After trying out a few wireframing tools for my weekend hobbyist project PDF Tricks 4 Mac, I finally resorted to pencil and paper again. It is simply super fast–just take a piece of paper and start to get the user interface drawn!

Everything is in free style. No worry about an unavailable graphics of a control from the provided tool, no worry about dragging the mouse super carefully to get some components positioned, no worry about incompatibilities between different tools when sharing, and no worry about paying a fortune for the registration of some of the available tools.

Comments are easy. Just use a different colored pencil and things are quite clear. Storyboarding is simpler too. Instead of creating diagrams of wireframing windows and connect them up as a giant diagram which can barely been seen on a small laptop screen, storyboarding on paper can just easily focus on the parts of interactions: you don’t need to draw an arrow from one window to another, but perhaps only from one button to a window.

Wireframing on pencil and paper also helps practice drawing techniques. Initial drawings may be ugly and look unprofessional, as the one for my PDF Tricks 4 Mac tool below, but as practicing more and more, and gaining more experience, every one is about to create enjoyable wireframes!

Wireframe on Pencil and Paper

Modification and maintenance could cause some problems, but not for me as an amateur for the moment.

A side note on the tool: working with PDF pages can be a pain. Extracting pages, reversing papges, or concatenating two PDF documents are among the common tasks. There are commercial tools which help finish the task, but not as conveniently designed tool dedicated for the purpose. PdfTk is a powerful command line tool for this purpose, but I never remember its command line options. I think I am not alone, and this is why I think programming a wrapper utility for the tool would help others too.

The tool is now in the designing phase (yes, I am only starting by drawing its user interface). To monitor on my progress, please follow the project on GitHub.