Mock ups and wire frames are extremely important when you are working on a project. Having a mock up or wire frame handy not only accelerates the building and design process of your projects, but it also ensures that the project progresses in a systematic way.
There are many tools available for you to create high quality mockups and wire frames. But which one are the best? Which one are the worst? Which ones are to be chosen and which ones are to be left?
To know all that, read on.
With iPlotz you can create clickable, navigable wireframes to create the experience of a real website or software application. You can also invite others to comment on the designs, and once ready, you can then manage the tasks for developers and designers to build the project.
Verdict: Nice Interface and easy to use. The slick design also helps the user to stay focused along with the compelling dark background that the application has.
Priced: Free version available along with Single user subscription of $99/Year. Desktop version for $75
MockingBird is another easy to use wire framing software that is still in beta phase. However, in spite of being in Beta phase, the service is good and it’s easy to use with all the important features embedded inside.
Verdict: On one hand, this is another good tool for making mockups and wire frames, still we can’t make it to rank higher in our tests. Maybe because still the framework is somewhat limited interface due to beta phase
Blasmiq is a quick mockup and wire framing tool with a nice feature of tem collaboration which sets it apart from other mocking up tools. The user interface is nicely designed so that one doesn’t have to keep looking for a function or button
Verdict: Great user interface with nicely laid buttons which helps the users to get most out of it. The most used functions are nicely laid on the top bar which are always visible to the user.
Price: $79 for a single-user, multi-computer license
Napkee lets you export Balsamiq Mockups to HTML/CSS/JS and Adobe Flex 3 at a click of a button. However, it runs on Adobe AIR and you need to get it installed first.
Verdict: Although Napkee is an overall good wire framing and mock up tool still, Adobe AIR is required to make it get going; which may be a negative point.
Price: Starting from $49
MockFlow is hybrid, so you can design seamlessly from anywhere & even with No net-connection. With MockFlow, you can get your visual concept ready in minutes. Exporting table less CSS layouts using Layout Builder is also supported.
Verdict: Simplicity is the thing that makes MockFlow stand out from others in the list. Instead of just giving a whole array of functions, users are greeted with a simple and easy to use interface
Mocklinkr introduces the concept of hosted mockups. With their technology, you also have the freedom of hosting the mockups on their servers and showing and collaborating with your clients in real time.
Verdict: The concept of hosted mock ups is great. And it enables users to collaborate with their clients in real time, making it one of the most interesting tools for mockups and wire framing.
Price: Free for up to 10 images. Then $19 per month for unlimited images
ForeUI is a handy UI prototyping tool. It can rapidly create static or interactive, sinkable UI prototypes of your website or software.
Verdict: The user interface is not so great. The look and feel also doesn’t give you a finished software.
Price: $99 for single user license
Justinmind Prototyper is available for Windows and Mac OS platforms.
Justinmind Prototyper: Design advanced wireframes and run realistic simulations to capture and communicate functional specifications. Visualize user requirements without code
Justinmind Server: Generate a fully functional web wireframe and share it with your stakeholders. Your customers and key users will be able to test and annotate the software wireframe with their web browsers
Verdict: The tools and buttons offered looks amazing
Price: Per-Seat license of $495
Axure is nicely designed wireframe software that automates specifications that will allow avoiding tedious documentation.
Verdict: This one is definitely recommended. With a price tag of $589, it may seem to burn a hole in your pocket, but all good things come for a price.
Price: $589 – Perpetual Single User License
This is a desktop based mockup tool that may be also classified more in the category of sot wares. However, the design and user interface is just bad
Verdict: We didn’t like the design, interface and functionality at all. The software is neither nicely made, nor it has an intuitive user interface that we were expecting.
Price: License price of $79.99
Simulify is an elegantly designed mockup tools with a nice user interface including all the tools necessary to design a complete mockup.
Verdict: Nicely designed and having all the functionality required. As the name suggests, it doesn’t over load the users with useless designs and functionality tweaks.
Price: Free online editor and $89 for Desktop Edition.
JustProto claims to be the first tool to create the prototypes of network and desktop applications. However, it has all the functionalities which are expected from a mockup tool.
Verdict: Should be free, but it comes for a price.
Price: Standard: $19 per month, plus: $49 per month, Unlimited: $99 per month
Fairbuilder is a multipurpose Desktop and Online client. This works excellent when you need a tool to quickly prototype something for a project. It is also less of a load on your pocket as you don’t have to pay a lot upfront, but only a smaller amount each month.
Verdict: Although comes for a price, but can be a very good investment.
Price: $24/month and $99/year
With all the amazing free mockup software around, this one is very tough to use at. The user interface is very confusing and there are not at all even the basic functionalities.
Verdict: Needs a lot of improvement. The functionality needs to be improved; the user interface needs to be improved. This one really needs to work real hard to be there.
Price: ConceptDraw Office ($499), ConceptDraw Mindmap ($299),ConceptDraw PRO ($249), ConceptDraw Project ($199)
15. Inpreso Screens
As the name suggests, Inpresso is pretty impressive. It has an impressive collaborative screen to create high quality mockups and wireframes.
Verdict: The whole layout is impressive. With nicely laid buttons and functions, it has a nice sidebar that acts as a secondary notepad for you where you can store temporary notes for further references.
Price: Paid version is for $79 for one year.
HotGloo is another interesting mock up and wireframing tool out there. With an extensive set of usable functions, it indeed is worth a look
Verdict: HotGloo is hot and simple. It provides with a large array of options and functionalities, but comes with a price tag and is not free. However, the whole layout is impressive.
Price: Paid version is for $79 for one year.
Pencil is a Firefox add-on to do GUI prototyping and simple sketching. Since it’s a browser add on, you don’t have to get anything installed.
Verdict: Got firefox? Then there is no need to invest in any stand alone mockup and wire framing tool. With this free plugin, all the features of a high end mocking and wire framing tool can be incorporated right inside your browser!
18. Lovely Charts
Lovely Charts is an online diagramming application, that allows you to create flowcharts, sitemaps, organization charts and wireframes.
One of the key features is the application’s ability to make assumptions based on the type of diagram you’re drawing, and thus streamline the drawing process. The History management feature is extremely useful, keeping 20 states of your diagram in memory should you wish to go back to an earlier version or undo any changes.
Verdict: This is a powerful yet simple tool set provided, with an extensive library of crafted symbols to suit most requirements.
Cacoo is a user-friendly online drawing tool that allows you to create a variety of diagrams, such as sitemaps, wireframes and network charts.
The drag and drop UI means creating diagrams is relatively simple; there are also a number of stencils to utilize which could make the process even more efficient. Unlimited Undo is a neat feature with the history of all modifications saved, meaning you can undo right back to the start.
Verdict: A very powerful browser based mockup tool where more than one users can also work on and complete the same diagram simultaneously with the application supporting real-time collaboration
Real-time collaboration is one of the key features, with tools for team editing, a chat engine for deliberating over designs and file versioning. Lumzy is also the only mockup tool with a real image editor built-in — simply grab any picture from your drive and edit it, apply hue, saturation, adjust contrast, and so on, and then add it to your project.
Verdict: Lumzy is a mockup and prototype creation tool for websites and applications. You can add events to controls, place controls inside other containers and emulate your project with easy page navigation triggered by user actions.
Denim is a free multi-platform desktop app that supports sketching and allows design at various refinement levels. It’s an efficient tool for early stage brainstorming and wireframing. Two main features within Denim are Components, which enable you to create widgets that can be reused and Conditionals, which allow you to create transitions between pages depending on the end-users’ actions, resulting in a more interactive experience.
Verdict: It’s a simple yet effective tool and allows for easy annotation using editing gestures.
Website Wireframe is a very simple web-based tool for building wireframes in a matter of minutes. A link to view the wireframe can be sent through email, instant message, or mobile phone, and then the wireframe can be easily updated based on feedback, discussion, ideas and suggestions.
Verdict: It may not be particularly sophisticated, however it’s simplicity and efficiency is perfect for those who want an alternative to tools with a higher learning curve.
ProtoShare allows website prototyping by enabling developers to create a true interactive experience with a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface. Team members and clients can then collaborate on the interactive prototype. Once the process of prototyping and collaboration is finished, the development team will have a strong visual specification to follow, reducing rework, delays, and cost in the programming stages.
Verdict: With powerful companies like 3G and SONY using ProtoShare as a tool of their preference, we found this tool totally justifies what it says.
Price: Standard Version for $29 per user per month
|iPlotz||Free version online, version for $75||Excellent|
|Balsamiq||$79 for a single-user, multi user computer license||Excellent|
|Napkee||Starting from $49||Good|
|MockLinkr||Free for up to 10 images. Then $19 per month for unlimited images||Fair|
|Freui||$99 for single user license||Poor|
|Justinmind||Per-Seat license of $495||Fair|
|Axure||$589 – Perpetual Single User License||Good|
|Designer Vista||License price of $79.99||Poor|
|Simulify||Free online editor and $89 for Desktop Edition||Excellent|
|Justproto||Standard: $19 per month, plus: $49 per month, Unlimited: $99 per month||Excellent|
|FairBuilder||$24/month and $99/year||Fair|
|Concept Draw||ConceptDraw Office ($499), ConceptDraw Mindmap ($299),ConceptDraw PRO ($249), ConceptDraw Project ($199)||N/A|
|Impreso||Paid version is for $79 for one year.||Excellent|
|HotGloo||Paid version is for $79 for one year.||Excellent|
|Pencil Firefox Add on||Free||Excellent|
|ProtoShare||Standard Version for $29 per user per month||Good|
We tested quite a good number of mocking up and wire framing tools for you. Some of them were great, some quite well, while some were pathetic. Based upon our test results, we would recommend you the following tools:
The free ones:
- Pencil Firefox Addon
- Mocking Bird
The paid ones: