We already discussed some great UI design software options in another article. Now, it’s time to go back to basics. In fact, the first step for any UI/UX designer is to consider the effectiveness, costs, and timeframe of the project from the drawing board. Therefore, this gives prototyping an essential role in the whole process, which is why choosing the best wireframe tools could make said process easier.
The process of wireframing itself is a visual representation of the final result: it will showcase what exactly will be displayed on the website and helps communicate that information. In other words, wireframe tools are the tools needed to create a battle plan.
In this discussion, we will review the 8 best wireframe tools for prototyping and mockups that most designing agencies prefer to use for building the final product.
Wireframe Tools Quick Overview
- Mockplus – Design, Prototype & Collaborate Better and Faster
- Moqups – Online Mockup, Wireframe & UI Prototyping Tool
- Balsamiq– Focused Low Fidelity Wireframing Tool
- Template Toaster – Dynamic Website Wireframe Tool
- Framer – Visual Design For The Busy Creative
- Wireframe.cc – The Simplest And Most Organized Tool In The Shed
- Axure RP – Powerful Prototyping Tool And Developer Handoff
- Cacoo – From Flowcharts To Wireframes: A Tool For Every Diagram
The newly developing tool for prototyping and wireframing Mockplus takes a big piece of the marketing cake. It’s simple to use, responsive and enjoyable to work with. Mockplus allows the final designs to be previewed and shared on mobile devices and to publish them remotely. The tool is perfect for prototyping all sorts of apps, including ones for mobile, web and desktop. Mockplus offers unlimited prototypes, reviewing and commenting, testing on real devices. It also allows you to publish your work on cloud and sync, to export and print.
The product works with Sketch designs and integrates Photoshop, Axure, Adobe XD
- Available for: Windows, Mac, iOs, Android, Sketch
- Prising: Three plans; Individual $199 Annually, Team $1999 Annually, Enterprise $9999 Annually
Mockplus’s website includes an entire help section of tutorials on how to get started.
Moqups is a stream-based web app developed to create and collaborate in real-time. It’s specialized in creating wireframes, prototypes, mockups, and diagrams. The tool works in Cloud remotely and makes it easy to upload or download your files anytime on any device. Its features include a built-in library with popular icon sets, ready-to-use Stencils, drag-and-drop image import, an extensive range of fonts and etc.
- Pricing: Two Plans; Personal $14 Monthly, Creative Team $22 Monthly. It also offers a custom Enterprise plan by requesting a quote.
You could start mockup with this tool easily with these tutorials and resources.
As we already mentioned in the tool’s title, Balsamiq is a low fidelity wireframe tool that gives the experience of sketching on a drawing board. It focuses on the foundations so one could easily put their ideas to order before narrowing the specifics for the project.
The tool offers open-source so users could easily modify if needed, however, it is still very beginner-friendly and intuitive to use. The software supports integration with Google Drive and Jira. On the downside, Balsamiq export wireframes as static files, so keep that in mind.
- Available for: Online
- Pricing: $9 monthly
If you are interested in trying out Balsamiq, these tutorials can help you with the software from beginner to expert.
TemplateToaster is exactly what a wireframe tool needs to be- without unnecessary complications, it’s easy to use software suitable for all skill levels. It gives you the ability to generate templates for popular CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and Joomla. Its compatibility also includes WooCommerce, Blogger, OpenCart, PrestaShop and more. This is just for the creation of quick themes, there is always the option to start from scratch as the software allows you to create HTML design templates for static pages as well.
Above all, the tool also offers essentials such as compliance with web standards, responsive templates, drag and drop WYSIWYG editor, easy image-editing and the ability to create new widgets and regions.
On the downside, once you upload the templates you won’t be able to edit them anymore.
- Available for: Windows Only (MAC through Virtual Machines)
- Pricing: Two Plans; Standard Edition $49; Professional $99
TemplateToaster also offers detailed tutorials to help you start.
The next three Photoshop Alternatives we’re going to talk about are mostly for wireframing and mockups. Easily the tool of the future, Framer X grants an easier way to design. In fact, this is thanks to its automated features without the usage of layer organizing or grouping. It offers automated layout design, vector editing, and premade components and logical tools for designing. Framer X also allows reordering icons, grids, and entire sections while everything else adapts accordingly. In addition, the tool is perfect for prototyping smooth flows, slide-in menus, and other detailed transitions thanks to its physics engine.
- Available for: Mac Only
- Pricing: Two Plans; Individual $12 Monthly, Small Teams $79 Monthly
In the meantime, Framer’s blog offers an entire catalog of tutorials and resources for beginners and advanced users.
Wireframe.cc is the simplest and most organized tool in the shed that offers an extremely clean interface and the freedom to sketch the rawest ideas to build upon. In other words, all you need is your mouse and few ideas to quickly start and escalate your wireframing to amazing results. Think of this as a sketchbook where you could start off instantly instead of taking out the canvas, brushes, paint and all the big tools you’ll need for a project.
The free version is exactly that- since you won’t be able to create a user account your wireframes will appear public by default. With the paid version, however, your wireframes will stay secure and each will generate a unique URL that you could later share with your co-workers.
- Available for: Online software, supports the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
- Pricing: Free Plan; Solo Plan #16 monthly; Trio Plan $39 monthly, Enterprise $99 monthly.
This tool is amongst the most preferable wireframe tools for its capability to plan, prototype and handoff to devs all without coding. The software has been around for a decade to test designs and to help you validate them with your team in order to make better decisions. Additionally, it offers a built-in library that you can use to drag and drop various elements from onto your wireframes. Amongst its strengths is the freedom for mobile testing and the creation of high fidelity results.
- Available for: Mac and Windows
- Pricing: Pro $29 per user/monthly; Team $49 per user/ monthly; Enterprise (inquiry)
Axure also offers step by step video tutorials to quickly get up and running.
Cacoo is a diagramming tool that packs real-time collaboration and a vast collection of templates for wireframing and creating mockups. It has it all, from brainstorming ideas on the drawing board to visualize them in wireframes. For teamwork, the software offers revision history, on-diagram comments, multiple presentation tools, and in-app notifications.
The tool also includes network architecture diagrams, business process flows, marketing flowcharts, and other essential use cases. It doesn’t offer offline mode but it integrates with Google Drive, Visio, Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox and many more.
- Available for: Online
- Pricing: $6 monthly for monthly payment, $5 monthly for annual payment.
Similar to Axure RP, Cacoo also has a video tutorial gallery to get you started.
In conclusion, the old school method of pencil and paper is always a safe solution, but in terms of editing and collaboration, this method might get messy. This is why it would be even safer, not to mention more efficient to have a few wireframing tools on your shortlist. Depending on the simplicity, what sort of features one could be looking for, these wireframing tools were the once we chose that cover it all. After that, we hope we inspired you to try any of them and enjoy sketching your ideas.
Are there any wireframing tools that you enjoy working with and wish we have included? Please let us know in the comments.