“Time is of the essence” is a bold statement that definitely applies to any design career. We all get paid by the hour, so the faster we can work, the more money we can make. This means that being able to get up and running on our design work has become a necessity. This is where wireframing comes in. You can get a general idea of what will work and what doesn’t, saving you time when developing websites. It allows you to focus on the content of each page, making each page serves its purpose to the best of its ability. How you wireframe depends on your personal workflow. Here is a list of some of the most popular wireframing tools.
Balsamiq offers low-tech wireframes in the form of sketches so that you focus on content and functionality rather than design and looks.
ProtoSahre focuses on collaborative wireframing between a team. This is geared towards a design team to streamline the process of creating a website from start to finish. ProtoShare’s focus is on UX and allows the creation of mobile apps.
Especially with CS6, wireframing and mockups have never become easier. With professional UI templates and wireframes built right in, Fireworks CS6 is geared towards web and mobile application creation, with a focus on getting up and running quickly and efficiently.
Pencil is an open source GUI prototyping tool. It works in the browser as an add-on and is geared towards making user interfaces quickly and efficiently. Highlights include stencils, page linking and the ability to make simple website mockups.
Axure boasts rapid wireframe and prototype generation, as well as the ability to develop your wireframes and mockups to working prototypes.
JumpChart is another wireframing tool that boasts the ability to create rapid wireframes and prototypes. A unique aspect to JumpCharts export ability is to export directly into Wordpress.
Prototyper is a premium web and mobile app prototyping system that supports advanced use such as gestures, conditional rules, forms and more. They have a free version, but to get access to the extras, you need to purchase the premium app.
JustProto is a wireframing tool that boasts rapid prototyping capabilities. It also has drag-and-drop capabilities, and produces fully interactive prototypes.
iPlotz allows you to create rapid, interactive prototypes by utilizing built-in wireframe components that are common the web development community. Along with wireframing, iPlotz boasts the capability of project management.
Web based and used to quickly organize and create clickable prototypes and wireframes. Pidoco also has collaborative sharing capabilities.
Besides being able to collaborate with others and being web-based, which means that you can access your work at any time with any browser, Hot Gloo also boasts an auto-saving feature.
Gliffy is a free wireframing tool that contains a library of common elements so you can get up and running in no time. The ability to add in text to make notes and add descriptions really makes this a good option for designers on a budget.
WireFrameSketcher is a simple and easy-to-use tool that allows you to build wireframes quickly and share them with other team members. Their site shows many different examples of the types of things that you can create quick mock-ups for, including: iPhone apps, websites, Facebook, and more.
Flairbuilder is a robust wireframing tool that has a UI component library and the ability to create multi-page wireframes and master pages, so you can save time by not having to rebuild your wireframes for each page.
Mockflow is interactive, allowing you to create working conceptual prototype. The unique feature is that Mockflow is hybrid, meaning that you can work online or offline. You can also create sitemaps, so that you can get through the planning process quickly and efficiently.
Mockingbird is a nice wireframing tool with a lot of built-ins to help you create wireframes and prototypes quickly and easily. Mockingbird boasts the features of having built in grids like 960gs and Blueprint and the ability to export to PDF and PNG.
Frame Box is a tool that is browser based and featured a click-and-drag layout system. This is fantastic for creating resizable, easily adjustable wireframes on the fly.
Flowcharts wireframes and mind maps can be made quickly and easily with Creately. With built-in sharing and ready-to-go templates, Creately ranks right up there with other wireframing tools.
Wireframes are an essential part of a web designer’s arsenal. They allow us to create quick mockups, sitemaps, and relate content to one another so that we can build fantastic user experiences for our clients. Do you use any of the wireframing tools listed above? If not, do you use another wireframing tool not listed here? Tell us what you use in the comments section below.