I needed to design my client’s web site. I didn’t want to purchase Photo Shop, or whatever the big kids are using these days. What were my options?

* Word (or, in my case, OpenOffice Writer) * OpenOffice Draw * Visio * Paper * TopDraw

Word/OpenOffice/Draw were no good. I needed pre-defined shapes that looked like web elements, not my usual black rectangles and pseudo form elements. I want to like OpenOffice Draw, but I don’t.

TopDraw is a great drawing program written back when Windows 95 was cool. It’s long out of print, but I still use it on occasion because it has exemplary ease-of-use. However, no predefined shapes. Blamo.

Paper is tempting. It’s fast, and for prototyping no one expects it to look great. But, alas, I wanted something nicer looking, and I draw like a blind baboon.

Visio. I own the 2000 version, and I’m not going to upgrade and spend more money on your company if I don’t have to Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Gates so there! But, Visio is a pretty darn good program. Trouble is, there are no web UI shapes. There’s Windows UI. But…no, no, no. I want the right tool for the job. So, I search the web for “visio web stencil”. I hope that Microsoft has released their own (apparently not).

But this fellow from Denmark has, and it’s good. He also has a nice site full of info that I could stand to read more of. Thank you, Henrik Olsen.

Visio Web Prototyping Tools <–several features of Visio I didn’t know about, clearly written. GUUUI! <–Main site