During agile project planning meetings, we usually find ourselves having to skecth a mockup of the user interface in order to make sure that both us and the client understood what will be done, and to improve that discussion as well.
If you’re on-site with your client, it’s a no brainer, just pick up a piece of paper, a pencil, and draw it up. But what if you’re on opposite corners of the world? One way would be to use a video camera to capture it, but usually live video over the web is low resolution, which would make it impossible to fully see what you’re trying to picture. You would have to take pictures, and pictures are not that easy to modify anyway.
I find myself to be in that very position, having been doing projects for people around the globe through GetAFreelancer.com and other freelance websites. One of the guys I worked with, Ken Naza, pointed me to a great software he uses for creating interface mockups. Balsamiq is a simple flash tool that you draw in using pre-built components, pretty much like crafting a mockup in Visio, and then export to XML. You and your client can send that XML back and forth and refine the mockup till you’re both happy with it.
Here are some sample J2ME and web mockups I’ve crafted with it, for your viewing pleasure. I’m totally pleased by them, and they look remarkably similar to the ones in “Agile Web Development with Rails”