Updated June 3, 2023
Introduction to Prototyping Tools for Designers
You must have wondered about having a beautiful website with many users visiting and holding onto your site. But, a good user base cannot be achieved overnight. It needs long hours of hard and intelligent work resulting in the final product achieved through a series of ideas, conceptualization, intense developmental processes, and trials. It involves designing and redesigning your product until the required parameters are attained. Web designing is an advanced field wherein many tools are used to reach the desired results. However, the final design cannot be achieved in a jiffy.
Users should have an idea of what the product will be like, so they need some trial or test sessions to understand what they can expect of the final product, and this is where Prototyping is useful. Have you ever heard of this term before? Do you know what Prototyping is all about? The prototype is a kind of mock drill leading to the evaluation of the final product. In this article, we will learn about prototyping tools.
When discussing prototypes, we must know that a prototype is anything but the final design. It is only a series of designs that might not be highly precise or high fidelity. We must understand that the final product is a replica of the various prototypes culminating in the final design or product. It sure is a hectic, energy-draining, and costly affair, but prototyping saves the day, for it ensures that the web design is perfect and user-friendly designs are more in demand.
Prototypes put life and colors into any web design, allowing us to test the design’s or app’s feasibility and accountability. It also helps build up user interactive sessions at various levels. The primary purpose of prototyping software is to ensure that the final product is effective and consistent. It provides that the final prototyping of a product you get is up to your expectations.
Several tools and techniques help in framing prototypes. And it is at the designer’s discretion to use any of the tools for designing their website or an app. But it is usually considered better to use low-fidelity prototypes rather than high-fidelity prototypes because they take less time and effort. Apart from this, several deciding factors exist for choosing the right prototyping tools. Depending upon the goal of your prototype, the range of your audience, and various other reasons, you tend to prefer different prototyping tools and techniques.
Top 17 Prototyping Tools for Designers
Prototyping is a design philosophy. Unless you don’t have a prototype, you cannot test your product. Until you have finally built and tested the design, which means that if anything goes wrong with your final design, you have to repeat the whole prototyping process of designing in case you have not used the prototype. Therefore, it is recommended that one should always make prototypes, test them from time to time and then establish a final design for your website or application.
Following are the designing tools that are more recommended based on their orientation of the results:
1. Mockplus R
Mockplus RP has become one of the favorite online prototyping tools for UX designers. This tool provides collaboration ability for multiple teammates to be in sync with each other and make sure all of the designers stay on the same page. It’s also a user-friendly tool for beginners. Since it has many UI kits and ready-to-use templates, you don’t need to prototype a project from scratch. The best part? Mockplus RP can do low, medium, and high fidelity to help designers prototype more efficiently. If you are new to this business, this tool is worth trying.
Axure is one of the favorites of web designers today. It is one of the most used prototyping tools for advanced prototyping projects. It is one of the fastest wireframing and prototyping generations that pays off quickly. It allows us to create Master Pages, add interactions, and use certain ready-made components from the widget library. Various other features are also attributed to this tool, including adding colors, importing images and gradients, and changing the transparency of each object in the design. While designing an interface allows complete flexibility. One of the most exciting features of Axure is its ability to generate rich HTML prototypes. However, one thing makes it a second choice: it works only on Windows and not on Mac, and the prices are quite high. But, if you are a Windows user looking for quality, you must try it.
Balsamiq is yet another tool for rapid prototyping famous among web designers today. It runs on Adobe AIR. It allows the designer to create quality roughs which is a considerably good feature in case you are not good at creating hand-drawn sketches. There are as many as 5oo icons to choose from the UI libraries. It also allows us to add basic interactions and share the prototype with your team. There are also a variety of ready-made items available in the UI libraries. It lets you create low-fidelity mockups. It also introduces BMML, which enables us to export your wireframes. There are also a variety of interactive screen elements to begin with. If you are a designer not very good at drawing sketches, then Balsamiq is your savior.
4. Keynote and PowerPoint
These are the widest-used and most accessible prototype tools available today. Both of these can be effectively used to create product wireframes and prototypes. Both are quite familiar to everyone, so you don’t need much creative ability to use these. However, Keynote and PowerPoint require third-party extensions or templates to be used this way, like Keynotopia and power mockup. Both of these are high-fidelity prototyping tools. If you are a beginner with basic design knowledge, you must start with these tools.
Moqups is a simple and free tool in the prototyping tools which are available online. It is an HTML5 Web app. It helps us quickly create pages for websites and apps by using various symbols, buttons, etc. It has a free version and has 31 components like graphs, icons, iPhone mockups, etc. It also allows you to work on multiple projects and share them with your team, export-ready projects to a pdf file, and create Master Pages. This is low to the medium-fidelity option but is high on interactivity compared to other wireframing tools. What are you waiting for? Get started!
This tool was created in 2008. It is a high-fidelity prototyping software add which can be downloaded directly to the computer instead of having to work online, and hence you can use it offline as well, apart from all tools. It has a layout similar to that of the Adobe Creative program, but it is more simplified. It also allows us to use items from UI libraries and create Master Pages. One plus point is the ability to use the add-on and the ready-made module. Justinmind is simple to use. If you have not used it, try it today.
It is an intuitive prototyping tool designed by a Polish team. It is a powerful prototyping tool. It helps to create fast and beautiful prototypes. It is a high-fidelity tool. It helps create wireframes in a very simple manner. You can use several readymade components available in the UI libraries. It lets you share your work and comment with the team members in real-time. Smart guides are also available to measure the real distance between the elements.
Images also can be edited with this tool. The end design can be converted to a pdf file also. Get your hands on this tool and make your website do wonders!
It is a free Firefox plugin that enables designers and helps them create wireframes and prototypes. It helps put high-fidelity mockups quickly. But one needs to create the visual design elements for Pencil as it is based on dragging and dropping the pre-made graphical elements. Don’t think too much; create your mockup website today.
9. Adobe Flash
Besides all prototyping tools, Adobe Flash helps produce rapid interactive prototypes but cannot be used for wireframing. However, using certain library objects and drawing tools makes creating an interactive prototype easier. It is more suitable for reproducing certain in-between states which are lacking in other tools. Recently, Adobe has introduced a new tool for developers and designers. This tool is called Catalyst, which has been reported to be better than Axure. It’s a must-try for designers like you.
Sketching out your ideas is the most cost-effective and easier option for prototyping. Although it doesn’t provide a working prototype, it allows you to visualize your ideas and work on your logic problems. It is a low-fidelity option. Sketching is a good way to start off. Then there are sketching tools like UI Stencils, which provide you with sketching pads and stencils, which help you copy the elements, icons, and buttons manually in a much easier manner.
It is also straightforward and intuitive from all the prototyping tools. You need only upload your projects in either png or PSD format and then add hotspots to change them into interactive prototypes. This tool also lets you collaborate with your team and entertain the comments. This tool also is cost-effective.
It lets you create prototypes for websites and mobile applications. You only need to upload your files in psd, png, jpg, or gifs or click pictures of the sketches. Here you can transform the static images into clickable, interactive prototypes with several animations and gestures. This tool is available for free.
This is a beautiful way to wireframe. This tool only sees a grid within the mockup-style browser window. Then you begin drawing elements with the help of the mouse, and then the controls appear for you to start manipulating. It is an effective and straightforward way to create wireframes on the low to medium fidelity option.
It helps create clickable wireframes, mockups, and interactive prototypes for websites and mobile apps. It lies between medium and high-fidelity options.
It is not exactly a dedicated wireframing and prototyping app, but that shouldn’t mean we cannot use it. We can expect reduced functionality compared to Axure. It has a standard template suit and some auto-generation features. It allows you to add simple elements to a page and generates a pdf as a final output, and it is available only for Windows.
Developing prototypes in HTML requires skills. It helps save time and money. With the use of various jQuery plugins, most of the interfaces can be represented. And with protonates functionality too is available.
17. Ante type
It is a leader in Mac prototyping apps. It helps create responsive websites, prototype mobile applications, and even some software. It has got templates for various devices and 400 ready-to-use widgets. It provides tools to create high-fidelity prototypes. There is also the feature of interacting available. Your project can also be exported as vector or pixel-based graphics and can generate CSS code.
To conclude, I will say that prototyping software is very powerful. It helps you communicate the design effectively and clearly. It enables you to prototype design ideas, test them, and get real-time user feedback. Prototyping software lets you put your ideas to the actual test, and you see how the design is coming around. This helps you get the best possible design for your websites. It lets your imagination rest before you and gives it practical shape, ensuring your customer base touches the zenith of your expectations and beyond. What are you waiting for? Get up and get started right now! You can create wonders.
This is a guide to Prototyping Tools for Designers. Here we have discussed the best 16 designing tools, which are more recommended based on their orientation of the results. You may also look at the following articles –