Concept of globalization hits the world with ceaseless creativity and imagination amongst people ranging from the youths to the elders. Judging by the fact that creativity produces opportunities in the field of marketing, wireframing and prototyping are definitely in the list. These are tools which not only make your websites appear to be nice and neat, but also attracting.
Following on from our Great Usability Tool Roundup we’d like to feature a number of helpful wireframing and prototyping tools. Based on my own experience in talking with people working on user experience design, I know there isn’t one tool for everyone, so today we’d like to present you with some of the better options available.
Wireframing and Prototyping: In a nutshell
Wireframing is a really great way to help you work out the initial layout and design of your (or your clients) site. It means you can come up with a range of different concepts without having to invest a huge amount of time or money into each concept. You can do both low fidelity (sketches, really) and high fidelity wireframes, test them with one of the usability tools we listed last time, and work out what is going to be the best design for you,
Prototyping means creating an actual, functional version of a website using special prototyping tool. It uses the same navigation structure and layout as your final site, so you can easily observe how the users interact with the new design that you have created. Using prototyping tools is a really quick and easy way to get a live site for you or your clients to play with, and gives a good indication of what the final site will be like.
Many of these tools can do wireframing and prototyping, so we haven’t separated them into different sections. Feel free to ask if you are unsure about which does what. Read on for a list of really helpful tools, and be sure to let us know in the comments if there are any great tools we’ve missed.
Axure is one of the most popular rapid prototyping tools out there, and has a very big following. It is a hugely powerful tool that has good community around it. It runs on both Windows and Mac. ($589)
Mockingbird is a neat web app for creating wireframes. It allows you to add links easily between your documents so users can get more interactive experience. The great thing is that you can also collaborate with other users. Since it doesn’t use flash, you can even use it on your iPhone or iPad. (Free – $85/month)
Balsamiq Mockups is an Adobe Air application, so it runs on Mac, Windows and Linux. It is an application with a load of functionality and strong community around it. Well, it is worth to have a look. ($79)
Hotgloo is another wireframing web app that is designed for online collaboration. It has a range of different tools baked in for putting together a range of different website types. I can’t deny, it’s pretty too. (Free – $48/month)