Wireframing plays a crucial role in the mobile app development process, as it helps you consolidate your ideas, layout structure and functionality as well as validate the usability of an application.
There are a plenty of wireframing tools which offer varying levels of functionalities. Some allow you to create a working prototype, while others can be used solely for simple wireframes.
However, choosing the one that addresses your needs well is a challenging and tedious task. We realize your need for assistance, so we’ve put together a list of the 10 best wireframing tools you can explore to build both low- and high-end mobile apps in no particular order.
The tools mentioned below are selected on the basis of their performance, level of functionality and quality.
Let’s take a look at them.
Indigo studio is the brainchild of Infragistics, a global leader in user interface development tools.
– You can create functional and animated UI prototypes without writing a single line of code.
– It helps you create storyboards, build application design interactions and more.
– You can share your design with your team members easily and materialize your ideas rapidly to develop them.
– $495-899 per platform
– $1499-1995 for bundled products
Some popular brands using Indigo Studio include Deloitte, IBM, Sony and Bank of America.
If you plan on building bigger apps with advanced functionalities, then Proto.io should be a great fit. It is a dedicated mobile prototyping platform that helps you build and deploy fully-interactive mobile prototypes and it runs on most web browsers.
Proto.io mainly has these three interfaces:
– A dashboard to manage projects.
– The editor to develop the prototypes and build interactions.
– The player for viewing and interacting with the prototype.
Recently, it has also launched several new features, such as:
– Dropbox sync.
– Extended UI libraries that can be fully animated.
– The ability to use the app offline.
– $29-99 per month with a fifteen-day free trial.
Some of the companies using Proto.io are BBC, PayPal and ESPN.
Mockingbird is a fully web-based tool which gives you the advantage of accessing your mockups from anywhere across all devices.
– Go from idea to mockup quickly: You can drag and drop UI elements to the page, then rearrange and resize them to create a perfect mockup in minutes.
– Link and click between pages: You can link multiple mockups and preview them to review the flow of your application.
– Share links: You can share your links with your team members and clients which they can edit in real-time.
– $9-85 per month.
Framer is one of the best wireframing tools for building a highly interactive prototype for your mobile apps.
– It enables you to code your own prototyping framework easily.
– You can preview your work.
– It uses state machines to set up complex interactions.
– You can animate any object in 3D with spring physics.
– $99 one-time fee.
It is used by several renowned companies, such Google, Dropbox, Instagram and Adobe.
Pidoco is one of the most popular prototyping apps and helps you rapidly create clickable wireframes, mockups and interactive UX prototypes for mobile apps.
– It has smart sharing and collaboration features.
– It includes a smart template system.
– It provides rich interactions.
– It has a convenient specification generator.
– $12-175 per month with a thirty one-day free trial.
It has a customer base in more than 50 countries with names like T-Mobile and Arvato in their clientele.
MockFlow Wireframe Pro is a web-based tool that enables you to easily design and collaborate user interface blue prints for your mobile apps.
– It includes a full-featured drag-and-drop editor, including presentation mode, layers, support for master pages, auto-sizing of canvas, rulers and 960 grids.
– It includes private sharing and real-time collaboration.
– Provides TeamChat for communication and an annotated feedback system.
– It has a wide variety of formats, such as PDF and HTML5, to export the wireframes to.
– The basic plan is free with limited use.
– It costs $14 and $29 per month for the other plans.
We use Balsamiq and must tell you that this is a great tool to generate ideas quickly and is lauded for its amazing power and capabilities. It makes you feel as though you are sketching with a pencil.
– It includes a number of drag-and-drop elements, from buttons to lists, each styled as a hand-drawing.
– It has a Mockups To Go Library with downloadable pre-made templates for iOS, Android and Blackberry.
– You can share mockups with team members or use the “linking” feature that helps you generate click-through prototypes for usability testing.
– $12 per month for both desktop and web app development with thirty-day free trial.
– The one-time fee is $89 for a single license for desktop app development.
Justinmind is a great tool for creating rich and interactive mobile frames.
– It has Android, iPhone and iPad gestures, such as tap-and-hold, swipe, pinch and rotate, which can be used to create a fully interactive prototype.
– You can simulate your application prototype instantly, if you change your wireframe.
– You can create customized widgets and can group them into a wide range of widget libraries available for Androids, iPhones and iPads.
– $29 per month.
– $19 per month with an annual commitment.
Some of the renowned companies using Justinmind are Google, Adobe, Verizon and Oracle.
Fluid is the best and one of the fastest tools to choose to create high and low fidelity mobile prototyping apps, using just a drag-and-drop tool.
– Build prototype on your desktop and scan the preview, using the custom player apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.
– You can create screen flows with a visual linking system.
– You can export screen flows to communicate with your team.
– You can add transitions between screens.
– It allows you to share mockups.
– It has more than 2000 ready-made Android, Windows 8, iOS and wireframe UI widgets for phone and tablet prototyping.
– Free for one project with limited features.
– $12-49 per month for advanced features.
Some of the biggest companies which use Fluid UI are Salesforce, Xerox, Motorola and Samsung to name but a few.
Axure is a popular wireframing tool and the company claims to be used by more than 60% of the Fortune 100 companies.
– You can create beautiful wireframes with boxes, shapes, placeholders and text.
– You can add color and gradients and import images and more to do more visual polish.
– You are able to create advanced prototypes with dynamic content, drag-and-drop, conditional logic, animations and calculations.
– It generates HTML files and a publish prototype to a network drive or web server for sharing.
– It has team projects to collaborate with other team members.
Recently, it has launched a new version, Axure RP 7.0, which comes with a new framework that supports new interaction events, more math and string functions, and has more web fonts, adaptive prototypes and more.
– $280-589 per license with a thirty-day free trial.
To Wrap Up
We’ve encountered several clients who selected the wrong wireframing tool which turned out to be a disaster. Pretty much all the tools cover the same basics, so when you choose one, consider whether you want a web- or a desktop-based version (or both), whether you want to write your own code (like in Framer) and whether you want the ability to drag-and-drop ready-made UI elements.
You need to get the basics right first or your entire effort will be in vain, so it is advisable to get help from an experienced mobile app development agency to build the app you’ve been dreaming for.
So, have you used any of the tools mentioned above? Would you like any other tool to be added to the list? Please share your experiences or recommendations below and thanks for reading!