10 Best Wireframe Tools To Bring Your Ideas To Life [2023]
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      10 Best Wireframe Tools To Bring Your Ideas To Life [2023]

      Business
      09/10/22
      18' read
      09/10/22
      18' read

      Wireframing is a process of creating detailed and structured mockups of the interface of an app or website, to help you get a better overview of its look, usability, and function.

      User experience concept

      Wireframe tools help designers visualize how their designs will look when implemented on the web. They are used to communicate ideas to clients and stakeholders so that they can better understand how their designs work together as a whole.

      There are a few different types of wireframe tools:

      1. Static wireframing tools: allow you to create and export static mockups. Static mockups are basic wireframes that are great for sharing with stakeholders and clients, but they lack interactivity and aren’t very useful for testing functionality.

      2. Interactive wireframing tools: allow you to test functionality using live data from the browser, as well as add dynamic content such as popups, sliders, and dropdowns. This type of tool allows you to create a collaborative environment where team members can work together on projects without having to use code.

      3. Mobile-first wireframing tools: allow you to create mobile-friendly designs that look great on any device.

      Here are the 10 best wireframing tools:

      1. InVision

      InVision is a beginner-friendly powerful screen design tool that helps you design user flows, prototype, and create progressive animation.

      Transforming your designs into stunning concepts, this tool is currently compatible with macOS 10, 11, and later versions.

      [Source]

      It is functional on Microsoft Windows if installed on devices with Windows 10 or later versions that have 64-bit Intel or AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) Processor.

      Pros

      Balanced Composition With The Golden Spiral

      The intelligent image cropping called Golden Spiral ensures that the composition of an image or a logo is balanced after you resize it.

      For example, once the Golden Spiral is overlaid on the image, its focal point can be maintained in the center.

      You can make a visually catchy UI design that attracts the user’s attention to what matters the most. For example, when on a page, a wider block of content flashes on the left with a narrower column on its right, the proportions suggested by the Golden Ratio help you to ascertain the position of the most crucial content.

      Intuitive Vector Drawing Tool

      You can effortlessly turn your ideas into power-packed designs with its intuitive vector-based drawing capabilities (dynamic vector editing), infinite canvases, and flexible layer styling. You can create a new project from scratch or access the sketch file and begin prototyping and animating instantly (Open studio or sketch file at the bottom right of the launcher → select sketch file → select from artboard, text layers, images, or my favorite).

      Easy Collaboration

      It provides seamless collaboration with its cloud-based workflow for feedback and required iterations.

      The shared design systems ensure that your team stays connected, consistent, and well-versed.

      From the app store, you can access an open platform for user-created add-ons.

      With smart widgets and powerful templates, you can collaborate and brainstorm, bringing connectivity to your freehand documents.

      Cons

      Expensive For Larger Teams

      The pricing strategy of this app is as per your business needs.

      For cross-collaborative teams, it offers the Freehand Pro plan for $4.95/ active user per month, which apparently turns into a costly affair, if considered for larger teams.

      User Experience Could Be Better

      Turning off swiping to the next screen malfunctions. In addition to this, the integration with Notion and Lucidchart can be more agile for a smarter experience.

      2. Adobe XD

      Adobe XD is a vector design platform that makes your prototypes look real ensuring efficient communication of your design vision and maintaining alignment across the teams.

      [Source]

      By using Adobe XD, you can collaborate with your teams throughout the design process (ideation → wireframing → developer handoff). It offers a free seven-day trial period wherein you can access all the tools and premium features that govern Adobe XD.

      Pros

      3-D Transforms For Moving Objects

      With 3-D UX design, you can display objectivity to your work by moving or rotating objects in space, or by adding depth appearance.

      This intuitive tool allows you to layer movement(s) to the objects creating tilts and rotations, moving beyond flat-screen designs toward a more modernized process with the following steps:

      • Select a component (3-D transforms can be applied to individual layers, groups, or components)
      • Enable 3-D transforms (In the Property Inspector, click on the 3-D cube icon, to enable the toolset post in which a new control flashes on the canvas)
      • Rotate and move (You can enter values in the property inspector or use canvas control to move objects or introduce depth along the axis of x-, y-, or z-)

      Reusable Components

      This special feature allows you to reuse your designs everywhere.

      With intuitively functioning components, push changes across designs or documents swiftly.

      This saves time on duplicating and allows you to work from a single library and share end-to-end across design systems.

      You can also create various component interactions such as hover for buttons or toggle switches:

      • Design a UI element (Use drawing tools, shapes, texts, modals, and more)
      • Make a component (Select a layer, right-click, and select ’make component’)
      • Add state (Select a component and click ‘+’ to add state).

      Grid Repetition For Replicating Lists And Menus

      You can turn a single element into repeating grids by clicking and dragging.

      Various sets of repeating elements can also be segregated by created galleries, contact lists, product listings, or menus:

      • Design element (Create an element to repeat, select all layers, and turn it into a group)
      • Drag it out (Click ‘Repeat Grid’ on the selected element and generate a grid with the help of green handles)
      • Bring real content (Replace content in the grid by dragging images or importing texts for an automatic update of the content into a real thing)

      Cons

      No Customized Shapes

      Adobe XD gives limited options for designing shapes such as circles, ovals, squares, and rectangles.

      This limits the possibilities as shapes are important for any design process.

      Complicated Team Collaboration

      In Adobe XD, designing is done at one place while sharing in another.

      Comments from various co-editors during team collaboration need to be merged manually. Also, to share, the local files need to be synced with Creative Cloud.

      3. Figma acquired by Adobe

      Figma is a collaborative web application compatible with every desktop operating systems, such as macOS, Windows, Linux, etc.

      It connects your entire team for better delivery and workflow.

      [Source]

      It offers some unique features such as 30-day revision history and unlimited cloud storage.

      You can build three projects for free before deciding which payment plan works best for you.

      Pros

      FigJam for Real-time Collaboration

      Figma turns brainstorming across the teams into a real-time experience through an online Whiteboard, FigJam.

      Your team can build and work on stunning ideas together.

      This brainstorming tool allows you to use sticky notes and shapes to share thoughts and ideas.

      Virtual markers can be used to draw or illustrate screens. At the same time, the teams can react to these ideas through stamps, stickers, and reactions to raise queries or upvote ideas.

      Effortless Web Design

      Figma allows you to draw in any direction with Vector Networks.

      This modern pen tool lets you draw without requiring you to merge or connect with the path’s original point.

      The Arc Tool ensures an instant arc design useful in designs such as clocks, pie charts, watch screens, etc.

      Plus, you can access advanced fonts with OpenType for more expressive brand designs.

      Save Time With Auto Layout

      When items are moved around, the rearranging of lists and button sizes is done automatically which saves your efforts on most of the manual resizing.

      For simple responsive designs, the components of Auto layout can stretch in any direction. In addition to this, the settings involving padding, directions, and spacing translate directly into code, which in turn streamlines developer handoff.

      Cons

      Sluggish Pace For Large Projects

      Delays have been noticed during the handling of larger projects which makes the entire process time-consuming.

      The user testing could be more advanced as then it wouldn’t require hopping on to a third-party tool.

      Lacks Version Control

      Due to Figma’s lack of version control, tracking edits gets a bit difficult. Also, the app primarily being a prototyping tool, comes with several default settings which might not be useful to many users.

      4. Balsamiq

      Balsamiq is a user interface design tool for creating low-fidelity prototypes.

      It helps you to focus extensively on structure and content rather than long discussions regarding colors and details.

      [Source]

      The digital sketches can be generated using its unique features making it easier for you to share and modify your designs.

      This app combines the raw feel of paper sketching with the digital format.

      The Balsamiq wireframes can open both local BMPR (Balsamiq Mockups PRojects) files as well as Balsamiq Cloud Projects on the desktop.

      Pros

      Simple Accessibility And Sharing

      Balsamiq allows you to access hundreds of built-in UI components and icons. Its drag-and-drop feature helps in assembling elements with ease. You can create wireframe designs effortlessly and share these across teams via images or interactive PDFs.

      Quick Add Tool To Add UI Controls

      The Quick Add Tool is smooth and quick for adding UI controls to your wireframes which ensures speed optimization.

      The process (click inside the Quick Add input box or press ‘/’ or ‘+’ → type the UI control name → click on the selected icon to add) is straightforward.

      Built-In Library

      With an easy learning curve and a good standard setup of this app, you can create multiple project buckets and pages. You can easily carry out web development tasks with its built-in library of shapes and various icons.

      Cons

      Overpriced And Outdated Technology

      Along with the absence of an interactive prototype, Balsamiq is slightly overpriced. Plus, the designs might look unprofessional due to its outdated Adobe Air Technology. The UI library can also use some updates and some customizable options apart from the basic resizing options.

      Poor Integration With Other Tools

      Balsamiq does not integrate with other apps such as Adobe, Figma, or Invision, which inhibits cross-app design collaboration.

      5. Canva

      Canva is a free wireframe tool with power-packed features like image enhancement, PDF conversions, adding text to video, and more for creative designs.

      [Source]

      Its user-friendly graphic design tools with a drag-and-drop interface allow you to easily add or rearrange components to create the wireframe of your choice.

      With its customizable charts and tables, data visualization has been made easy.

      Apart from the free plan, it offers paid plans for pros and teams.

      Pros

      Customizable Prototype Templates

      Canva provides prototyping for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.

      You can choose from an extensive number of free customizable templates to make appealing prototype designs. You can link elements or pages with each other.

      With its interactive features such as animation, form fields, placeholders, buttons, and sliders, you can make your prototypes look real:

      • Select a template
      • Add your image or text (or choose from Canva’s library of hundreds of fonts and stock images)
      • Save and download your prototype as a PNG or JPG file
      • You can now share the prototype through email, social media, etc.

      Collaborative Prototyping

      You can work in collaboration with your team from anywhere in real-time while designing stunning prototypes for your business.

      Tasks can be easily assigned by tagging team members, adding comments, or sharing feedback. The handoff process is smooth as you can send secure links of your prototypes to your clients.

      Library of Multiple Graphic Options and Functions

      Canva gives you access to its library with swarming options of icons, photos, graphics, media elements, and more.

      You can remove image backgrounds which can be ideal for headshots, transparent PNGs, or product shots. You can also choose from 3000+ free and premium fonts.

      Cons

      No Template Resizing Option

      Although Canva provides several templates to choose from, once you start working on a certain chosen template, it is impossible to resize the template.

      Plus, table insertion isn’t easy and the output formats are limited.

      Searching Requires Improvisation

      When you search an image, similar image suggestions do not open. Instead, it opens more images by the same photographer.

      6. Sketch

      Sketch is a vector graphic editor which comes packed with collaborative design tools and prototyping for macOS.

      Used primarily to design the user interface and user experience of websites and mobile apps, this wireframing tool doesn’t include print design features.

      It can be integrated with Justinmind (which can be further integrated with Adobe XD, Photoshop, JIRA, etc.)

      [Source]

      It offers Standard and Business plans at $9/editor monthly and $20/editor monthly respectively. The standard plan offers a 30-days free trial.

      Pros

      An Extensive Feature-Packed Toolkit And Variable Opentype Font

      Sketch’s all-in-one UX & UI kit lets you collaborate on new concepts and build a prototype with a robust toolset.

      Features like shorthand math operators and editing for various borders, its vector editing tools are more intuitive and flexible.

      With variable fonts and RTL support, you can control the typography and unlock alternate characters and ligatures.

      Infinite Canvas And Design System Control

      The app provides a canvas without limits so you can accommodate any screen size with its resizing tools.

      You can stay organized with flexible artboards and templates. Using symbols, colors, and styles, you can easily build a stunning design system.

      Using the Component View, you can manage, browse as well as organize in one place. The searchable menu and insert window make the inserting process faster.

      Real-Time Collaboration And Sketch Workspace

      You and your team can work together on the same document inside Sketch.

      It saves you from the time-consuming actions of saving or pinging files back and forth.

      Using Sketch workspace, you can share ideas with your team, store files, share feedback and carry out the handoff process.

      Cons

      Mac Specific

      Sketch can only be accessed on Mac and has no online version making its accessibility limited to Apple users only.

      This makes working difficult for cross-platform teams.

      Buggy Software

      Since the app goes through limited QA testing, it is buggy (almost) after every new version release.

      Reloading plugins can at times be difficult as this wireframe software crashes frequently.

      7. Moqups

      Moqups is a smooth, intuitive web app with which you can build wireframes, mockups, and prototypes within a single environment.

      It is bundled with visual collaboration tools that allow you to combine whiteboard, diagram, and design features in a single online app.

      [Source]

      It presently offers Chrome and Firefox extensions.

      You can also integrate with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and Slack.

      It offers three plans — Solo, Team, and Unlimited, costing $13/month (includes 1 seat), $23/month (includes 3 seats), and $67/month (unlimited seats) respectively.

      Pros

      Precise And Intuitive Object Editing

      Moqups comes with smart and dynamic tools that allow you to transform various objects and groups.

      You can also resize, rotate, align, or style objects. You can edit in bulk, rename or easily group various elements.

      Within an outline panel, you can redo, undo or easily toggle visibility or navigate through nested groups.

      It provides productive alignment tools which have rulers, grids, and custom guides, using which you can make precision adjustments.

      Scalable Page Management For Complex Project Handling

      Moqups provides robust page management tools using which you can drag and drop pages and segregate or organize them.

      The Pages Panel allows you to effortlessly search and navigate through intricate folders.

      Easy Collaboration And Team Communication

      It offers easy collaboration among the team members with a focus on a single creative context and navigation between diagrams, wireframes, prototypes, and mockups.

      It smoothly takes you from low-fidelity interactive wireframes to high-fidelity while balancing the momentum.

      Integration with Google Drive and DropBox is easy and team members can post timely feedback avoiding clutter.

      Cons

      Less Professional

      As compared to other contemporary tools, Moqups is slightly less professional since it provides lower output in visual designing and interaction stimulation.

      Obscure Custom Component Creation

      Creating custom components is impossible since you’re limited to its UI library. It is not compatible with any other component library or style guide.

      8. Proto.io

      Proto.io is an intuitive drag-and-drop wireframing tool with which you can design impactful prototypes using its multiple UI components, digital assets, and templates.

      It is accessible on iOS, Android as well as Web.

      It provides you with an expansive user interface library that has UI components that not only resemble, but also imitate their original native counterparts.

      [Source]

      The offered plans are Freelancer, Startup, Agency, and Corporate priced at a monthly rate of $24, $40, $80, and $160 respectively.

      It also provides tailored plans for educational institutions, a 50% discount for students and non-profit organizations, and free limited featured plans.

      Pros

      Extensive Library For Dynamic Prototyping

      Proto.io’s UI component library offers customizable interactive native UI items.

      To start, you need to drag and drop an element from menus, buttons, inputs, sliders, or more.

      You can create wireframes and prototypes in no time by using readymade or customizable templates. The content blocks can be customized and interactions can be easily added.

      Plus, you can access thousands of resizable icons. If you want to add animated effects to your prototype, the animated icons library offers a huge collection of icons that can be used well inside the Proto.io editor.

      It also offers audio and video components, and Lottie animations.

      Effortless Designing

      For an immediate upload, you need to drag and drop files from the desktop directly on to the canvas.

      With a keyboard command, you can copy any image from your design tool and paste it into the app.

      Apart from these, the masking tool allows you to upload images from anywhere and crop, frame or create animations without leaving the editor.

      You can also link an asset from an online resource or upload your own images or audio/video files with the asset manager.

      Easy Integrations With Sketch, Figma, And XD

      You can maintain layers and prototyping links by exporting Sketch files to Proto.io and high-fidelity prototypes can be created using interactions and animations.

      Similarly, Figma designs can be easily imported into Proto.io and enhanced further with its animations to create interactive prototypes.

      The Proto.io plug-in is used to bring the XD files from Adobe XD.

      Cons

      Complex Interface

      A designer might require time to get acquainted with the app interface because it has its own software.

      Some prototyping workflows are a bit complex. Creating a component in one project and sharing it with the other is nearly impossible.

      Buggy Import Feature

      Proto.io is a web-based tool and depends largely upon the data that is imported from the local files.

      This import feature is unstable and buggy, which results in botched imports now and then.

      9. Framer

      Framer is an interactive design tool that is used for website designing and prototyping and supports the designing process from visual mockups to interactive prototypes.

      This tool allows you to create clickable prototypes that can be published directly from the app.

      [Source]

      In addition to their free plan, you can also choose from the Basic, Pro, or Business Custom plan.

      Pros

      Power-Packed Mockup With ‘Magic Motion’

      Framer allows you to bring your interactive designs to life with its free app and website mockup tool.

      You can transform visual concepts into stunning usable designs that you can user-test for an actual audience.

      For a quick interactive design, it comes equipped with Magic Motion which allows you to create animations and transitions.

      The movements can be viewed while you preview the designs. Magic Motion lets you customize modals and overlays to flips and fades. You can choose from spring curves and bezier to set the timing or delays.

      Built-In Interactivity

      All the designs from Framer’s free mock-up tool can be made fully interactive by using buttons, sliders, and toggles.

      Apart from the customizable components, real interactive components can also be added.

      Easy Collaboration And Sharing

      Framer lets you share the mockups with your team by inviting them to the canvas.

      This multiplayer collaboration allows the team to design together as well as leave instant feedback as comments.

      Cons

      Impractical Due To Separate Code Language

      It is difficult for developers to get acquainted with Framer’s code language and thus requires a lot of time to learn the language.

      Due to developers’ constraints in the coding guidelines, the components created are not useful.

      Less Sharing Possibilities

      Framer gives limited options for sharing with other apps.

      Plus, the interface and workflow are slightly intimidating due to their complex functionality.

      10. Lucidchart

      Lucidchart is a smart diagramming and data visualization app that comes with a wide range of collaboration features for product prototyping.

      [Source]

      You can access its extensive range of templates which can be resized and styled as per your needs.

      In its presentation mode, the Lucidchart is fully compatible with Google slides. Apart from its free plan, you can also opt for Individual, Team, or Enterprise plans.

      Pros

      Effortless Styling And Shaping

      Lucidchart lets you style and shape onto the canvas with ease with three easy steps:

      • Before dragging a shape on the canvas, select font/font size/font color/line color from the Properties at the top of the editor.
      • Drop any shape onto the canvas.
      • The selected properties automatically apply to all the images being dropped on the canvas.

      Mass formatting is also easy with these steps: click select → click on All Shapes → style the diagram the way you want.

      Quick Keyboard Shortcuts For Faster Working

      Lucidchart gives you the ease of working with its nifty keyboard, the options of which can be viewed in the editor by clicking F1 or by clicking on ‘Help on the Hotkey Reference’.

      When dealing with larger diagrams, you can easily zoom in and zoom out by scrolling up and down using the mouse.

      You can also make the slightest adjustments to the shapes (hold down the shift key + use the arrow key).

      Well Organized Diagrams With Containers

      You can now organize your diagrams by using containers or swimlanes.

      These swimlanes can be used to systematize different individuals and their responsibilities. The color-coded shapes can be placed in the appropriate containers.

      Access to these containers is easy: Click shapes on Editor’s left → under ‘Flowchart Shapes’ containers’, shapes can be accessed.

      Cons

      Limited Free Version

      The free version has a very low object limit. Clicking on the right element is at times hard to register.

      Offline Working Not Available

      You can only create charts while working in the browser as web applications cannot function offline. Plus, some templates are too complex to use. Icons cannot be searched externally or resized.

      Wrapping Up

      Some wireframe apps take more of an intuitive approach to the creation of wireframes and don’t require you to learn complex commands.

      They allow you to create your own customizable templates for various page types, which will save you a lot of time.

      Once your wireframe is complete, most tools also have the option of generating clickable mockups that can show clients how their page will look before it’s actually developed.

      We recommend using them as a part of your design workflow as they allow you to efficiently create wireframes fast, share them with teammates, and iterate quickly when changes are needed.

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