A great Google Chrome extension is finally here that lets you design on the fly. LucidChart, is obviously not a free tool if you try it from their website. But probably for promotion, they have provided a Google chrome extension that lets you use their design tool, all for free. For getting started, visit LucidChart Installation.
I was searching for a simple tool to sketch my ideas. Whenever I take a new project work or fine tune a code flow that looks not so obvious, I have to start looking for a design tool to do the basic designing and have so far managed with open source design tools like Draw.io, Apache Open Office Draw and Libre Office Draw. In my previous company I had a licensed version of full blow MS Visio installed that worked quite well. But its always a pain to install these softwares, learn it and then use it.
LucidChart just works out of the box. The learning curve is not very steep. It provides you with simple Drag and Drop feature along with regular Windows/Mac shortcuts to copy, paste, select etc. It also gives you a short video screen presentation as you start using the various design components for the first time. You also get an option to export your design to pdf, png and jpg formats. And here comes the most important thing – It has an option to sync your designs to Google Drive, so you never need to delete a design and at the same time can access it from anywhere in the world !
The design tool box comes with different categories – Engineering, Entity Relation, Android, Flow Chart, Floor Plan, Mind Map and lot more . Each category providing you with the most apt design components. From usage perspective its fun to assemble the components, what you need to focus on is only logic. I won’t mind if you lack logic ! Fun aside, what the deal for you here is that the presentation of the tool is seamless. The tool is not too heavy like Visio. Agreed that Microsft Visio has tons of feature, but why should you worry about it, if you don’t need all those feature at the first place.
My verdict : This is a great extension for developer and designer community and I will really recommend it to serious designers who love designing !