My area is UX/UI Design for SaaS (Web & Mobile): UX Audit, Information Architecture, Interactive Wireframes (Balsamiq, Figma), Design Mockups & Design Systems (Figma) For 15 years I've helped a lot of teams and companies create and improve their products' design. I easily handle complex concepts and a large amount of information. The tools most often used for rapidly creating complete wireframes include Balsamiq, Figma, and Sketch, but you can use many others for this task. Despite the rough appearance and simplicity of a website wireframe, a more sophisticated tool can make your work much easier. Before anything else, focus on the fact that wireframes need to be practical. Not sure if Balsamiq, or Figma is the better choice for your needs? Check Capterra’s comparison, take a look at features, product details, pricing, and read verified user reviews.
Venturing into the field of UX designing as a beginner commands a good starter as a newbie. Creating the most beautiful prototypes is the order of the entire UX designing process. With all that in mind, missing out on the best UX design, prototyping tools can be complicated altogether. First, it means that you will spend just a reasonable amount of time undertaking the entire process. Secondly, but more importantly, you will pay extra costs for the whole process. But everyone always looks towards spending optimum prices or subsidizing them so that the project they undertake goes hand in hand with the total costs as well as the time spent. But the quest remains; how do you go about finding the best prototyping tools for UX design? Which tools are more suitable to take you through?
One critical factor you should consider is that some of these tools are purposed for user flow demonstration and early user testing. On the other hand, other prototyping tools are generally designed to give all your prototypes the best. The devices will provide features that allow captivating user interactions, teamwork, and the generation of code ready for handover to developers. The choice of prototyping tools in UX design majorly relies on the time needed for user testing, the tool’s user, and the strategies the tool follows in generating a consistent workflow.
There are several things to factor out. More importantly, if you’ve been seeking some of these best prototyping tools, you should seek no more. In this piece, we have compiled a good number of them, each with an extensive elaboration of what you need to have. Let’s dive right into them and start with Adobe XD.
If you are in search of a full stack prototyping tool, Adobe XD can be a perfect option. Adobe XD enables the creation of designs from scratch. Apart from that, you can create link pages together in clickable prototypes. Just a single tool is enough to share every work you do. Moreover, you can get one at affordable rates and get started right away. Just like any other design editors, Adobe XD is easier to use, especially when you are familiar with it. It provides a range of beautiful tutorials and downloadable files that are critical to getting you going. XD prototypes are suitable for desktop, mobile, or tablets. With it, you can be sure of coming up with advanced experiences.
A remarkable fact about this UX design prototyping tool is that it can link different components more quickly. Inbuilt previews are a powerful top-up of what you need in any prototyping tool. Moreover, the previews allow you to keep track of or record any action you have taken in the prototype. It works perfectly well in combination with various applications such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
If you need an almost immediate transformation of your already existing designs into a clickable prototype, you should give InVision a try. The tool does it well by applying hotspots to wireframes. With considerable pricing rates, you will be able to navigate it and learn more from its simple design. More importantly, the tool is quicker and also it can link up with some other useful tools. With InVision, you can always import wireframes and arrange a proper way according to the user flows. Most essentially, it stands out as one of the best prototyping tools at the early designing stages. It will produce low to middle fidelity prototypes mostly for desktops and mobile.
You probably won’t realize how perfect prototyping in UX design can be until you discover and start using Stretch. The development of Stretch was designer-based. More importantly, it supports the creation of systems based on vectors and fast viewing of clickable prototypes.
Notably, the prices are wallet-friendly, and you can always go for it at the beginner stage. It has basic and easier-to-use features. Stretch is only supported in macOS and supports the sharing of prototypes via links. Additionally, it also has cloud storage where you can involve your team players. While most people wouldn’t think of it as the very first tool when considering UX design prototyping tools, Strech stands out to provide features that are friendly to starters.
Another considerable tool for your UX design prototypes is Figma. It is a full-stack design tool that supports several design processes such as wireframing and prototyping. You can get it in an annual plan and at affordable rates. However, you get it free for three projects and two editors. Moreover, it is user-friendly and has a beautiful interface that provides an easier way to navigate. If you have been a consistent Sketch user, probably Figma wouldn’t give you a hard time. Even with no background knowledge of coding, you will be able to use Figma without straining. It works perfectly well for Windows and macOS devices.
One of the most excellent prototyping tools is Balsamiq. With the tool, you can always enjoy rapid prototyping as well as wireframing. At affordable monthly subscriptions, you will have the ability to link screens to showcase the simple user flows. More importantly, it is easy to understand and produce a refined layout of your applications.
Additionally, you can access it as a web application for a browser of your choice. It functions properly with Windows and macOS. Even though it has a low fidelity, it has a personality you will always like. It is a powerful tool for managing your entire UX conversations.
If you always thought of confining yourself to a single UX design prototyping tool, there is yet more to explore; UXPin, just like any other powerful full-stack UX platform, creates the most outstanding prototypes. It is billed at affordable rates, and you can always use it to do even more than you desired. Notably, the UXPin is code-based but requires only simple learning to get everything on its toes. It is one more platform that outputs high-fidelity prototypes that are undifferentiated from the exact thing. It has distinct support for massive projects and extended teams of developers. You can find one and get your UX design prototyping to run smoothly.
Another perfect UX design prototyping tool is Flinto. With this tool, you have all the assurance of creating high-fidelity and user-friendly experiences. It has consistent updates, and it is charged on an annual basis. It holds similarity with Sketch, and it is easy to learn, given that there are many educative channels and tutorials about it. The tool is supported on Mac and stands out to be the most popular tool. The end-product is always a high-fidelity prototype. Moreover, it supports the importation of designs from Figma and Sketch. You can share it through links.
Landing the best, cheap, and powerful prototyping tools requires a greater sense of skill. Origami is amongst the renowned tools that were created by Facebook designers. More importantly, it has dramatically been substantial to applications like Messenger and Instagram. Origami is free and is fit for experienced designers in UX designing. Moreover, it isn’t more suitable for starts but can as well work out correctly if you dig deep into educative tutorials about it. Therefore, if you have no background knowledge in UX designing, you don’t have to worry because you can always learn how to go about it by exploring a range of tutorials and educative videos. Origami has the potential of creating the best prototypes fit for your desktop, mobile, or tablet.
Balsamiq Figma Figure
The drive under the design of this prototyping tool is advanced interactivity in prototyping and sustainable teamwork. The tool is always billed annually, and you will access it free for up to 3 projects with two editors. Framer works perfectly well in fast-speed browsers such as Chrome. The prototypes are interactive and of high fidelity. The tool supports inline commenting, one-click sharing of prototypes, and much more. Moreover, it is great for any team of designers who focus on understanding how developers receive their design work.
Axure has a lot of UX design features incorporated into it. It is billed annually, and it’s a look-alike of other substantial prototyping tools. Azure supports any user regardless of whether they have coding skills or not. Even though it requires no coding skills, it can be a good idea to acquaint yourself with a range of front-end coding concepts and start with a clear understanding. Axure is available for macOS and Windows platforms, and like any other good prototyping tool, it is good for producing quality prototypes suitable for the tablet, desktop, and mobile. Moreover, it is loaded with lots of features that support concurrent editing and shared access to files in the cloud server. Just like Sketch, Axure is a perfect option for developers and has a simple, understandable interface.
There is yet another powerful prototyping tool, and it is Webflow. The tool has a considerable billing rate and has simple usage requirements. It allows shared access. Any team can always make their prototypes available and accessible to any other member. It will give you the perfect experience you have always craved for.
In UX design, the choice of prototyping tool matters a lot and, to some extend, determines the quality of your prototype. While there is a range of these tools, it is always essential to pick out the best so that our entire work can be of high quality. Before you choose a prototyping tool in UX design, it is always important to consider the aims of your prototypes, the kind of teamwork you will be involved in, and knowledge about tour areas of concern. Generally, the above-highlighted tools and many more will give you a perfect prototyping experience.
Originally published at: best prototyping tools
Wireframing in UI/UX Design is one of the most crucial steps which involves visualizing the skeleton of digital applications. A wireframe is a layout of a product that demonstrates what interface elements will exist on key pages. It is a critical part of the interaction design process.
A wireframe is generally a monochromatic drawing that’s created in the design phase of Design Thinking Process. It provides a blueprint of the page structure, layout, information and functions. This in turn gives a clear idea to the stakeholders about the functioning and visual representation of application.
1. Why do UI/UX designers use Wireframes?
As part of the User-Centered Design process, wireframes are used at the beginning of the design phase. Similar to how an architect first thinks of the blueprint of a building and decides the relative positioning of different rooms with respect to each other. Before even thinking of interior design, during Designing Mobile and Web App wireframes designers visualize the whole skeleton for the digital application.
Balsamiq Vs Figma Reddit
Some more reasons why wireframes are important:
a. Saves Time and Helps Gathering Feedback
For a User Interface and User Experience Designer, gathering feedback from the end-user is very important. Wireframes help in achieving this. As they are devoid of color, which makes it easier for the end-user to appreciate the UX design functions.
Figma Axure Balsamiq
b. Creating Accurate Designs
Different types of wireframes help a UI/UX designer create accurate blueprints of his designs. As the designer can review where each content will be placed.
2. What are the different types of Wireframes?
The three common types of wireframes are:-
1) Low Fidelity Wireframe
2) Medium Fidelity Wireframe
3) High Fidelity Wireframe
a. Low Fidelity Wireframes (Lo-Fi)
They are also known as paper wireframes, which are created roughly. They do not contain detailed grids, scales, or pixels. But, functions, contents, headings, topics are present in a raw form without an accurate structure.
b. Mid-Fidelity Wireframes (Mi-Fi)
These types of wireframes can be commonly used for communication with the stakeholders and end-users. Mid-fidelity wireframes contain grid, scale, and pixel hence, they are more accurate than low-fidelity wireframes. This makes it one of the most used types of wireframes among the UI/UX designers.
c. High Fidelity Wireframes (Hi-Fi)
Low Fidelity and Mid Fidelity wireframes are devoid of feature images and written content. They make an appearance in high fidelity wireframes. Images are present in the form of a big “x” in enclosed boxes and written content is present as vertical lines in enclosed boxes. Hence this type of wireframe contains the complete blueprint of the design and is the most accurate.
3. Types of Wireframing tools
Wireframes can be simply hand-drawn but are often put together using software like AdobeXD, Figma, Sketch, Balsamiq to provide an on-screen layout. Using such tools you can create wireframes that are interactive in nature as well where you can showcase the interactions between screens and also quick usability testing or heuristic evaluation.
This web-based application not only allows a UI/UX designer to create quick wireframes but also helps in keeping them organized. Figma allows the designer to share his blueprints to maintain communication among the stakeholders and end-users.
Widely used tool among UI/UX designers as it is quick and easy to use. Works majorly on Mac systems.
Known for its multipurpose functions. There are no limitations to creating the number of wireframes. This allows designers to create an unlimited number of blueprints on AdobeXD with various free wireframing kits available.
This is a tool specifically made for wireframing and not anything else similar to other tools listed above. Specifically for non-designers who are starting to know more about UX/UI Design get to know about this.
To draw paper wireframes and capture them is designers’ workflow, the community at Designerrs has been using UX Journal as part of the UI/UX Design Training program, to capture all wireframes in one place for a typical UX/UI Design Project. Check more about the UX Journal here.
4. Advantages of Wireframing
From a practical perspective, the wireframes ensure the page content and functionality are positioned correctly based on user and business needs.
1. Wireframing provides an early visual that can be used to review with the client. Users can also review it as an early feedback mechanism for usability tests.
2. Wireframes clarify the features of the product. A wireframe provides clear communication to a client how these features will function, where they will appear on the specific page and how useful they might actually be.
5. Disadvantages of Wireframing
As the wireframes do not include any visual details or account for technical implications, it is not always easy for the client to grasp the concept at first.
The designer will also have to communicate personally and explain to support the wireframe. But still, its advantages outweigh the disadvantages and it is commonly used by UX/UI Designers in the industry as part of their Design Process.
Wireframes should be used early in a project to get user and client approval on the layout of key pages and the navigation. This will provide the project team, specifically the designers, confidence in moving forward. Wireframes will also save considerable time and money in the testing and amends phase later in the project.
Also for digital wireframing, there are various wireframing kits available in different tools to fast forward converting paper to digital wireframes. Figma is one of the most powerful UI/UX tool in current times for easy collaboration with your design team members. Wireframing collaboratively with Figma is a much easier task than other tools while remote collaboration.
Want to know about the difference between UI and UX? Clear your myths about UI/UX Design and get prepared to jumpstart your career as UI/UX Designer. Also here are some most useful questions to prepare yourself for UI/UX Designer Job Interviews.
To learn more about UX/UI Design, Design Thinking, Conversational UX Design, and Virtual Reality UX Design, you can check out the Courses at Designerrs Lab and watch videos about UX UI Design at Designerrs Youtube channel. Our articles are written with utmost dedication and are based on research done by Designerrs Learning Experience Team.