Wireframing with HotGloo

Recently I decided to try out some of the new online wireframing tools available. Traditionally, I've done all of my wireframing in HTML/CSS. For large projects, HTML works great, but for small projects with tighter timelines. Coding 5 to 10 pages with all the various interactions can be too time consuming especially in the initial phase of laying out the templates. So for the last three projects I've been using HotGloo and the results are pretty good. HotGloo interface is similar to Visio but it's completely geared towards designing webpages. It has a palette of basic shapes, input fields, icons and navigational elements which you can drag and drop on a grid. At first I didn't think the palette had enough elements, but the inclusion of the basic shapes (square, circle, triangle, line) allowed me to create and save custom elements outside the basic drop-down fields and input boxes.

In addition, HotGloo has also added the ability to add interactions to web elements such as simple linking to more advanced actions such as user states. Advance text controls such as padding, leading and indenting is also available which I love because applying leading and indenting in HTML/CSS can be extremely time consuming. Other niceties are the ability to create layers (like Photoshop), export pages as images or PDF and invite others to review and edit the pages.

The application did crash a few times on me, but none of my pages or changes were lost because the smart people at HotGloo included an auto-saving feature. Other than some minor bugs, there not much too complain about, although their pricing plan could us some work. Right now you can sign up for one project at $7 dollars a month, $14 for two project, then it jumps to $48 for unlimited.  It would be nice if you could just add an additional project for $7 as you went along. Right now I have 2 simultaneous projects running, if I get another then I have to jump to $48.

When comparing with design in HTML/CSS, the only thing I really miss find and replace. As you are progress through a project, there are always navigation and text changes. These types of change turn into tedious cut and paste jobs as you have to go through each page to make the change. This is not a criticism of HotGloo, but just a difference between using essentially a graphics tool versus a programming tool.  With that said, I still have strong feelings about designing in the native language (HTML) of the thing you are trying to build (a webpage), but not so much that I won't consider using tools such as HotGloo, MockingBird or MockFlow for situations that require rapid prototyping.

Here's a list of some of the top wireframing tools out there