Prototyping is a broad term, since it involves communication and coordination with your organization, constructing visuals for clients and choosing between the right tools that are going to produce those visuals for whatever project you’re working on.
For example, wireframing would certainly be considered a form of prototyping, yet it’s generally not the only step you’re going to take in the prototyping process.
In fact, a wide range of steps is going to be taken, so developers often use multiple tools to get to a final product. On the other hand, you may opt for a a prototyping tool like Adobe Xd, which is more of an all-in-one solution. Regardless, it’s nice to have a little library of prototyping solutions. This way you can bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you feel like you could use an upgrade or a change in your organizational tools.
Keep reading to learn more about the best prototyping tools on the market. As you read, we recommend making a checklist of the features that are most important to you and your organization.
The Adobe Xd (Experience Design) product is currently in its preview mode, but it’s already gaining some notoriety for serving as a one stop shop for developers who want the ultimate prototyping interface. This platform was formerly called Project Comet, so you may know it by that name. It covers both websites and mobile apps, and you can find everything you need for streamlining your design, creating interactive prototypes, previewing live builds and sharing with other people.
Axure RP handles planning, prototyping and accumulating useful feedback from the people in your organization. One of the more interesting tools in Axure RP is the area that lets stakeholders test drive what has been done with the prototype already. After that, these folks punch in comments and send them back to the developers for changes. The backend interface is fairly simple to learn, and you receive a fast and flexible diagramming solution for wireframes, flowcharts, mockups and more.
The whole point of Mockplus is to prototype a little faster and easier. The entire interactive design in Mockplus is completely visual, as it uses a WYSIWYG editor and a drag and drop editor for even the most basic of users. Thousands of pre-designed icons and components are there for you to play around with, so you can focus on the actual design instead of figuring out how to build a simple icon or go out to grab an image that looks like what you want.
Balsamiq is a highly visual prototyping tool for rapid and effective building. The whole idea behind the tool is so that anyone can build great mockups. The wireframing modules come with thousands of UI elements, all of which are friendly to use and easy on the eyes. The mockups look like sketches on purpose, but you can change this around if you would like to present the visuals to people in your organization. What’s more is that the feedback tools are there for quickly receiving information about what needs to be changed.
Invision has a free version for getting started and testing out whether or not this is a solid prototyping tool for you. It works for both web and mobile projects, and you have a chance to collaborate and view the entire workflow from start to finish. Upload your design elements and add transitions to make for a completely clickable interface within just a few minutes.
The standout area is the collaboration module, which lets you add team members and stakeholders, while also seeing new feedback in a simple drilldown menu at the top. All of the user information is stored in each of the feedback comments, so you know exactly who is in on the conversation.
JustinMind has a similar look and feel to Photoshop, but you can download a version for free to get the full taste of the prototyping platform.
Construct what your iOS and Android apps are going to look like, and utilize the web app module for the ultimate website prototyping tool. The tool even has support for responsive websites and wearable apps. JustinMind has support for both mockups and fully functional UI prototypes, so it’s a perfect solution from start to finish.
Flinto is a strong tool for prototyping mobile apps. It has a few versions, one of which provides a 30-day free trial.
The interface is fairly easy to play around with, since you can either get the web-based prototyping for a phone or the Mac-enabled system. Drag and drop elements are given to you for a clean process, while the animations and gestures are there for cleaning up the way you present your app to users.
UXPin is all about designing prototypes and collaborating with your team all in one area. The main benefit of UXPin is that you can integrate with the files utilized in Sketch and Photoshop.
Therefore, none of the files are flat. You have the ability to manage layered design files, and the tool pretty much covers all of the prototyping steps. Hundreds of UI elements are packaged in for mobile and web-based building. Not to mention, the drag and drop interface is great for icons, and other web elements.
As we stated before, you will probably end up utilizing more than one of these prototyping tools. However, for a more feature rich package we would recommend going with something like JustinMind or Adobe Xd.
Invision is one of the more powerful options as well, considering it’s used by some large companies like Uber and Netflix. I like Flinto and Balsamiq for mobile mockups, but they aren’t as strong with the entire feature sets.
Regardless of what you pick, we encourage you to bookmark this page for future reference. Also, give us a shout in the comments section below if you can think of any other prototyping tools that you can’t live without.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just need to occasionally crop or add some text…
Avada has been the #1 selling WordPress themes for over 7 years. It’s a flexible…
Email is one of the easiest ways to communicate on the internet. It's quick and…
As the cameras on smartphones have improved, we’ve all started taking more photos. But phone…
Trying to decide between Beaver Builder vs Elementor Pro as your tool to build custom…
Finding the best WordPress hosting can be a painful process. Finding a solution that will…