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The 10 Best Wireframe Tools To Make Wireframes, Mockups & Prototypes

By 27/05/2019 No Comments

This will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best wireframe tools and mockup tools.

Before you have settled on a logo, sitemap, fleshed-out content or branded font, you are going to need to design a wireframe. Having a wireframe is essential to mapping out what your UX will be like for your end user.

Where will the UX essentials be positioned on the screen and in relation to one another? What will the user see first and how will the design carry their eyes across the page? Where will they expect to see common elements like help/contact buttons or an options menu? These are the kinds of questions you will answer for yourself while building a wireframe mockup for your product.

Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 10 Best Wireframe Tools

Some people may prefer the good old fashioned method of pencil and paper for coming up with a quick wireframe design. Personally, I like to save a few trees and use a dedicated wireframing app instead. I’ve picked out a few of my favorites to share with you today.

In this post I’ll share with you the best prototyping tools to include on your wireframe software shortlist and explain how UX software can help you create an app mockup that will impress any client. I will tell you what you should look for in web wireframe tools and our evaluation criteria for assessing any mockup software and provide a simple UI mockup tools comparison.

And don’t forget to check out my FAQs about website wireframes tools lower on the page! Without further ado, let’s begin:

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The Best Wireframe Tools Software List

Prototyping software isn’t hard to come by but that doesn’t mean that just anything will sport the UX tools that you need. Here’s my hand-picked list of the best wireframe tools:

  1. Sketch
  2. Omnigraffle
  3. Axure
  4. Adobe XD
  5. Mockplus
  6. Balsamiq
  7. Lucidchart
  8. Justinmind
  9. Microsoft Visio
  10. Miro

Wireframe Design FAQ

These are a few frequently asked questions that I wanted to touch on. However, if you have a question that isn’t addressed here, feel free to leave it in the comments below. Chances are, someone within the community may be able to help you.

What is wireframe UX?

Wireframe UX definition

Wireframe UX is the building blocks of software design. It visually plots where different blocks of data will appear on a screen. It will not include branding or design at this point and is only meant to convey a basic arrangement of elements.

What is wireframe software?

Wireframe software definition

Wireframe software is software that is designed to help you mock up a wireframe layout as quickly and easily as possible. Many web wireframing tools will let you drag and drop placeholder elements for images, text, banners and logos to help you get a feel for your first draft design.

What software do UX designers use?

Types of Wireframe Software

UX designers may need prototyping software, wireframing software, graphic design software, tools for research and testing, Information Architecture (IA) planning software, bug report and tracking software, and more. Many tools will handle two or more of these needs, like Sketch, which can do vector editing, prototyping, code export and collaborative feedback work.

Not looking for a UI design software at the moment? Check out our other lists of top software to manage teams, resources, and projects:

  1. Where are you in your UX project journey? If you’re already way deep into the design process, you might benefit from the best bug tracking tools on the market.
  2. If you’re struggling with just getting started at all, then some productivity help will be your biggest alley. Before you get started, you have to get motivated.
  3. If you’re looking for some Project Portfolio Management tools that are currently creating a buzz in the industry, we have that too! PPM tools are essential to any project, UX design included.

Wireframe App Comparison Criteria

What do we even look for in a mockup generator? What qualities make certain wire frame apps stand out from the rest? We have a robust set of criteria that we use when analyzing any new tool. Here is a quick breakdown of our current evaluation process.

  1. User Interface (UI): How well-designed is it? Does it offer clear displays and intuitive navigation?
  2. Usability: Is this easy to learn and master? Are there tutorials and training? Does the company offer good tech and user support?
  3. Features & Functionality: How many of the key website and app design software features and functions does it provide, and how powerful are they? Specifically, I looked for:
    1. Drag & Drop: easily add and move elements with drag and drop simplicity, allowing you to quickly create and modify wireframes.
    2. Feedback & Collaboration Tools: it’s important to be able to easily manage feedback on wireframes, with the ability to leave comments, mark up wireframes, attach files, and collaboratively build wireframes.
    3. Interactive Elements: Allows you to make an interactive wireframe (sometimes called a  “clickable prototype”, “interactive mockup”, “interactive prototype”, etc) which lets you create a clickable version of the wireframes to prototype the interactive elements.
    4. Presentation Tools: wireframes are usually presented in the initial phases of a project, either internally or to clients, so the ability to quickly convert wireframes into visually beautiful presentations is important.
    5. Revision History: Can you access previous versions to see changes and revert back to them—this saves your work so you don’t have to re-do it in the event of changes.
  4. Integrations: Does the wire frame app connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
  5. Value for $: How appropriate is the price for its features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible?

The Best Wireframe Tools Overviews

You could take a deep dive into dozens of web design tools until you find the best mockup software…but luckily, you don’t have to. I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and collected some of the best wireframing tools around.

  1. Sketch – With an intuitive vector editor, lightning fast prototyping and powerful collaboration tools, Sketch has everything you need to turn your ideas into products. It’s a reliable UX design tools. $99 for a year, including all updates. After the year is up, you still keep your base version of the software sans future patches.
  2. Omnigraffle – Create beautiful diagrams and designs with this powerful and easy to use app, featuring a noteworthy selection of stencils so that you can make your ideas come to life. Only for Mac and iOS, an OmniGraffle 7 license starts at $149.99 and includes a free 14-day trial.
  3. Axure – Axure RP 9 is a powerful way to plan, prototype and hand off to developers, all without code. At the center of the Axure RP interface is the canvas, where you create your diagrams by arranging components called widgets. Used by companies like Amazon, BBC, Target and Microsoft. Licensing starts at $29 per user per month.
  4. Adobe XD – Wireframe, design, prototype, present, and share amazing experiences for web, mobile, voice and more. Work more efficiently, collaborate easily, and create and manage your design system. The starter Plan is free but you can gain access to more functions with the Pro account, which starts at $9.99 per user per month.
  5. Mockplus – Mockplus is a desktop-based tool for prototyping mobile, web and desktop apps easily and quickly. Mockplus comes with nearly 200 components and more than 3,000 icons to save you much time and effort on design. Simply scanning a QR code lets you test your prototypes on actual device. Starts at $199 per user per year.
  6. Balsamiq – With Balsamiq Wireframes, anyone can design great web apps, desktop software, websites and user interfaces. This low-fidelity wireframing tool is fast and hyper-focused on what it wants to achieve. Starts as low as $9 per month or $90 per year and offers a 30-day-free trial for all interested parties.
  7. Lucidchart – Used by BP, L’Oréal and BMW, Lucidchart offers app making software that is intuitive and comprehensive. Create professional flowcharts and automate your work by pulling data from Google Sheets. You can give it a go with Lucidchart’s free online flowchart maker or start with a basic account for $4.95 per month.
  8. Justinmind – Create lifelike iOS and Android prototypes; integrate with apps like Sketch and JIRA; access UI kits with over 4000 elements; and more.  An all-in-one prototyping tool for web and mobile apps, Justinmind offers aN assortment of free wireframing tools as well as more robust paid plans that start at $19 per user per month.
  9. Microsoft Visio – Create flowcharts, diagrams, org charts, floor plans, engineering designs, and more, using modern shapes and templates with the familiar Office experience. Share your work easily as a secure web-based link, attachment, image, or PDF and reply to comments online. Plans start at $6.40 per user per month.
  10. Miro – Design an app wireframe, website, and more with this visual collaboration platform that lets you create, collaborate and centralize communication across your company. Engage remote teams across formats, tools and channels for strategy and planning that allows you to ship more, faster. Try their basic plan for free.

Other Wireframe Design Tools

No need to stress if you haven’t found the best wireframe software for you yet. There’s something out there for everyone and you just need to keep experimenting until you find something that sticks.

  1. ProtoPie – Piece interactions together to create realistic prototypes for any digital product in the most familiar way to you.
  2. Moqups – A streamlined web app that helps you create and collaborate in real-time on wireframes, mockups, diagrams and prototypes.
  3. HotGloo – HotGloo is a UX, wireframe and prototyping tool designed to build wireframes for web, mobile and wearables.
  4. Draw.io – Draw.io is free online diagram software for making flowcharts, process diagrams, org charts, UML, ER and network diagrams.
  5. Figma – Make your prototypes come to life by defining interactions on click, while hovering, while pressing, and more.
  6. FluidUI – With Fluid UI, ideas can be prototyped in minutes and shared instantly. Sharing, feedback and collaboration are all built in.
  7. Pidoco – Pidoco is software that lets you quickly create click-through wireframes and fully interactive UX prototypes.
  8. Marvel – Marvel has everything you need to bring ideas to life and transform how you create digital products. Placing the power of design in everyone’s hands.
  9. Gliffy – Drag and drop shapes to create stunning visuals in a few clicks. Even large diagrams come together quickly with their speedy HTML5 editor.
  10. Edraw Max – Creating flow chart, mind map, org charts, network diagrams and floor plans with rich gallery of examples and templates.
  11. Diagramo – Diagramo is an online flowchart software based ONLY on HTML5. No Flash, no Java or other plugins needed.
  12. Flinto – Flinto is a Mac app used by top designers around the world to create interactive and animated prototypes of their app designs.
  13. Antetype – All the tools you need for your daily business. Create truly responsive designs with their engine based on Flexbox.

What Do You Think About Our Best Wireframing Tools Lists?

Every good idea starts with a good wireframe—making wireframing an important step in web design. Before you can get specific, you have to plot out the larger elements of any UI project. The tools above will help you do that.

What website mockup tool would you recommend? What do you currently use now? What do you look for in a website prototyping tool? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager. I've been in the industry for more than 10 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from video virals to CMS’, flash games to banner ads and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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