7 Prototyping Tools for Web Designers

Do you know the difference between wireframe, mockup and prototype? These three terms are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. The problem is, you shouldn’t.

A wireframe is a static, low-fidelity depiction of a design. It provides an outline of the look or shape of a proposed design, but not its functionality or feel. A mockup provides a greater amount of information. Mockups are mid- to high-fidelity depictions of a proposed design. Mockups are also static, and they do not prove interactivity.

Prototypes, on the other hand, are dynamic. They can represent your final design to almost any degree of detail you choose. A prototype can even be tested as if it were the actual end product, since it can provide the same look and feel. Of the three, the one that would make the most of an impression would be the prototype.

How to Build a Prototype

Now, the goal of a prototype is to accurately prove selected design features. Prototypes for web or app applications are typically developed in three stages:

  1. The page flows (how a user might navigate) are sketched out.
  2. Several low-fidelity versions of each page are built and usability tested.
  3. From lessons learned, details are added to create a high-fidelity model of your proposed design.

In this post, we will be check out a few prototyping tools that can help ease the process, make things easier and for you to churn out prototypes a lot faster. Here are 7 prototyping tools to try out.

InVision

InVision is according to Forbes near the top of the list of private cloud companies in the world, alongside luminaries such as Slack, Dropbox, and MailChimp. This honor is due in part to InVision’s “always-on” platform, which makes collaboration, feedback, and the building of high-fidelity prototypes so easy.

invision

With InVision, it’s possible to manage project screens and statuses from a single location, collaborate in real time, and maintain version control, while building pixel-perfect prototypes that have the look and feel of real web and mobile apps. With InVision, you can even conduct free, unlimited testing on your prototypes.

To discover what the design world and InVision’s more than 2 million users loves about this platform, sign up for a free trial. Just click on the InVision link to get started.

Pidoco

Whether you need a click-through wireframe, or a fully-interactive UX prototype, Pidoco will get you there quickly, and without fuss. Starting with the easy sketching feature, you can build a set of custom templates, create the interactive elements you need, present your prototype to others, and await their feedback – which should not be long in coming.

pidoco

Pidoco gives you everything needed to build low-fidelity prototypes to solicit quick, up-front feedback, or high-fidelity models having the same look and feel as your proposed web or app design. This tool will even generate specification documents that can serve as blueprints for team members, or can be presented to clients for sign-off.

Proto.io

Proto.io will be an ideal choice if you’re in need of a quality prototyping tool to assist you with your mobile app design activities. Proto.io is a dedicated mobile prototyping platform that runs on most browsers, requires no coding, and enables you to deploy fully-interactive mobile app prototypes and simulations that have the look and feel of the real thing.

proto.io

Three parts combine to make up this tool: a dashboard, an editor, and a player. The dashboard serves as your master control and project manager. The editor consists of a set of tools to emulate your design and build in the interactions. With the player, you can view your prototype on your web browser, interact with it, solicit feedback, and test it on real mobile devices. If mobile app design is your thing, this is the tool for you.

Webflow

For anyone looking for an all-in-one design, prototyping, and development tool, the search ends here. First of all, with Webflow, you can build and test the high-fidelity prototypes you need to assist your design efforts. But here’s where the difference comes in – everything you build is powered by production-ready HTML/CSS and JavaScript. The result?

webflow

You can seamlessly move from a fully-interactive prototype to a developed product. Prototype, design and development come in the same package, which also includes the requisite collaboration features and capabilities. And by the way, everything is responsive as well.

PowerMockup

This specialty prototyping tool kit was developed with the PowerPoint user in mind. PowerMockup is in fact a PowerPoint add-on that you can use to create wireframes and mockups for websites, desktop apps, or mobile apps. It’s simply a matter of selecting shapes and design elements from the PowerMockup library, and dropping them onto a PowerPoint slide.

powermockup

Then, you can use PowerPoint’s slideshow and animation features to preview your design with others. You can add your own shapes and elements to the library as well, and share them with other PowerPoint users if you wish.

Lucidchart

Lucidchart is an online application featuring a library of design elements and device types from which you can quickly build wireframes or mockups of your website or mobile app designs. It has a clean, user-friendly interface, and it features drag and drop technology, interactive demonstration capabilities, and a layer technology that allows you to build highly-complex simulations.

lucidchart

Lucidchart is also a handy tool for creating professional-looking project workflow diagrams and flowcharts, and its collaboration features operate smoothly and are easy to use.

HotGloo

Emulating a design’s proposed UX can sometimes present challenges. That’s why you need HotGloo. With a huge element library and UI widget gallery, export and share features as well as collaboration with team members it gets you started in almost no time.

HotGloo

If you have any questions or need any assistance they have a full documentation as well as helpful video tutorials and live webinars available. Create your prototypes right in your browser, share them or preview them on any mobile device. You can even export your work to HTML. Wireframing & prototyping has never been easier and more fun!

Wrapping it up

There is plenty to choose from this list from tools dedicated to special purposes, to an all-in-one tool that is definitely worth a look. These are all top-quality tools, so there’s no risk involved, and you can always view a demo or ask for a free trial.

These products have a large user base. They are used by or recommended by major companies. So no matter which one you may choose, you’ll find yourself in good company. Whether you are looking for a mockup, wireframe, or prototyping tool, you will find a tool for your needs above.

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