I’ve been playing around with the newest addition to Google Docs, Google Drawings, and I’m quite liking it. I tried drawing a few diagrams and even a wireframe, and it turns out the basic drawing interactions are just as good – in some cases even better – than what I’m used to in Omnigraffle and Fireworks.
5 reasons Google Drawings beats Viso and Omnigraffle
We know the cloud computing arguments, and they certainly apply to wireframes
- It’s live. The entire team can work on the same document and see each other’s work instantly
- The wireframes live in the cloud, no sending files around, no outdated documents
- The risk of losing data is zero. It saves for every edit you make
- It’s free
- Most people already have a Google account, so no sign up required
We need stencils
One thing was missing though: Stencils. Omnigraffle has stencils coming out of its ears, and Fireworks has some excellent built-in ones. But Google Drawings in its current early and simple form simply doesn’t have it. So I made one.
Leaving the stencils in the gutter
An interesting limitation is the fact that
- there’s no stencil library function and
- you can’t easily copy and paste from one document to another.
One solution, it seems, is to clone one of the wireframe kits and thereby also cloning the stencils into each document. To not print or export the stencils, I’ve left them in the gutter area of the document. Seems to work quite okay.
Kind of blue
I’ve been wanting a blue kit since I left a project years ago where we used blue stencils (the idea was Peter’s). As you may have experienced, some customers simply don’t understand wireframes. The blue color gives that well-known blueprint feel, and shouldn’t prompt questions like “I like it, doesn’t it need a splash of colour?”
To make it even easier for you (ehm, me) I’ve begun making simple starting point templates.
Main blank template
Product detail page
Item list view
They’re all in this shared folder on Google Docs, and it will be updated when there are new templates. If you make one, let me know and I’ll add it to the folder so everyone can use it.