During the design phase of a website or app, a good wireframe tool can work wonders. Providing a detailed insight of how the platform could operate, it gives greater visibility for all involved. Even the client can understand the workings, test functions and make changes accordingly.
From this perspective, using a wireframe can save plenty of hassle in the long term. Future client and developer conflict can be avoided as both parties have a clear picture and scope of the project from the get go.
It’s now considered an essential part of the design phase and there are thousands of wireframe options on the market. While many offer a simplistic wireframe solution, other more complex software allows you to play around with prototypes and additional features. Given the extensive choice, we’ve made it a little easier by recommending 5 of the best. Be sure to take advantage of the trial download to ensure it fits the bill before investing in the full package.
This impressive business drawing software boasts a huge array of options. It may have a heftier price tag than some, but for those seeking an all-in-one solution, Axure is guaranteed to impress. Choose from an array of ‘widgets’ covering all major User Interface elements, and create vast sitemaps with ease. Interactive HTML designs can be made for either website or app; and you can view the latter on your phone via the share feature.
The good folks at Balsamiq Mockups have opted for the simple approach. This beginner-ready software reproduces the effect of writing on a whiteboard – what could be easier than that? The entire interface is styled as handwriting with a drag and drop feature that enables the quick adding of buttons, lists and other design elements. Created with the user in mind, it’s an intentionally basic set-up aimed to encourage feedback.
This smart software offers similar benefits to Axure, but places more emphasis on feedback and collaboration. While you’ll still be able to add different interface features and create multiple pages, the added luxury of sharing work with clients is great for those working on a large project. It takes the hassle out of the discussion phase, as all those involved can easily share notes and suggestions. The Pidoco app also allows you to easily view prototypes on your phone.
As the most expensive option amongst these recommendations, Visio is more orientated for technical based diagrams as opposed to wireframing. Nonetheless, if you familiar with Microsoft Excel and Word, this interface will be far more straightforward to navigate. Some find it limited for prototype sketches, but add-on plugins such as Swipr enable you to export a usable HTML design.
Adobe InDesign CC
Adobe describes its wireframe software as an ‘industry leading page design and layout toolset’. In many ways, it does manage to rival some of the more established wireframe tools due to its integrated services. As part of Creative Cloud, you can quickly access your images and other resources, as well as connect across your desktop and mobile apps via CreativeSync. Far from just websites and apps, users can also create stylish mock ups of digital magazines, eBooks and brochures. It’s all formatted on an interactive PDF.