Top Mockup and Wireframing Design Tools for Effective UI/UX Designs
In this fast-moving world, each business person wants to have an effective Web site design that can benefit him in the future run. There are so many associated factors that define how a web site can be considered as perfect. The overall appearance is the major contributing factor in the sustainable growth of any business. Keeping this in mind, each brand does its best to put supreme beauty in its design and thus lure the attention of maximum crowd.
There are different wireframing tools and apps available in the industry that are categorized on the basis of web site, desktop, and mobile devices. This diversified range can be used as per the business needs of UI/UX designers.
What Are the Mockup & Wireframing Design Tools?
The wireframes help to create, present, and even validate the smart and interactive designs for complex Web sites, mobile apps, software applications, and everything that deals with a screen interface. The beneficial part is that you don't need to write a single line of code.
Gone are the days when the UX designers used to create paper wireframes that have switched to digital sketches with the evolution of time, and later on to the interactive wireframes and fully functional design prototypes.
The art of wireframing has improved over time and so have the wireframe tools. There is an immense range of wireframe tools available that highly influences UI/UX designs and can be used accordingly in your Web app designs.
Why Mockup & Wireframing Design Tools Are Beneficial For You
The prototyping or wireframing tools act as a good communication medium among Web site developers, interaction designers, and managers. It is an integral step of the Web and even app development process.
While designing any prototype, these tools must be an important component of the interaction designers and remain attached for the entire development process.
The rich UX is a crucial factor in this aspect and selecting perfect wireframing apps and tools can deliver you maximized results. Whether or not creating a wireframe is advantageous is no longer a question. Rather, creating wireframes is a must because they:
- Reduce the development time
- Proffer higher adoption by end users
- Help to capture user feedback earlier in the design life cycle
- Safeguard designers against the unexpected costs that may occur while revising the fully functional product
Following are a number of wireframe products that are available today.
Figure 1: The UXPIN main screen
UXPin is a free, online drag-and-drop visual editor with an enormous number of widgets and UI elements.
- Platform: Web-based
- Wireframes easily can be transformed into high-fidelity mockups.
- Craft lifelike prototypes
- Import files from Sketch and Prestashop.
- Interactive wireframes can be ready in minutes.
Figure 2: The Axure main screen
Axure is a popular wireframing tool with a robust nature; it is best known for large-scale projects. It inhibits a wide range of modern interactive prototypes.
- Prototypes without coding
- Dynamic content
- Platform: Windows, Mac
- Various UI elements, such as widgets and sitemaps
- Interactive HTML mockups
- Price: $29-$99 per month per user
Figure 3: The Penultimate main screen
Penultimate is a digital handwriting app for iPad that adjoins the pen and paper basic fee along with the strength of Evernote's sync.
- Simple and intuitive.
- Notes are accessible at any mobile device.
- Easily finds exactly what you need.
- Offers a sketchpad-style application.
Figure 4: The Balsamiq main screen
Balsamiq is a rapid wireframe tool that enables you to work fast in a smart way. The interface it carries also contains some hand-drawn features with a typical wireframe look.
- Allow widgets to drag and drop
- A detailed Web layout in a less time
- Large library of UI elements
- Third-party extensions
5. Just in Mind
Figure 5: The Just in Mind main screen
Just In Mind is an innovative wireframing app to create interactive widgets for iPhone, Android, and the Web. Drag-and-drop procedures make wireframing effortless.
- An intuitive and streamlined interface
- Wireframes for varied mobile and Web apps
- Beautiful animations and effects
- Ready-made UI libraries
- Multiple Web gestures and mobile interactions
Figure 6: Marvelapp's main screen
Marvelapp is a free prototyping app to assure that the entire design process will be completed on mobile devices.
- Easy upload of prepared sketches and screen mockups.
- Inbuilt gestures to live pen and paper ideas.
- Prototype feels like a real Web site or app.
- Design can be synced as well from Cloud storage.
Figure 7: Tapcase's main screen
TapCase is a fast and simple tool to create app prototypes taken from screen mockups and hand-drawn sketches.
- Create interactive elements while adding hotspots, picking transition animations, and linking the target screens.
- Import images with ease.
- Easily communicate with nearby devices.
Figure 8: Mockplus' main screen
Mockplus is a wireframe tool that also can be termed as a desktop-based application. It offers great ease of use with multiple platforms.
- Works well for Web site, mobile, and desktop applications.
- Clean interface
- Easy to use
Figure 9: Invision's main screen
InVision is a great tool to transform your static designs into interactive and clickable wireframes and mockups.
- Exciting options such as InVision + Sketch and InVision + Adobe.
- High-fidelity design.
- Interactive and clickable prototypes.
- Real-time design collaboration.
- Free for one active project, but may vary for more.
10. Fluid UI
Figure 10: Fluid UI's main screen
Fluid UI allows an easy integration and smooth designing of built-in Android wireframing libraries and importing.
- Option to hover over a link
- Platform: Web-based
- An extensive library
Figure 11: Protoshare's main screen
Protoshare is an online tool with a wide library of multiple elements to be used in your apps. It is of great help with interactive software and interactive wireframes.
- Prototyping features
- Fine use of custom CSS
- Easy insertion of your own elements
- Extensive drag-and-drop elements
Figure 12: OmniGraffle's main screen
OmniGraffle is a desktop and tablet application that features various design tools. It easily bashes together Web site diagrams, page layouts, wireframes, and even process charts.
- Drag-and-drop interface.
- Best suitable for prototyping on iPhone and iPad devices.
- Notes function to annotate the users.
- Platform: Mac, iPad, iPhone
Figure 13: Flinto's main screen
Flinto is a useful and easy-to-use tool to quickly create interactive wireframes and prototypes for Web, mobile, and desktop apps.
- Best choice for iOS app wireframes.
- Transition-based animations.
- Easy screen management to handle large number of app screens.
Figure 14: Moqups' main screen
Moqups is a Web-based tool that is made with the use of HTML 5 and other technologies.
- Intuitive interfaces
- Interactive wireframes
- Access control and privacy setting
- PDF export
- Google drive integration
- Real-time collaboration
Figure 15: Mockflow's main screen
Mockflow's major use is to make working prototypes. It puts great emphasis on sharing and collaboration.
- Drag-and-drop UI editor
- Layer-based design
- Ready-to-use UI components
- Various third-party templates and design components
- An online library
- Animated ads and banners
- Component creator
- Version tracking
Figure 16: Proto.io's main screen
Proto.io is a strong Web app containing tremendous functions that support rich gestures and touch styles.
- Designs can be imported from Sketch and Photoshop.
- Realistic prototypes can be made without any coding.
- Animations, interactions, and flow of the app can be tested easily.
- Mainstream actions including touch, zoom, press, slide, and many more.
Figure 17: Pidoco's main screen
Pidoco is desktop-based subscription online model. It can be installed on Linux and Windows.
- Custom templates
- Interactive elements
- Easy sketching.
- Low-fidelity clickable wireframes
- Full feature access
- Enterprise grade security
18. Pencil Project
Figure 18: Pencil Project's main screen
Pencil Project is a free and excellent wireframe tool that has immense features for creating working prototypes for different apps, ranging from desktop, Web, and mobile.
- Easy GUI prototyping
- Alternatives for export to PNG, PDF, SVG, and so on
- Linking elements on multiple pages
- An open-source wireframe tool
- Also has a Firefox extension that allows you to work in the browser itself.
Figure 19: Gliffy's main screen
Gliffy is a feature-rich online tool that allows seamless integration and allows working on any platform without thinking about browser compatibility.
- Price: Available in both free and paid versions
- Platform: Web-based
- An affordable version of Viseo
- Drag-and-drop components
- Image export
- Online collaboration
Figure 20: Framebox's main screen
Framebox is an online lightweight tool that is best known for smart wireframing and for creating smart mockups.
- Limited drag-and-drop elements
- Web page can be shared as a unique URL
- Titles and descriptions can also be given to the elements to determine their functionality
Figure 21: Flairbuilder's main screen
Flaribuilder is a smart tool that features multi-page projects. There also is an added option to select between high and low fidelity.
- Price: $99
- Platform: Mac and Windows
- Follows Adobe Air platform
- Clickable prototypes can easily be exported as HTML.
- Drag-and-drop interface to place components.
With the advent of technology, the doors are closed for traditional sketching and drawing apps. Now, drag-and-drop UI/UX design tools have become the preferred choice of most of the tech-savvy business professionals. They help you create high- and low-fidelity wireframes and prototypes. The preceding list of tools comprises best-of-the-class features that can help to generate stunning designs with significantly unique features, wherein very less cost and effort are required. The best part of using these tools is that most of them are freely available and you can try the most appropriate one as per your business requisites.
About the Author
This post has been written by David Meyer, who is associated with CSSChopper—PSD to HTML service provider as a skilled Web designer. He also loves writing meaningful blog posts pertinent to Mockup and Wireframing tools.