Balsamiq Company News https://balsamiq.com/company/news Wed, 21 Apr 2021 17:44:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Learning Resources from Wireframing Academy https://balsamiq.com/company/news/new-learning-resources-apr-2021/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/new-learning-resources-apr-2021/#respond Wed, 21 Apr 2021 15:53:34 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8313 The third pillar of Balsamiq, after the tool and the company, is teaching people about UI and UX. We’ve been so invested in this that in 2019 we doubled the size of the team. Since then, our educational efforts got a proper name — Balsamiq Wireframing Academy — and the Education team has been working on many different initiatives.

Today I’d like to share with you 5 pages we recently added to the website, hoping you’ll find them useful.

If you need inspiration: UX Quotes Library

The most recent addition is a collection of quotes about Wireframing, UX, and Design.

The Library has more than 100 quotes right now, both from Wireframing Academy content and from third-party articles and resources. We’ll keep adding more quotes, and you also have the chance to suggest your favorite ones!

Fun fact: the library shares the quotes with Balsamiq Wireframes — if you use the tool, you’ll read a random quote every time one of your Balsamiq projects takes a while to load 😊

If you're looking for a career in UX: Advice for getting started


We created a page with our favorite UX resources and links for people who want to know more about a career in User Experience Design.

You’ll find:

  • Articles about UX education paths and online courses
  • Descriptions of different types of UX jobs and design job websites
  • Resources and templates about Portfolios
  • Links to design communities

If you’re a visual or auditory learner: Talks and Presentations page


Our design educators are often invited to be a guest for a podcast or give a talk about Wireframing, User Experience, and User Interface Design.

We thought it would be nice to collect all the recordings on one page. It’s one more way for you to learn at your own pace. 😊

If you like to learn by reading: A new home for our articles

We ditched the chronological blog view in favor of a more curated view of our articles. We grouped them in different sections:

  • Get started with wireframes
  • Highlighted articles
  • Recent articles

You can still retrieve the blog view using the All articles filter.

For each article now we also show the reading time and its categories.

If you want to learn from us live: Balsamiq Wireframing Webinars


We’re about to launch a series of webinars curated and hosted by our educators Leon and Billy. The first webinar is on April 29 — save the date! — and it’s all about designing effective data tables.

The new webinar page on Wireframing Academy will include information of future webinars as well as past webinar recordings.

Last but not least: Tell us what you need!

Our biggest goal is to meet the needs of our community. We’re always eager to discover what content we should create for you.

If you'd like to help us learn what to create, please complete this survey. It’s quick!

Till the next time 😊

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Balsamiq Sponsorships Update for April 2021 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/april-2021-sponsorships/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/april-2021-sponsorships/#respond Mon, 12 Apr 2021 20:25:06 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8291 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/april-2021-sponsorships/feed/ 0 Announcing New Mentors of Our Office Hours Program https://balsamiq.com/company/news/office-hours-more-mentors/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/office-hours-more-mentors/#respond Thu, 08 Apr 2021 13:04:32 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8265 Two years ago, we launched our Office Hours program: a few of our senior staffers set aside one or two hours each month to meet online with one of you for a 1-hour advice chat.

We give personal and career advice for free, as a way to give back to our awesome community. The only thing we ask in return from you is to join the Balsamiq research program and help us make Balsamiq better for everyone.

I doubled my user base in 6 months by following his advice. Thank you, Balsamiq team for such an input into a random guy who you allow to book a call, I appreciate that! — Ihor

But giving back to the community is a real treat for us as well. Working from home gets pretty lonely sometimes, so meeting our customers even for an hour is a great way to expand our networks.
Moreover, the program turned out to be a huge help for our mentors to face the solitude of the COVID-19 quarantine.

I was lucky enough to have a session with Peldi, CEO of Balsamiq... he was very kind in sharing his experience of growing Balsamiq and the challenges he faced along the way. He also took the time to explore what I was working on, the challenges I was having, and how he'd approach them. I'd highly recommend it — Stefan

Meet the new Balsamiq mentors

When we sent to you the first newsletter about the program, we didn’t know what to expect. We thought we would have received a few replies, and that we could schedule them one by one. Imagine our surprise when we received over 40 requests in the first 24 hours! 🙂

Now we have a new system in place: Peldi built a sweet internal tool to help us schedule meetings, each mentor can manage their availability as they please, we can send reminders… so now we’re finally ready to grow the team!

We asked for more volunteers during our last all-hands meeting, and several people stepped up:

Alberto, who can talk to you about programming and career paths for programmers

Marco, who loves to discuss software development on desktop and web

Natalie, who joined to talk with you about how to build a financially healthy company and a safe work environment

Stefano, great for chatting about various programming languages and scalable server architectures

Of course, our current mentors are still available:

Billy, always happy to chat about UX, product design and management and leading design teams

Brendan, happy to brainstorm ways to make your support as human as possible

Peldi, who can field questions about building sustainable, bootstrapped, geographically distributed software businesses

Lei, with whom you can discuss graphic design, lettering and photography

Leon, happy to discuss wireframing, web design, remote work and UX career paths

Mike, who loves to discuss UX career paths

Don’t forget to come and meet us, we’d love to hear from you.

See you online!

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UX/UI Links of March 2021 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/ux-ui-links-march-2021/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/ux-ui-links-march-2021/#respond Mon, 05 Apr 2021 17:29:32 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8267 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/ux-ui-links-march-2021/feed/ 0 CUSB Ultimate Sponsorship: Winter 2020 Update https://balsamiq.com/company/news/cusb-sponsorship-2021/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/cusb-sponsorship-2021/#respond Wed, 24 Mar 2021 14:00:03 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8260 Hi friends of Balsamiq!

Laura here, your friendly Balsamiq ultimate frisbee player. 😊

We stand for a lot of the values that Ultimate frisbee represents: equity and self-management above others. As our founder Peldi put it: “Ultimate Frisbee teaches many life lessons: about honesty, fair-play and that being competitive and ambitious doesn't have to be in contrast with being a good and decent person.”

Thanks to our long-term sponsorship, CUSB Ultimate Bologna has organized many educational projects throughout the years, both for their players and for thousands of students in Bologna.

In supporting them, we ultimately support our main local community. That’s why, when they presented us with the list of activities planned for the future, we decided to keep sponsoring their efforts for four more years.

During the second half of 2020, the team’s main project was writing their first official code of conduct, but they did a lot more to improve and grow as a community. Read all about it on our CUSB Ultimate Sponsorship page.

See you this summer, hopefully with some news from the fields!

Laura

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Looking back at 2020 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/looking-back-2020/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/looking-back-2020/#respond Wed, 10 Mar 2021 12:45:11 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8251 Hello friends of Balsamiq!

This post continues our tradition of looking back at the previous year and sharing our plans for the current one. Previous editions are here: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2009, and 2008.

A very intense year is finally behind us

Twenty-twenty was a terrible year for the world, by many measures. The one that I keep thinking about is inequality: some industries were devastated by the pandemic, others benefitted from it.

At Balsamiq, we were luckier than most. We’ve been working remotely for over a decade, so the lockdowns didn’t affect us very much. As you will see below, our revenue wasn’t impacted either: we continued along our existing growth curve, as if the pandemic didn’t happen.

Because we did so well, there’s a certain amount of guilt in discussing the challenges we did have, but it would be disrespectful to everyone at Balsamiq to discount them. It was a tough year for us, even if the stress was mostly caused by events outside of work.

We had long periods of high anxiety and low productivity, and delicate mental health. We’re still struggling with it, and continue to adjust to our evolving concept of normality.

I’m very proud of the resilience of the Balsamiq team, and decided to celebrate it by writing a more-detailed-than-usual list of what we accomplished in 2020, despite everything.

I’m also very proud of the fact that our existing company policies are - and have been - so generous towards our employees, our local communities, and our customers. They really shined in 2020, without us needing to make any adjustments for a tough year.

Our revenue numbers

Let’s start off with what everyone is most curious about. 🙂

Our Revenue in 2020 was USD $7,314,789.45 - a growth of 9.37% over 2019.

Balsamiq Revenue in 2020

Our SaaS and Integrations continue to do well, but a lot of our growth in 2020 came from our Desktop version: in January 2020 we launched a new major version, a paid update. And lots of people updated!

Balsamiq Revenue By Product in 2020

As you can see, rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated. 😉 We’re trucking along nicely, and our laser focus on low-fidelity wireframing is shielding us from most competitive pressure.

For 2021 I expect revenue to be a bit lower, around $7.2M. This is because the “paid update bump” will peter out, and because we shut down myBalsamiq, our vintage web app, which brought over $300k in revenue in 2020.

As you know, we focus on longevity over growth, so I’m totally ok with a flat year. In fact, I don’t want us to get addicted to growth, so I welcome it! 🙂

Product updates

If you read our newsletter about how we prioritize work, you’ll know that 2020 for us was mostly about surviving launch. In January 2020 we launched a fully rewritten codebase, so it naturally took a few months for the dust to settle.

We spent most of our efforts in 2020 fixing bugs, crashes, dealing with edge cases, and implementing little forgotten features from our old codebase here and there.

We also did a lot of behind the scenes chores: we migrated our Windows app from .NET Framework to .NET Core, we did a lot of work on improving performance, and helping customers shrink the size of their projects for faster loading - resampling images on import, caching resources on the client, adding warnings when you have a lot of unused or trashed resources, improving how we detect conflicts when importing or pasting, and more.

Towards the second half of the year, we started to have some time for feature work as well. We decided to focus on features that didn’t touch our BMPR format, in order to give our Balsamiq Mockups 3 users more time to migrate to Balsamiq Wireframes.

In our Desktop versions, we added spell-check, we made our Windows app work on linux again, and we added the highly requested Automatic Check for Updates feature.

In our Web Apps - Balsamiq Cloud and our Integrations - we spent a lot of time making it work on mobile browsers, for tablets and phones. We’re still working on it, but it’s getting there!

In all versions, we added pinch-to-zoom, a more responsive UI, support for more touch events, we increased the quality of both thumbnails and exported PNGs, improved how we deal with dependencies when copy/pasting between projects, and did a full revamp of the right-click menus.

The new version of the editor required a massive update of our documentation, including new videos and new FAQs for people who were migrating.

Our Web Apps are a bit further along in the maturity chart, so a lot of the work for them in 2020 was about scaling and serviceability. We brought some third-party services in-house, updated a lot of libraries to the latest versions, did a lot of security fixes (thanks to a revamped Bug Bounty program), added a lot of metrics and alarms, and more. We also improved our superadmin UI for Cloud, for the joy of our support team: we greatly improved the performance of searching for customers, we added IP-banning tools and rate-limiting code to deal with DDOS attacks, and improved how we capture crash bug reports from our clients. We also updated our Atlassian Data Center pricing.

Additionally, we worked on some user-facing features: all of our versions now support Image Links, and sharing a public full-screen view link.

Again, all these new features required documentation and video updates. We’re very proud of our docs: we even noticed other companies using our docs to support their customers!

Last but not least, we said goodbye to myBalsamiq, our vintage Flash-based web app. This was actually a massive effort, because we wanted to give our thousands of customers plenty of time and help in migrating to Balsamiq Cloud.

Behind the scenes, we did a lot of work improving how we build our products. We now have a separate “UX & Strategy” team that helps our product teams with product design, strategy, and user research. We established an Online Services group to coordinate our DevOps efforts across products. We crafted templated checklists to follow when we build new features, we established a quarterly process for coming up with roadmaps, we officially introduced the concept of Product Managers, we started regular “Product Review Board” meetings to go over our backlogs, and more.

We also continued to focus on data privacy, by improving how we audit ourselves and shrinking the number of 3rd party vendors we send your data to. We improved Acetaia, our internal project-management tool, and added two new internal tools for sending batch emails and scheduling meetings.

We also improved Olio, our home-grown CRM system, wrote a ton of new automated tests, started adopting Typescript more and more, refactored some of our libraries so we can use npm to manage dependencies, and started tracking our AWS costs more closely by tagging everything.

On the support side of things, we finally joined our Sales and Tech support teams into a single unit. This was not as big of a change as you might think because the team had been operating like this for the last two years - we just made it official. Speaking of official, the team also codified their support style (going as far as to give it a name - “Finding the Human”) and started brainstorming more ways to improve it.

Doing actual support work, the team has taken a year-long crash course in supporting our native apps (particularly Windows and its many dependencies!), but we are hoping for a smoother year. We also kept up with Atlassian's continuous changes to their platform, and we revamped our classroom page to better assist teachers in using Balsamiq with their students.

Marketing, education, and website updates

At Balsamiq, we do very little traditional marketing. Instead, we lead with our product and our mission.

In 2020, we sponsored 173 events and hackathons around the world. We would have done more, but many events were postponed or canceled. We’re proud to share that about 50% of the events we sponsored were run by underrepresented communities in tech.

We also sponsored 7 podcasts, but decided to give away our airtime to listeners of those podcasts who couldn’t afford to sponsor on their own. Over 40 small startups took advantage of our offer, with more to come.

We met with over 50 people as part of our Office Hour program, and we got more mentors on board for the future.

We also continue to sponsor our local Ultimate Frisbee team CUSB. Our sponsorship is making an impact not just in their awesome team results, but they’re using part of the money for important educational efforts.

We suspended our newsletter from March to May because we didn’t want to take attention away from more important world matters, but were able to share behind-the-scenes news with 9,000 of you for the rest of the year.

We improved how we run marketing projects in terms of data privacy, we did 4 marketing research projects, and updated this YouTube playlist with reviews from other YouTubers.

Our website had a major facelift back in January, with a fully rewritten CSS and a much cleaner design. We improved its performance and SEO. We improved our shopping cart to allow for the new Desktop Major-Version Update licenses, we rewrote our Jobs page to make it easier to apply, and moved our blog from a subdomain to a subfolder - much harder than it sounds! 🙂

But the biggest investment of 2020 for the website was the Balsamiq Wireframing Academy (balsamiq.com/learn). Our education team has been killing it: we created a set of awesome introductory videos explaining what wireframes are, paired with a great web page about it. We wrote a lot of new articles, including one on how to start your UX career. We beefed up our Resources section, and continued to share useful UX/UI links every month. We optimized our content for search and social sharing, and integrated it with our product’s loading dialog quotes.

We spoke at several conferences, seminars and meetups, we interviewed more product people for our “The Process Behind” series, and collaborated with Paul Boag on his Lean UX podcast.

Last but not least, we made a booklet and a poster about the “10 Principles of Effective Wireframes”.

Company updates

Running a 12-year-old, 33-people-strong global company requires a lot of effort. Our admin team is the backbone of our company, tirelessly taking care of our people, as well as our accounting, legal, and tax needs.

Here are some of the projects they worked on in 2020, on top of their usual work.

We managed a few family and medical leaves, we improved our benefits by increasing the lunch vouchers and adding a welfare budget for our Italian employees, we switched dental plans and negotiated savings for our 401k plan for our US employees, we celebrated 3 ten-years-at-Balsamiq anniversaries, organized various employee gifts, reviewed the quality of our SWAG items, and explored new policies to lower environmental impact.

We had to do a lot of work dealing with cancellations of events, both those that we planned on attending, and those that we had sponsored. We closed, then safely re-opened, then re-closed our Bologna office. We wrote a CCTV policy for our office, and almost hosted a large marketing retreat there.

We did a bunch of legal projects: updating our EULA, ToS and Privacy Policy, dealing with the invalidation of Privacy Shield, reviewing and updating the Atlassian Marketplace agreement (twice!), and renewing our Trademarks.

We also did some special tax and compliance projects: a huge one on calculating and collecting sales tax in some US states, applying for a Research & Development tax rebate in Italy, applying for a Bilateral and Multilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (BAPA) with the Italian and US tax authorities, and we even came close to acquiring a competitor. 🙂

Last but not least, our admin team did a lot of personal support during the pandemic - checking in with individuals 1-1, creating dedicated channels for discussion, setting the right expectations and overall just keeping us sane.

We also worked on improving our company, what we call “Kaizen” efforts.

We organized TWO awesome virtual retreats (one and two) and started a work-shadowing quarterly program, as well as regular company workshops and professional development club meetings.

We completed a full reorganization of our wiki spaces, and revamped the format of our monthly All Hands meetings.

The biggest effort of the year, though, was starting what we called the “Professional Growth & Salary” project - we’re changing how we do those things for more scalability, longevity, and to make Balsamiq an even better place to work.

Something we’re proud of is that we managed to NOT hire anyone in 2020. We’ll probably hire a couple of people in 2021, but we might finally be approaching our company’s long-term natural size!

A peek at 2021

We’re very excited about 2021. In many ways, it should be a much easier year for us, and hopefully for all of you too!

We’ll have fewer legacy products to maintain, so we’ll finally be able to focus on innovating again, with a nice mixture of new features, bugs, and chores. Stay tuned for a lot of product goodness coming your way!

Company-wise, our main focus for the year will be to transform how we support our employees' professional growth trajectories, and how we set salaries. This is a massive project and a huge step towards ensuring Balsamiq’s scalability and longevity. We’ll share more about it along the way.

If you have any questions about anything specific, don't hesitate to ask! You can either leave a comment here or schedule an Office Hour session with me.

Thank you for making it 'till the end, friends! ❤

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UX/UI Links of February 2021 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/ux-ui-links-february-2021/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/ux-ui-links-february-2021/#respond Tue, 09 Mar 2021 19:00:25 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8243 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/ux-ui-links-february-2021/feed/ 0 Balsamiq Sponsorships Update for March 2021 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/balsamiq-sponsorships-update-for-march-2021/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/balsamiq-sponsorships-update-for-march-2021/#respond Mon, 08 Mar 2021 21:21:05 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8219 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/balsamiq-sponsorships-update-for-march-2021/feed/ 0 New Integration: Balsamiq Power-Up for Trello! https://balsamiq.com/company/news/trello-power-up/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/trello-power-up/#respond Mon, 15 Feb 2021 16:13:09 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8186 Hello friends of Balsamiq!

We’re very excited today to share with you our latest creation!

Free Trello Power-Up for Balsamiq!

It just uses the Image Link feature available on all online versions of Balsamiq Wireframes, to allow you to embed an always-automatically-updated image in your Trello cards. And it only takes a few clicks to do it!

Trello is the project management tool loved by millions of people, who use it to organize any kind of project. It helps everyone stay on the same page, just like we do with Balsamiq Wireframes. So putting the two together was a no brainer! 😀

The Balsamiq Trello Power-Up is included in your Balsamiq Cloud, Balsamiq Wireframes for Atlassian Cloud, and Google Drive subscription, there’s no additional cost. Try it out it today!

Want more details? We put together this page with links to all the docs.

Onward!

Peldi for the Balsamiq Team

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Balsamiq Sponsorships & Raffle Update for February 2021 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/february-2021-sponsorships/ https://balsamiq.com/company/news/february-2021-sponsorships/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2021 21:32:53 +0000 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/?p=8183 https://balsamiq.com/company/news/february-2021-sponsorships/feed/ 0