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Summary:

In a recent post I described some success I’ve been having doing prototypes of web sites with an application called Jumpchart. In response, a reader pointed out Simunicator to me, and after giving it a try, I’m impressed. Simunicator, like Jumpchart, is not intended to be […]

In a recent post I described some success I’ve been having doing prototypes of web sites with an application called Jumpchart. In response, a reader pointed out Simunicator to me, and after giving it a try, I’m impressed.

Simunicator, like Jumpchart, is not intended to be Dreamweaver. Rather than functioning as the tool you might use to finalize and beautify a site, Simunicator is for prototyping a site, and in particular, sharing your prototype with collaborators online. It’s a free, on-demand application.

In Simunicator, you can capture feedback with your site collaborators and even get e-mail alerts about milestones you identify during your collaboration. You can create templates making use of CSS, Javascript and HTML, or there are auto-templates available in the application.


One big difference between Simunicator and Jumpchart is that Simunicator provides a WYSIWYG HTML editing interface, while Jumpchart is reliant on Textile Markup Language. The WYSIWYG interface in Simunicator lets you go right to the actual look and feel of the site you intend to create, so someone you’re collaborating with can get strong visuals.

Are you planning on building a database-driven site, such as an online store where you’ll need to track inventory? If so, you’ll appreciate Simunicator’s embedded database, and data tables are simple to create.

Jumpchart has a few advantages, though. Simunicator limits you to only two projects for a free account, after which you have to start paying to use it. Jumpcharts gives you ten pages for a free account, which is typically enough to do a basic prototype of a small or medium site. The application also has a very neat and tidy feel, making it easy to collaborate with someone else on a web project. I wish both applications provided more resources with a free account.

For now, I’m using both Simunicator and Jumpcharts to experiment with prototypes for a couple of sites I’m building. They’re both on-demand web tools, and neither requires a software download, so people should try both of them.

Next on my list of collaboration tools to try is Basecamp. It’s not strictly for web site prototyping–more for collaboration of all kinds. But it does appear to allow easy file sharing, sharing of to-do lists and other things that could be useful when working with others on site designs.

Do you have any good tips on web site prototyping applications? Any free tools?

  1. I think this is a great comparison… I’m Joe, one of the creators of Jumpchart that you featured here a week ago(thanks btw). I would like to think that Simunicator is a lot of things that Jumpchart isn’t… and that’s a purposeful decision on our part. To set these two products in opposition of each other might be a natural conclusion since they both attempt to plan web based projects. From where I’m sitting, the type of person who might choose Jumpchart would never choose Simunicator. Jumpchart is about content, simplicity, and collaboration… Simunicator is about a lot of other things. Congrats to the Simunicator guys on coming up with a different approach to project planning. It’s not for us, or anyone who would use Jumpchart, but for people concentrating on interface, and process, it will be a hit.

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  2. @Joe, you’re right. I started using JumpChart for our organization last week. It’s exactly what we were looking for because it SEPARATES content from all the other elements of the site/page. We’ve been trying to rework our site and invariably, the folks doing the writing would get bogged down in process and critiquing the menus even though I kept telling them to just look at the words.

    Our site is very simple in structure, but I can see using a tool like Simunicator to break down the thinking behind a site, and a tool like JumpChart to focus purely on the content.

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  3. Just in case you’re interested in Basecamp read this article at PCworld.com Makes some interesting reading :) I do think Wrike is better in many ways

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  4. Simunicator requires IE6+ ?!?
    Ew.

    Jumpchart for me.

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  5. [...] Another Approach to Free, Collaborative Site Prototypes « Web Worker Daily [...]

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  6. Elizabethe Kramer Monday, October 29, 2007

    I agree with Joe. Those who would use Jumpcharts are probably not the same as those who would use Simunicator.

    I use Simunicator because I’m a business analyst who sees great value in creating a prototype of a website or any other type of business application. And while getting approval via collaboration is a main goal of making sure my team’s developers deliver what our customers need, Simunicator goes beyond the UI prototype. Because it integrates actual use cases I would be writing anyhow, I use Simunicator to build a completely functioning beta version of the customer’s app….extremely useful and valuable.

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  7. [...] Another Approach to Free, Collaborative Site Prototypes « Web Worker Daily “Rather than functioning as the tool you might use to finalize and beautify a site, Simunicator is for prototyping a site, and in particular, sharing your prototype with collaborators online.” (tags: webbutveckling simunicator webworkerdaily.com) [...]

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  8. Samuel, this is just pathetic! Everybody knows about Basecamp, why do you want to study this one again? Why not check some other tools. They might turn out to be even better than Basecamp. For example, check this one out. I think their “creating and updating tasks via email” feature is simply a killer.

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  9. Now this is more like it. Something for developers and something for clients. As we start to build custom modules which go outside what our core development platform can do out of the box, a coherent visual way to spec them is fantastic.

    Jumpstart is for building content and navigation in a text based website.

    Simunicator is about building web apps.

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  10. Hey take a look at http://www.spotonpm.com as an alternative to Basecamp.

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