Top 12 Best Wireframe Tools To Make Your Design A Success

Review of the best Wireframe Tools and Mockup Tools for UI/UX Designing of Apps and Websites:

In this post, we will discuss the top 12 Wireframing tools available in the Software market today.

Before digging deep into this topic, we need to understand what is Wireframing & why it is a must in Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

Wireframing is a: 

  • Mock up/ rough Sketch that showcases the look & feel the User Interface of a Software Product (Color, Layout, Controls)
  • Defines the navigation structure of the Software Product
  • Helps refine the requirements by bringing out the specific behavior of the System
  • Explicitly enables the validation of the requirements with all the Stakeholders
  • A simulation that aids the users to conceptualize Software Requirements.
  • Brings in a huge factor of User interactivity & responsive design.

Wireframe Tools

To understand the need for wireframing more clearly, consider the below conversation between a Business Analyst who defines Software Requirements for a Top IT firm & a Retail client who has contracted with the firm to develop a Grocery App that would enable the customers to purchase Grocery items from their mobile devices.

Business Analyst: “Hi Greg, today I would like to discuss the Requirements for the ‘Your Offers’ section that the Marketing Department has been envisioning to have in the Grocery App. Can we discuss the high-level User Interface Requirements for the same?”

Client: “I don’t think that would be necessary. I think we will give out feedback on the User Requirements once your development delivers the first build. We will discuss this during User Acceptance Test (UAT)”.

More often than not, this exact problem is faced by many client-facing Product Managers/ Business Analysts during the Requirements gathering process.

In the above case, the look & feel of the User Interface of the Grocery App is left to the sole discretion of the designers/developers who do the best guess work for the Client only to find that the Client is not happy with the User Design after the first build/iteration of the Product is delivered.

So how can we eliminate this discrepancy? There are a lot of Wireframing tools that serve this purpose and help freeze the requirements upfront.

Traditionally most of the Requirement Engineers use two type of Wire Framing Paper & Electronic. Though Paper Wireframing is a Cheap, fast & low tech way of defining User Interface design, it is far from feasible to accurately depict the navigation structure when there are a lot of screens involved. It becomes a hassle to execute & manage UI requirements in such a scenario.

The electronic Wire Frame tools overcome this difficulty and make the life of the Business Analysts/Product Managers easy.

Most of us have used Basic Microsoft PowerPoint for Quick Wireframing at some point in or career. Haven’t we? But there are several disadvantages to this and a few of them are mentioned below

  • The default controls might not be sufficient for the product that is being designed
    • Take an example of a using a list box control for a Website which cannot be dragged & dropped with a single click using Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Redo the User design to fit into different aspect ratios for Desktop & Handheld devices like Tablets & Mobile
  • Inability to experience the look & the feel of the User Design in different devices like desktop & tablets with a single click
  • Ability to load the context specific controls like Android Menus or Windows 8 App bar while designing Wireframes for the specific devices.

Due to the above disadvantages, most of the organizations prefer to use specialized tools for rapid, quick & hassle free Wire Framing. We have analyzed and arrived at top 25 tools currently being used at top IT firms.

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=>> Let us know if you want to add any other mockup tool in the list.

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Best Wireframe, Prototyping, and Mockup Tools and Apps

Here we go!

The list of best open source free and commercial Wireframing tools for UI/UX design of your Apps and Websites.

 #1) Balsamiq Mockups

Balsamiq Mockups Logo

Supported Platforms: Desktop & Cloud

Free Trial: 30 Days

Cost: $12-$89 Per Month

  • Provides an easy drag & drop option for several UI elements from buttons to lists
  • This tool lives up to its selling point of “Painstakingly simple” by being extremely User-friendly to sketch Wire Frames for Web Desktop & Mobile Applications
  • Provides an ability to collaborate with other User/Stakeholders and receive feedback on Wireframes
  • It can be purchased as a standalone desktop application (Windows/Mac) for $89 for single User (Multiple machines) with free minor version updates
  • Cloud-based Subscription can be purchased for a mere $12/month for unlimited users & mock-ups per active project. It provides Flexibility to the cancel subscription anytime
  • Has an option to Integrate seamlessly with Google Drive
  • Plug-in options are available for Atlassian Confluence server, Cloud, JIRA Server & Cloud

To more about this tool, check here

#2) UXPin Mockups tool

Uxpin Logo

Supported Platforms: Cloud

Free Trial: 30 Days

Cost: $19-$98/ month

  • Comes with 1000+ pre-built UI elements for the Web, Mobile & Cloud based Wireframes
  • Provides an ability to implement interactive designs.
  • Supports importing of files from Sketch & Photoshop for rapid prototyping.
  • Regular & consistent updates are pushed for bootstrap, IOS, Android & Windows Wireframe libraries. This great feature helps the user concentrate more on the functionality rather than on the intricacies of different OS system UI changes.
  • Ability to instantaneously customize existing UI elements by adding custom CSS code snippets into UXPin editor.
  • Helps manage iterations/versions with a single click that ultimately eases the design decisions.
  • Facilitates User interaction like hovering, transition & drop down selection
  • Option to customize typography & background of UI elements
  • There is an option to define adaptive breakpoints from iPhone to desktop screens
  • Basic version with a minimalistic interactions & export options is available for $19/month/User
  • Professional version with advanced interactions & UI elements, export to PDF & HTML, Photoshop imports & custom styling is available for $29/month/User
  • A most advanced collaborative version with an ability to documents, review, Team library, project status & usability testing is available for $98 (3 users)

To more about this tool, check here

#3) Fluid UI

Fluid Logo

Supported Platforms: Cloud

Free Trial: Unlimited with feature constraints

Cost: $8.25-$41.5/ month

  • Comes with 16 pre-built UI elements for the Web, Mobile & Cloud based Wireframes
  • Gives flexibility for the user to interact with the UI design targeted for different screens like Mobile, tablet, desktop & wearables (Apple watch, Android Wear, Galaxy Gear, Pebble)
  • Provides capability to add transitions & animations to the wireframe
  • There is an option to collaborate as a team with stakeholders by sending invites as soon as the wireframe is completed & receive feedback
  • Provides version maintenance capability
  • Users can get feedback using live video calling capability and a Skype-like chat feature
  • There is an option to test the prototypes on mobile devices
  • A QR code is generated for each project that lets the user retrieve the prototype in mobile devices

To more about this tool, check here

#4) Hot Gloo

Hot Gloo Logo

Supported Platforms: Cloud

Free Trial: 7 Days

Cost: $13-$54/ month

  • Helps create interactive & responsive wireframes from pre-built UI widget library (2000 UI elements) with support for more than 5000 icons
  • Optimized for different screens right from desktop, mobile, tablets to wearables
  • Wireframes can be sent as preview links to the clients who can seamlessly interact with the wireframe & provide review comments
  • Option to work collectively on a project and invite coworkers to the account and collaborate in real-time
  • Robust documentation reduces the learning curve for the user

To more about this tool, check here


#5) InDesign CC

InDesign CC Logo

Supported Platforms: Windows, Mac

Free Trial: 30 Days

Cost: $9-$79/ month

  • Rich UI widget library that lets user create interactive PDF that is used as a wireframe for mobile app or website
  • Ability to create custom library of UI elements that can be reused in successive designs
  • Support for transitions, animations, video & transition state
  • Ample Adobe stock assets that include images, graphics, videos by using InDesign Search
  • Capability to publish and distribute wireframes online for review & feedback with support for desktop & mobile browsers
  • Provides an option to track team performance

To more about this tool, check here

#6) Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Visio Logo

Supported Platforms: Windows, Cloud (Office365)

Free Trial: 60 days

Cost: $13/ month (Office365), $299-$589(Desktop versions)

  • Easy to use Microsoft tool that provides all the basic elements to create wireframe
  • Familiar interface similar to Microsoft apps like Excel & Word greatly reduces the unfamiliarity of new product & increases the learning curve
  • Ample support for 3rd party plugins which helps the user export the wireframe as HTML
  • Can be accessed through Citrix client for dynamic licensing but at the cost of performance
  • Heavy update/upgrade process that takes toll on the system performance
  • Support for Project Collaboration through co-authoring, commenting, annotation & skype support

To more about this tool, check here

#7) Pidoco

Pidoco Logo

Supported Platforms: Cloud

Free Trial: 31 days

Cost: $12-$175/ month

  • Ability to create interactive wireframes with additional support for touch gestures, device motion & location data.
  • Capability to collaborate with team & edit the wireframes in real-time along with other team members
  • Version maintenance, CR tracking & comment history views are a big plus in this product
  • Export prototypes as HTML, Vector graphics, RTF/Word, PDF, PNG, screen flow PNG
  • Provides capability to reuse the custom designed UI elements
  • Simplistic interface helps the user learn about the product easily and increase productivity
  • There is an option to perform usability tests with prototypes using on-site & remote testing methods
  • Integrates with apps like Planio & JIRA and provides option to connect with wiki using add-on functionality

To more about this tool, check here

#8) Penultimate

Penultimate Logo

Supported Platforms: iPad

Cost: Free

  • Unlike the other e-prototype tools, this app helps the user maintain the basics of wireframing by helping users design screens for iPad directly in the device
  • Synching of the design ideas with other users of penultimate is very easy & seamless
  • Helps user view the wireframes in computer & mobile devices seamlessly
  • Even though the content is handwritten in iPad, the text is still searchable.
  • The major advantage is that this app is available free of cost from App store

To more about this tool, check here

#9) Protoshare

Protoshare Logo

Supported Platforms: Cloud

Free Trial: 30 days

Cost: $29-$59/ month

  • This tool provides all the features expected in a Wireframing application with additional collection of extensive wireframe stencils and widget library for rapid wireframing
  • It becomes easy to export the prototype to the web or a specification document
  • This Cloud deployed application makes it easy to use the application in desktop and handheld devices with zero need for maintenance
  • Integrated with inbuilt feedback framework that makes it easy to share comments with other stakeholders

To more about this tool, check here

#10) Pencil Project

Pencil Project Logo

Supported Platforms: Windows, Mac & Linux

Cost: Free

  • Provides multitude of built-in shapes collection for the users to select for Desktop & Handheld device UI wireframes
  • With a simple guided installation, users can quickly prototype using this app
  • Options to export to different file formats like PNG, HTML, PDF, SVG, Open Office/LibreOffice text documents (ODT)
  • Seamless ability to search for clip art from the web using the clip art browser tool and add them to build better wireframes. Vector format lets the scaling of the UI elements to appropriate sizes
  • Helps build the user architecture by linking UI elements to a specific page. Greatly helps the user to define the navigation structure of the application and create interactive wireframes
  • In addition to being an open source tool for different platforms like Windows, Linux & Max, it is also available as a plug-in for Firefox

To more about this tool, check here

#11) Flair Builder

Flair Builder Logo

Supported Platforms: Mac, Windows & Cloud

Free Trial: 30 days

Cost: $19/month

  • JustinMind server frequently updates the UI libraries that consists of a massive collection of pre-built UI libraries designed for Android, IOS & other mobiles
  • Create custom UI libraries & push to the server for reusability
  • Enterprise UI library specifically targets enterprise apps like Oracle Fusion or SAP UI libraries
  • Helps build highly interactive app wireframes for wearables devices
  • The cool features that differentiate JustinMind from other tools is the ability to insert HTML, Docs, Videos & Online widgets
  • Supports template creation, custom styles, Google Font integration and integration with images & SVG files from Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch
  • Unique wire frame design using parallax scrolling and other effects such as floating menus & slide-in layers
  • Publish, review & commenting system with support for online & offline comments
  • Integrates with testing tools by simulating real data and provides a very good online documentation
  • Export to Interactive HTML, documents & images
  • Provides auto generated site map of wireframes and supports collaborative prototyping
  • Supports Advanced User Management & Integration with LDAP

To more about this tool, check here

Now that we have discussed the top 12 wireframe tools in this article the Million-dollar question is which one would one go for? That question is better answered based on an organization’s requirement & budget allocation.

Conclusion

We analyzed the features, pricing, licensing options for each & every tool and the final decision should be taken after the thorough evaluation.

If we have missed out any Wireframe tool here, your suggestions and experiences are most welcomed!

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Feel free to contact us to add your Wireframe software here.

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