Want to choose the right wireframes tools? Then you have come to the right place. We have gathered only the most valuable information about this in our article.
What is a wireframe?
Before we talk about wireframe tools, let’s define what a wireframe is? Why do we need it? Because you can also find a mockup and prototype. They are so similar. It’s much better to know the difference in advance.
A wireframe is a technical document that includes all sorts of lines, blocks, elements, notes. All this is highlighted in two or three colors. Few people use more colors, because the main thing here is not the visual appeal, but the sketchy image. Therefore, apart from lines, blocks, elements, notes, and two or three colors, nothing is included in the wireframe. To understand how the wireframe works, you need to remember the famous phrase: “Less is more.” To create a good wireframe, you need to learn how to transfer the maximum amount of information with minimal means.
It is also noteworthy that often drawing a wireframe takes only an hour, maybe two, but its planning takes weeks or even longer. It is important that your colleagues and clients understand this, and only you can explain this to them. And if you don’t have time for this, you can send this article to your clients so that they understand how hard it is to create simple things and appreciate your difficult work.
When to use wireframes?
Usually, wireframes are used as project documentation, because in essence, a wireframe is the basis of any application. Since they show the interaction of the user with the interface in separate static moments, they need to be accompanied by textual comments: both short explanations, and complex technical documentation, if necessary. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to do this, and often it depends on the tool you choose to work with the wireframes. In this article, you will see a list of wireframe tools for UI/UX designers.
However, wireframes can be used in a less formal way. Since they are simple and quick to create, they, as sketches, are well suited for discussing new ideas within the team. If developers ask how something should be done, the answer can be given in the form of a quickly made wireframe. This takes less than an hour, but it’s understandable and with the help of a well-made wireframe, you can easily anticipate errors or shortcomings of an idea. So, this is the perfect way to discuss innovation with the team.
Wireframes are difficult to adapt for usability testing, although they can come in handy for getting feedback during the initial study when you urgently need insight and are not worried about methodological purity.
In the general design process, wireframes can be unexpectedly effective and even useful for raising team spirit, because working with this brings the team together. Nevertheless, wireframes remain an important initial stage of complex projects.
Wireframes should be created quickly because time is a new currency and it is very important when creating wireframes. Also, most of this time should be spent on discussions with the team and reflection. Moving different blocks around the screen should take a minimum of time, but discussing and justifying each solution requires a lot of time. Moving the blocks, you seem to imagine different versions of the same application. Your goal is to choose the perfect option.
Appearance should be aesthetic, but at the same time very simple. Black-gray-white is a typical wireframe palette. Tits are sometimes added to this palette to highlight links, but this is not necessary. The prostate is one of the main trends in 2020, so it is important to remember that everything in the application should be simple and intuitive.
Stubs are crisscrossed rectangles with a corresponding description. Thus, you replace blocks that are not yet ready. Of course, everything has its own time and some parts of your project can take longer than others. In any case, the wireframe is just the framework of the project, and not the project itself. But the better the frame, the better the result.
Remember, a good wireframe forms the basis of the design and determines the direction of work for the entire team. Spend enough time creating a wireframe, because it has many advantages.
The best wireframe tools
In this article, we will consider the best wireframe tools for UI/UX designers that will help any commander in working on a project. We highlighted only those wireframe tools that were tested by our team members. This article is written based on our own experience and we are ready to share this with you.
It is unlikely that it will be possible to find a person who has never heard of Sketch. This program is so popular that everyone has heard about it at least once. And this is not without reason.
Sketch is an intuitive vector editor designed for rapid prototyping, available for download on the Mac. This program has something to show modern designers.
This tool has the following features:
- intuitive interface;
- lightning-fast prototyping;
- powerful instrumentation;
- hundreds of plugin options;
- code export and much more.
It is very comfortable and even stylish. The program looks beautiful. She wants to spend a lot of time. It is perfect for teamwork. It has everything you need to create a great wireframe. Make sure of this from your own experience.
At first glance, it might seem like an ideal tool, but is it? Everything has its minuses, but what is the minus of this program?
The biggest drawback of Sketch is that there is no software version for Windows. But that is not all.
In order to start working in this program, you will have to spend some time installing endless plugins that increase the application’s ability. This may not be very convenient for those who want to find a tool that is immediately ready for use.
This tool has a free trial. The free term lasts 90 days. After this period your team will have to pay from $9 per month. You can learn more details on the official website.
This app is ideal for wireframing, designing and prototyping. It is very comfortable, stylish and modern. This tool has every chance to become the best wireframe tools for UI/UX designers in 2020. But it’s up to you. In this program you will find:
- functions for easy replication of lists;
- adaptive resizing of content;
- functions of joint presentation and chat;
- tools and APIs for enabling custom integrations.
Of course, the list of useful functions does not end there. On the contrary, this is only the beginning. There really are many useful features that help you work faster. It’s even hard to define the only one feature that could be the best. So, this program saves you time and increases your potential. Using Adobe XD is really effective. Don’t you believe it? Check it out for yourself.
Application integrations and plug-ins include Stark, UserTesting, Google Sheets, Trello, CloudApp, Overflow, Angle, UI Faces and others.
The animation and auto-animation functions are not as fully functional as they could be. This is one of the few drawbacks of this program. Nevertheless, this does not reduce its rating, because this program has such great potential that it is impossible not to evaluate.
Alas, there is also no way to enable micro-interactions and communication between prototypes, which allows users to assemble artboards into a single file, significantly slowing down the program as it grows. Nevertheless, if this is not critical for working in your team, then you should definitely download Adobe XD.
Adobe XD starts at $9.99 per user per month. Reasonable price for a decent choice.
Omnigraffle is considered one of the best wireframe tools. But where did such fame come from? Now you will know about it.
In this tool you will find a powerful and easy to use application with a huge selection of different stencils to create cool diagrams. Everything here is so convenient that it saves time. Saving time is a very important part of creating a wireframe.
Use this tool you will find:
- interactive activities;
- editing without a mouse;
- creating subgraph diagrams and much more.
You will be impressed by the variety of features and how it all works. This tool is intuitive and reliable. You will enjoy using this tool.
Omnigraffle really excels in the usability category of many competitors. This is truly one of the best wireframe tools in your niche that you can find.
You will also be pleasantly surprised when you see a whole section on their official website dedicated to manuals, and each document is offered in various formats to meet the needs of users. There you will find answers to any question. Everything is done here so that you get the maximum result. Convenience, support, access manuals, an intuitive interface are all just a shortlist of the advantages of this tool.
You can also find training videos that will become your reliable assistant in mastering this program.
Unfortunately, Omnigraffle does not support any integration, and this is a major software flaw. However, you can put up with this, because this program has a large list of advantages, right?
Just like Sketch, Omnigraffle is only available for Apple OS. This program has a trial version, which remains free for up to two weeks. Take this chance to appreciate all the benefits of this program. Perhaps this program is exactly what you were looking for.
Mockplus is a reliable tool for simple and quick prototyping of mobile, web and desktop applications. This program is famous for the fact that it is very convenient to work in. On the Internet, it is easy to find thousands of positive reviews from users. This program has a really good reputation.
Mockplus includes about 200 components and over 3,000 icons to save a lot of time and development effort. This is an obvious plus, which unfortunately does not have every tool designed for this purpose. Drag and drop elements to create interactive prototypes on an intuitive work canvas with a clean, spacious interface. Let the principle of operation of each similar program is similar, but still, there are some differences. You should use this program at least a day to understand what these differences are. A simple scan of the QR code allows you to test your prototypes on a real device or publish the project in the cloud and get a public weblink. This is very convenient when you are working on a large project and you always have a deadline earlier than you expected. This tool allows you to work to the limit. You will understand what it is about when you download it to your computer or laptop.
Moskplus starts at $199 per year and has a free trial, which you definitely need to use. You can find different paid plans on their website.
Axure RP 9
This tool will be your best assistant. Everything that you can think of, Axure will embody in the best way. This is a reliable application that allows you to:
- to plan;
- create prototypes;
- transfer frameworks to developers without code.
You will like this application if your goal is to achieve a grandiose result in a short time. In the center of the Axure interface is a canvas on which you create various diagrams by placing widgets. It is very convenient and, of course, it’s intuitive.
This program is used by such well-known companies as Amazon, Target, BBC, and Microsoft. If such famous companies choose this cool tool to work on multimillion-dollar projects, then it’s really worth it. Perhaps the time has come for you to make your choice?
Axure provides wireframe tools for creating diagrams, customer journeys, and wireframes. Additional features include conditional logic, responsive product views, animation effects, code export functionality, simple cloud storage and sharing, and much more. Spend a little time learning this program so that you truly appreciate all the benefits of this cool tool.
Axure’s drawback is the lack of integration with third-party applications in the traditional sense.
Also, the disadvantage is the fact that the command and cloud functionality are quite simple compared to other software on the market.
The cost of this wonderful tool starts from $29 per user per month. There is also a free version that lasts 30 days. During this time, you will be able to appreciate all the benefits of this program.
Why do I need a wireframe?
Professional designers use wireframe because of the following advantages:
- structured design
You know where everything will be located, even before moving on to specific technical details.
- creating the foundation at an early stage
The navigation menus and layout determine how the rest of the project will be developed. If there is a problem, it is better to identify it at the beginning, and not at the stage of a detailed prototype.
- The design is focused on content.
More opportunities for creativity and experimentation. A wireframe is easy to create. Therefore, you can experiment without spending a lot of time and effort.
If you think that the items on this list are not very important, then you should consider whether you are building your work correctly.
About wireframe tools
The above-mentioned wireframe tools are distinguished by the fact that they provide the conditions for the maximum effective work. That is why these wireframe tools are considered the best.
In fact, there is no particular difference between these wireframe tools. You can use any of them and get all the main advantages. The choice depends on the operating system that you use and on your personal preferences. Therefore, no matter what tool you choose, you will be absolutely right in your choice. Go ahead.
How to create a stunning wireframe?
Wireframes can be created using an image editor, specialized wireframe tools, or even drawn on paper. But why choose if you can use it all together.
The experience of our designers shows that paper is also suitable for the initial stage, but it comes to the first discussions, to teamwork, of course, you need to use one of the special programs designed specifically for this purpose. Paper is suitable for spontaneous ideas. After all, you do not always have a computer at hand. But nevertheless, preference should be given to the program. Yet now is 2020.
Before moving on to the details, check out the various sites. You need to know how others do the same. The more examples you see, the easier it will be for you to get started. When viewing examples, you will surely find inspiration, and this is already a great start.
If you regularly pay attention to how other designers or sites make their wireframes, over time you will have an idea of how exactly the wireframes help organize the information on the screen. This is a useful skill that will turn you into a professional.
Different designers have different approaches to wireframes and how to turn this into layouts or code. You must find something that emphasizes your strengths and is most convenient for you. At first, this will seem to you a difficult task, but the more times you do the same thing, the faster you will understand how it works and what you need to do to achieve the desired result.
Indeed, in the programs described there are not so many different things. Only you decide what is more convenient for you. You may have to try this or that process several times before deciding that it is the most efficient. The same applies to the programs in which you work. Therefore, do not take the time to try different programs. And yet the most important thing is planning.
How often do you plan your work? In order to achieve a good result, you need to plan the whole process well. A wireframe is an ordering, giving the idea of clear forms. In such a case, it is impossible without planning. One way or another, you will develop your own process, but it comes with experience. In the end, it’s not so important what wireframe tools you use, your experience is much more important.
To set the information hierarchy
When you are satisfied with the location of the blocks, proceed to gradually fill them with text to get an idea of whether the information is well structured. Be guided by the rule that the information for your audience should be clear even on a black and white wireframe. If so, then immediately begin to be proud of yourself. You did it. And yet, how to achieve a clear hierarchy?
Use a different font size for this purpose to start highlighting different types of information. Feel free to experiment at this stage. Sometimes, adding more details, you can see that this arrangement of elements is not entirely suitable. This is the purpose of wireframes. An experiment is your path to your unique vision.
Turning a wireframe into a design layout
Since the stage of converting a wireframe into a design layout involves teamwork, it is then that it will become clear how well you made the wireframe. If you have received a few questions about how your wireframe works, then it turned out to be understandable. If the result matches it, then you did it fine.
Now you know that choosing the right tool is important, but still, this is not the most important thing. Now you know that simplicity requires much more attention and diligence than complexity. Trying to create simple and understandable designs, you spend more resources. The degree of this simplicity depends on you, but if your task is to create a stylish design, then your design simply must be simple and clear. In 2020, simplicity is the main trend. And you should remember this throughout the year.
When choosing a tool for work, do not spend more time choosing than working. Your UI/UX design experience is what really matters. Your experience is your best assistant, not a tool.