Start Up Series #1: Wireframing Tools for Startups

Software Development, Startup Series, Website Design | 0 comments | by Shaz Ide

If you’re in the early stages of software product development, you will want to stick with a lean process in going through numerous idea iterations. That’s where wireframing tools can help, whether you’re running a big company or a one-man team. To quickly develop the basic hierarchy, layout, and content in the interface faster and help you understand how your proposed app or website will work helps you save on time and cost.

There are plenty of wireframing tools out there that can aid with your creative process. Some offer free software or trial downloads for you to explore. Whether you are wanting to build prototypes through the creation of screens or static images, the use of layers to see how users will interact with your page, or through shared libraries for your developers to easily communicate their ideas – we’ve gathered our top 10 pick that can help you get started on building that working prototype:

balsamiq-wireframing

Balsamiq Mockups is a rapid wireframing tool that aims to rid the world of bad software, while helping you work faster & smarter.

About: Balsamiq Mockups is a rapid wireframing tool that helps you create user interfaces for the Web, desktop, or mobile application. Founded in 2008, they aim to help people create software and websites that are easier to use – like sketching on a whiteboard, but using a computer.

Features:

• Drag and drop components

• Quick add function that lets you build wireframes using your keyboard

• Re-usable symbols and templates

• Lots of built-in user interface controls and icons

• Linking prototypes for demo/usability testing

• Sharing mockups through PNG or PDF file export

• Keyboard shortcuts

What We Love:

• Low fidelity wireframes that let you focus more on structure rather than visual elements

• Extensive support, tutorials and documentation

• Community of contributors

• Integration with Google Drive and Atlassian (Confluence Server, Confluence Cloud, JIRA Server and JIRA Cloud)

• Web Demo for you to try before you buy

Pricing: $89 Desktop, $12/mo Web App, $5/user/mo with Google Drive 30-Days Free Trial for the Web App.

startup-series-moqups

Moqups

Moqups help you unleash your creativity without any hassles with its simple and fairly intuitive interface. Create prototypes with this nifty HTML5 App.

About: Moqups is a browser-based wireframing solution to help you design for the Web or mobile devices. They provide a selection of stencils that you can use. You may also customise it as well. You can collaborate in real-time without waiting for responses in email. The tool also allows you to connect pages with links and hotspots.

Features:

• Interactive prototypes

• Real-time collaboration

• Mockups & wireframes

• Privacy settings

• Master pages

• PDF/PNG export and publishing

What We Love:

• Unlimited users for any of its plans

• Unlimited archived projects

• Google Drive integration

• Save up to 40% if you sign up to annual billing

• Web demo for you to try before you buy

Pricing: Basic $19/mo; Professional $29/mo; Ultimate $49/mo. Free plan comes with 300 objects for each user.

fluid-wireframing

Fluid  UI

Fluid UI promises to take your creativity to the next level by helping you bring your ideas to life quickly and have a prototype running in less than 15 minutes.

About: Fluid UI started with a vision of unlocking the world’s creativity – to help people create and communicate great ideas together. Used by designers in over 190 countries worldwide, design brilliant apps that you can discuss online or test on your mobile.

Features:

• Visual linking and multi-screen prototypes

• Powerful version control

• Instant previewing and testing

• Flexible archiving

• Simple sharing

• Widget customisation

What We Love:

• Fluid UI camera control to help you keep track of every changes in the design

• Reusable design patterns you can save

• Simple to use, no coding skills needed

• Export as an interactive HTML mockup

• Save up to 17% if you sign up to annual billing

Pricing: Solo $12/mo, Pro $29/mo, Team $49/mo. Free Forever (for 1 project).

gliffy-wireframing

Gliffy

Gliffy helps you create professional-quality flowcharts, wireframes, UML diagrams, sitemaps and more in any browser. Another oldie but goodie tool to help shape your ideas.

About: Founded in 2005, Gliffy is the world’s first web-based business graphics appthat lets you easily create, share, and collaborate on a wide range of diagrams. Innovate, work more effectively and communicate clearly.

Features:

• Automatic spacing

• Alignment tools

• Snap-to feature to make objects snap to grid, making it easier to expand or collapse groups

• Pre-built diagram templates

What We Love:

• HTML5 Application for building diagrams

• Drag and drop function

• Professional-looking diagrams

• Containers and symbols library

• User forums and tutorials

• Real-time sharing and editing

• Integration with Atlassian (Confluence, JIRA)

Pricing: Billed Annually: Standard $3.99/mo, Business $7.99/mo, Business Team starts at $7.99/mo for 5 users, Free Account (Up to 5 Public diagrams).

mockflow-wireframing

MockFlow

MockFlow Wireframe Pro is all about super-easy wireframing. Start designing and collaborating on user interface concepts with your team.

About: Mockflow Wireframe Pro is a web-based tool that you can use to design and collaborate user interface blueprints for websites and apps. You can view, share and create backups for your projects in a short time – without the need of any special software.

Features:

• Drag & drop wireframe editor

• Extensive support for master pages, presentation mode, layers, etc.

• Rich UI components

• Real Time Collaboration

• Sitemap creation along with their wireframes

• Sharing permissions

What We Love:

• Team chat and annotated feedback

• Wireframes export in a wide variety of formats

• Template Store (MockStore) for importing templates, layouts and components

• Save up to 25% if you sign up to annual billing

Pricing: Premium $14/mo; Teampack $29/mo. FREE Forever (with project restrictions)

axure-wireframe

Axure

Axure RP lets you build website and application prototypes without coding. For the last 13 years, they have been the wireframing tool of choice by 60% of the Fortune 100.

About: Axure RP offers wireframing, prototyping and documentation tools to help you make informed design choices. You can either go for a Standard edition for prototypingor go Pro to unlock the documentation and collaboration features.

Features:

• Sketch and wireframing functions

• Flow diagrams

• Basic prototyping

• Collaborate, publish and share functions

• Mobile prototyping

• Notes and documentation

• Drag and drop

What We Love:

• Advanced Prototyping from simple click-through mockups to highly-functional prototypes with conditions

• Dynamic content

• Animation

• Adaptive/responsive prototypes in version 7

• Core Training: Learn from 6 tutorials in 1 hour

• Discounts for volume licenses and organisations (non-profit, academic,government)

Pricing: Standard $289/license; PRO $589/license. Free 30-Day Trial

justinmind-wireframe

Just in Mind

Just in Mind helps you prototype faster and communicate better with their all-in-one prototyping tool for the Web and mobile.

About: Just in Mind is created with the user in mind – to have everything you’ll ever need in a prototyping tool. Choose from their default built-in widgets or create your own to help you visualise your ideas faster.

Features:

• Widget library

• Google glasses and Windows 8 compatibility

• Embed HTML and documents

• Web and mobile interactions

• Image synchronisation

• Adobe Illustrator integration

• SVG file import

• User testing tools integration

• Interactive HTML+JS

• Navigation map, project export and document customisation

• Business logic, forms and data grids

• Diagram flow and validation

• Versioning and CMMI compliance

• Integration with 3rd party requirements management tools

What We Love:

• Rich widgets which can be easily refined and reused

• Low fidelity wireframe to help you focus on content and structure

• Create your own widgets

• ERP-Capable to validate enterprise processes

• Mobile & Web emulators for testing on real devices and browsers

• Smart Guides

• Free Download

• Review, publish and share in real-time, whether online or offline

• Online and Offline prototyping with sync

Pricing: Professional $19/user/mo billed annually. Perpetual License $495/user.

UX Pin

UXPin is all about solving your UX problems, where you get it right. From static designs to fully animated prototypes, you don’t need coding skills to make it work.

About: Founded in Poland in 2010, UXPin started as a way to solve their collaboration problems. From a paper prototype, it is now transformed into a digital platform for teams to create and participate in the design process – all in one place.

Features:

• Simple drag and drop functions

• Custom UI elements, typography, brackgrounds

• Import layers from Sketch and Photoshop

• Fully-interactive prototyping

• Real-time collaboration and presentation

• Built-in, native usability testing

• Add comments directly on the design

What We Love:

• Hundreds of UI elements and patterns for mobile and Web

• Hi-Fi Mockups that are pixel-perfect

• Realistic user experience with advanced tools and animation

• Free UX Ebooks

Pricing: Basic: $19/user/mo; PRO: $29/user/mo; PRO+ $49/user/mo. Free 7-Day Trial.flinto-wireframing

Flinto

Flinto is an app prototyping tool for designers who want to quickly make interactive prototypes for mobile, desktop or the Web.

About: Flinto lets you catch design issues by creating and testing an interactive prototype that looks just like the real thing. Founded in 2010, it was not until the end of 2012 that this tool is publicly launched.

Features:

• Animated Transitions

• Gestures to activate links

• File sharing

• Prototype preview

• Custom screen sizes

• Scrolling

• Sketch integration and Import

• Drag & Drop Function

What We Love:

• Transition designer to create custom animation

• Customisable and flexible scrolling

• Free iOS viewer app

• Free trial download

• Save up to 10% if you sign up to annual billing

Pricing: Flinto for Mac $99 one time purchase; Flinto Lite $20/mo. Free 30-Day Trial.

Invisionapp-wireframing

Invisionapp

Invisionapp is a powerful design prototyping tool that gets you high-fidelity in under 5 minutes. Design better and faster with this leading prototyping, collaboration and workflow platform.

About: Invisionapp allows you to transform static screens into interactive prototypes, simplify your feedback process, manage your project screens from a single location, create context around your projects and collaborate in real-time.

Features:

• Cross platform support from mobile, desktop to wearable devices

• Contextual feedback that lets you comment directly on a prototype

• Automated project management status

• Asset Management

• Guided product tours

• High fidelity testing environment

• Instant code generation

• Easily download project assets

What We Love:

• Customisable hotspots with advanced animations and transitions

• Threaded conversation to track all design feedback

• Custom boards

• In-browser design meetings with LiveShare

• Unlimited version history

• Deep service integration with Photoshop, Sketch, Dropbox, Box Slack, GoogleDrive and more

• FREE Unlimited user testing

• Unlimited audio and video capture

• Exclusive access to partner products and services

Pricing: Starter $15/mo; Professional $25/mo; Team $99/mo. Free Forever for 1 Prototype.

What is the Best Tool to Use?

It really depends on your budget and needs as each project will have different requirements. As a rule of thumb, always aim for a simple interface with a low learning curve so you can get started quickly with your ideas.

Need More Help? Check out our Rapid Prototyping Service and let us worry about all of the technicalities involved!

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