How to Choose a Wireframing Tool

This post is a breakdown of the popular Wireframing tools out there.

Omnigraffle vs. Balsamiq

Omnigraffle and Balsamiq do about the same thing. They are desktop apps for quickly making wireframes, mockups, page layouts, etc. Here are some of the differences:


  • Desktop app: $99-$199
  • Web app: n/a
  • High fidelity: high level of detail, therefore take longer to create, but look more like the actual page
  • Slightly higher learning curve than Balsamiq (in my opinion). But I prefer Omnigraffle overall for my style of developing wireframes.


  • Desktop app: $79 for desktop
  • Web app: $12+/month for web
  • Low fidelity: less detail, they resemble a rough sketch and therefore can be produced much quicker

(Both Balsamiq and Omnigraffle have free trials. So why not give them a try and see what you think?)


  • Pro: An easy way to just… start. Great for something quick, and low fidelity
  • Con: You can “save” to a URL, but can’t export to a file

More Questions

Q: Do you ever use illustrator or photoshop for your wireframes? -Zack

A: You can. But they aren’t as optimized for wireframes. I find that it takes me more time using those programs.

Q: What are your thoughts on go mockingbird? – Zack 

A: I’ve never used it personally, but many of my students have. Looks promising!

Q: Can you use InDesign for wireframes? 

A: I’ve never tried it personally. But here’s a tutorial with some thoughts on InDesign and wireframes.

Q: What are some other options? Have you used X, Y, Z? -you

A: I haven’t used any of these personally so I can’t really judge them for you. But here’s a list of some more options… go explore! Report back.

Omnigraffle vs. Balsamiq: Screenshots

Balsamiq wireframe example
Omnigraffle wireframe example
Omnigraffle wireframe example on a phone

Balsamiq wireframe example on mobile