

FlairBuilder – Fast and Easy GUI Mockups

There are many tools like Mockups, GUI Prototyping, Wireframing and other buzzwords like that, but the point is to improve user interface quality and usability. Some of these tools are enterprise ready, some are in the early level of development with many issues and finally some of them are in the middle. Today I want to write about the one which is the middle class representative, named FlairBuilder. Let’s draw the short review, but first explore some basic requirements for such systems.

  • Usability
    Why we are using wireframing, mockups ? Because we want to create high usability user interface. Yes, but how to do that with poor usability tool ? Must be clear, fast, predictable and all the other adjectives regarding proper GUI design.
  • Presentation
    The system must allow online mock-ups presentation, using a separate, free player: html files, flash presentations or screenshots.
  • Components
    Should have a large set of components, but divided into groups. Easy to find and with group of last used and favorites. Necessarily include place holders.
  • Interactions
    Must contain a set number of basic events: click, mouseover, etc.
  • Be online
    Easy download, easy install and autoupdate. Fine website with fresh info.

Test it
FlairBuilder is a Adobe AIR application so installation is very easy with one click, even without download and run action.

When we run it the first time, we can feels like home, it is a standard interface for architect, designers with right panels. We have left design/preview area and couple of toolboxes:

  • components;
  • properties/events
  • pages

this is the minimum and the maximum set in my opinion.

We can create pages / views structure with folders, very important duplicate function is also available. I miss the custom reusable components library, which can be created using standard toolbox then grouped (loginbox in example), but I hope to see it on the feature roadmap.
Application is very fast and cute there are no glitches. You can group components, move it using keyboard, drag and drop, everything is on the right place.
I would like to better see which page is currently edited, you can now find out just from the right pages panel. I would like to put the page title in the window caption or other prominent place.

FlairBuilder also includes a very convenient way to publish the results of our work, allows you to access free viewer available at this address.

Summary
I recommend this tool for all who wants easy, cheap and fast design tool. It is great for webpages but also for simple desktop and RIA applications. I hope that the future is bright and the roadmap will be constantly updated.
Please try this tool or other one like this, it will help you to rise project usability and quality, minimizes missing requirements and number of GUI related issues.

Links
FlairBuilder Home Page
FlairBuilder Blog

Discussion

4 comments for “FlairBuilder – Fast and Easy GUI Mockups”

  1. Hi there,
    Thanks so much for your review. I’m glad you found FlairBuilder easy to use and intuitive.

    Regarding the custom widgets library, that’s for sure on the year’s start roadmap. I also have been thinking of way to make the current selection more proeminent, something like breadcrumbs from the current page to the current component selected on that page. We’ll see!

    Cheers,
    Cristian

    Posted by Cristian Pascu | January 8, 2010, 8:17 pm
  2. Hi,

    Thanks for the info, great to hear it.

    Best regards
    Marcin

    Posted by Marcin Zręda | January 8, 2010, 8:46 pm
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