This week on Product Love, I sat down with Peldi Guilizzoni, founder and CEO of Balsamiq, the low fidelity wireframing tool.
Peldi was a developer at Adobe, when a product management colleague was struggling to visually express her ideas for how a UI would work. She had the ideas but had no tool to help her turn her thoughts into a mockup.
When Peldi couldn’t find a good tool for her to use, he decided to build it. He quit in 2008 to launch Balsamiq.
Thirty-one employees later, he says he’s trying to grow as slowly as possible.
Making Software More Human
We talked about how user experience isn’t limited to just software, but the entire product experience.
For example, in Balsamiq, one of the options under the ‘Help’ tab is “What Should I Make for Dinner?” which when clicked, takes users to a page with recipes. Because people who use Balsamiq get lost in code for hours, they don’t have time to decide what to make. But more than anything, it’s just a delightfully human touch.
Balsamiq also understands how frustrating waiting for a page to load can be. To counteract that, their loading pages have inspirational quotes on them. This way, before people dive into hours of the product, they’re starting off with a positive outlook.
After they launched this feature, people requested to have it take longer to load because they wanted to read more of the quotes.
“No Going Back After This”
For the people who built Balsamiq – and for their end users – the goal should always be to create a “no going back after this technology.” A product that after you use it, you can’t imagine life without it.
For Peldi, that’s tools like 1Password, quipping that “people who still type passwords are animals.”
We also discussed the pros and cons of VC funding, learning as a motivator, and having restraint when building more features.