Before you think about making money using an application, you first need to design its wireframe, responsible for creating a high-quality user experience blueprint for your web application. It is not hard to find a wireframe tool on the Internet but to find the one which elevates your UX is hard to find in the cluster of so many wireframes. Today, we will show you some of the best tools that can be used for building an excellent wireframe for your websites and your web applications. A wireframe tool could be the key to saving time and money as it helps build great prototypes and reduces the cost of the rework.
What is a Wireframe Tool?
A wireframe is a tool or a program that could be on the web or offline like a software. It helps web developers and web designers to a great extent as it can provide a basic framework of the web application. The framework provided by the wireframe is without any UI elements such as icons, fonts, and logos. All of the elements are depicted in the form of diagrams, and there is no use of graphics or style elements. This is done to showcase the comprehensible structural and functional outline of the design.
Importance of Wireframe in Designing
Often, UX designers take the assistance of wireframe tools to see how the information flows in projects or operations to make the information flow smooth. In other words, we can say wireframe tools are more comprehensible and intuitive alternatives to classic web designing.
Understanding a web design through a presentation might be difficult for clients. Therefore, web designers use wireframe tools to show their clients the layouts of applications before the designing of the application starts. A wireframe is a two-dimensional skeletal outline of a webpage or the app, and it can easily be created by hand if you don’t want to put too much detail.
Benefits of Using Wireframe in Web Applications
Wireframe, as we said, is quite critical. Therefore, to state the importance of it, we have outlined here some of the benefits of wireframe tools.
1. Provides Site’s Architecture Visually
If you know a bit about website development and maintenance, you know that a sitemap is generated to showcase the structure of a website. But the sitemap is generated only after the website is live, and in most cases, it becomes abstract when the website has tons of pages in it. A wireframe helps in turning the abstract nature of the flow chart into something more visually appealing and tangible, which provides information without any distractions. This allows both the developers and the clients to have a common understanding of the UX designs.
When you create a wireframe, the whole team, from developers to marketers to copywriters, can understand the purpose of each page and how the visitor’s flow will work on them. The site’s architecture and navigation, along with the organization of the primary pages and subpages, are brought to the forefront by using the wireframing technique.
2. Clarification of Website Features
A client might not be able to understand what a developer means when they are using technical terms like “hero image”, “maps integration”, “product filtering”, etc. Implementing the wireframing specific project features on a website provides clear information about how the features will be used in their website and their importance.
In some cases, you might want to take out a particular feature that you have mentioned in the wireframe due to some reason. Seeing the feature in its usual form without any visual influence will allow the client to know why you are removing it from the project.
3. Usability Comes First
Wireframing is crucial as it keeps usability at the forefront when designing the layouts of web pages. It makes it possible for everyone to focus on the ease of use, conversion paths, naming of links, navigation placements, and feature placements during the designing and programming phase of the project.
With its implementation, it is easier to find out the flaws in the architecture of your website. Finding the issues in the website’s architecture will help solve them in the early development stages. Moreover, wireframing exposes developers to the visitors’ purpose, and how they can fulfill those purposes effectively.
4. Leaves Room for Scalability and Updates
A wireframe can quickly tell how well a website can manage content growth. Because in most of the businesses, flexibility to updates does matter. A company might have only 10 products to sell online initially but is working on increasing these numbers. Thus, you want to accommodate this growth without causing any changes in the website’s design, architecture, or useability. Wireframing facilitates highlighting these crucial areas of content growth.
5. Makes Design Iterative
Instead of putting in design, branding, and marketing all at once, wireframes make sure that each one of these elements is separated and dealt with one at a time. This allows clients to give their feedback on the different elements individually, and a developer can quickly pinpoint which feature needs some changes. If a team is skipping the wireframing process, it will lead to delays in the feedback as different elements will mix up, and the presentation becomes complicated.
6. Saves Time
When you get a clear picture and the roadmap for the development of any project, the rest of the part becomes much easier. Every developer in the team will be on the same page with the development cycle and knows precisely what they have to do.
Top 5 Best Wireframe Tools
There are tons of options available on the Internet when it comes to choosing the wireframe tool for blueprinting your UX, but there are multiple factors that one needs to know. Here, we have discussed all the essential features of the wireframe tools to make it easier for you to understand their working and implementation.
Moqups is an excellent wireframe tool for designing mobile and web applications. You can use this tool anywhere and on multiple platforms. As a result, building a prototype and diagrams is a piece of cake. Moqups is the visual collaboration tool, combining the whiteboard, diagram, and multiple design features with a single online app.
With its think, plan, and communicate approach, one gets to create a wide range of visual materials for a project. With the use of Moqups, your team will be able to define the information hierarchy, page density, and user flow. Moreover, one gets to find the structure and the critical requirements of the project with Moqups implementation.
- It has a built-in library that includes thousands of icon sets and ready-to-use stencils designed for popular use cases.
- One can easily drag and drop elements and pages to reorder or organize them in a better way.
- With the use of master pages, one can easily apply the changes to all associated pages of the website.
- It comes with the integration of cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Cloud, and Slack.
- Moqups saves data in the cloud. As a result, team members can work on a single project while sitting anywhere in the world.
- The feedback can be marked on the design, so it becomes easier to note them down and make edits accordingly.
- A designer can upload an image from their local system if they want.
- It provides room for scalability without sacrificing the quality of the structure.
There are a lot of things that go on your screen when you are using Moqups, but that doesn’t mean the user experience is confusing. A great feature of Moqups is that you can save your elements as templates, and from there, you can add them to other pages and projects if you like. Keep this in mind, Moqups free trial is only suitable for testing, and it doesn’t require any credit card details. The base price starts from $16 a month, and you can choose to pay annually or monthly.
The difference in the pricing depends on the number of projects and objects you are going to use per project. Lastly, the company does offer some discounts, so the more people you add to the team, the less you have to pay per user.
2. Adobe XD
Adobe XD is a wireframing software that is available for both Mac and Windows users. The software can be used for prototyping the user interface and user experience of a web application. Adobe XD is pretty simple to use, and it’s suitable for trained as well as junior-level designers. With the help of prototyping in this software, one can create interactions between pages and artboards for UI. A user can leave comments, create showcase videos and give that to your client so that they can see how the design looks.
The only issue with Adobe XD is that it’s not online software; thus, you will first have to download it on your system. Most of the workflow that a designer does in Adobe XD uses the artboards, which is a canvas on which a designer has to work on.
- It allows prototyping inputs via mouse, keyboard, game controller, touch gestures, and even through voice commands. The inputs usually include moving from one page to the other, animating an object, etc.
- The design of Adobe XD is quite responsive, as one can edit and add new changes to the artboard with just a few clicks.
- In addition to this, Adobe XD also comes with the functionality of Experience Design which heavily relies on vector graphics.
- Once the wireframing is done, you can save the end result as a cloud document and invite other designers from your team to provide their inputs. The older version of the document will be present for 30 days in the software, and if you want to keep it for an indefinite time, you can bookmark it.
- A designer can easily integrate projects which are made in some other Adobe software, and all the layers and objects will be kept with the file. As a result, one can keep their web design principles intact between multiple software.
It does have some drawbacks. First, it can’t export files to direct CSS, even though a plugin lets the user export files in HTML, but CSS is still missing. There are a few hiccups when trying to watch the live preview of mobile designs. It’s quite a new software and still lacks features in the animation department. But we are sure Adobe is working to fix these issues.
The starter plan is completely free, and for a single application, a designer needs to pay $9.99 a month. For multiple applications, it is $52.99 per month with Adobe support.
Mockplus is another wireframing tool that is developed to provide designers a platform to create interactive wireframes for their websites and mobile application projects. The designs can be shared across different platforms from the software. Mockups offer a large number of ready-to-use components, icons, and UIs, and templates. As a result, it does make the designing of the wireframe pretty simple. Moreover, being a collaborative tool, Mockplus allows the entire team to work on the same project at the same time.
- First, there is no learning curve for newcomers, and if you need help, you can invite them with just one click.
- It is a multi-platform software that can be used for creating prototyping for desktop and mobile applications.
- There are 200 pre-designed components and 3,000 icons which include 2,600 SVG icons.
- The customer support is pretty impressive, and it works unbiased for both paid and free versions.
- Lastly, the design of the Mockplus helps in the agile development of the project.
To execute simultaneous actions, you need to realize with one single interaction. In a nutshell, Mockplus is suitable for anyone who wants to finish their design work in a short time. The basic version is free, and the paid version starts at $59 a year for a single user, and from there, the price and the number of users increases.
4. Axure RP
Axure allows its users to build low functionality wireframes as well as high-fidelity wireframes. A designer can use Axure to craft HTML mockups that can be used for both websites and apps. The built-in share function of the software allows the wireframes to run live on mobile devices. As a result, the designer can easily find out the issues with the wireframe and make changes. Axure is a dedicated wireframe tool that Microsoft, Amazon, and even BBC are using.
The list of features includes symbol override, developer inspects mode, animation effects, CSS exporting, and documentation. It is an excellent choice for experienced designers who are looking to use the full potential of their UX knowledge to build a fantastic interface.
- Axure has several third-party libraries which can be used for creating wireframes. These libraries are both free and paid, so one gets to decide which one they want to use.
- The high-fidelity wireframes developed in Axure use feedback from clients to make the design perfect.
- A designer can choose the level of fidelity for their project.
- With the use of adaptive view, it can easily create responsive wireframes for a complex project.
- There are tons of company options that can help individuals learn and implement new elements. Axure uses video tutorials, online forums, and other methods of teaching to make designers understand its working.
The learning curve on Axure is pretty steep as it works on complex interactions from the very start. Moreover, its conditional judgment, variables, along with repeaters, requires previous experience in these elements.
There is a free version for a single user. Paid versions of the software start at $25 a month and allow unlimited prototypes with the limit of 1,000 projects on a cloud. Also, if you want to have a custom offering, you can contact the company.
For many designers, Canva might not seem like a wireframe tool when they look at it for the first time. But this online all-in-one design tool can help in creating graphic designs, which includes both UX/UI wireframing creations. It might not look like an obvious choice, but it has a robust suite that helps in drag-and-drop icons which are paired with its ready-made templates. That makes it ideal for wireframing basic to medium size projects.
- In just a few minutes, the wireframe can be designed using Canva.
- One can even make edits in their wireframe on the go using its Android and iOS app.
- It comes with more than 50 ready-to-use wireframe layouts.
- Sharing it is pretty simple. Download it from the website in multiple formats, or send it via email or by a direct wireframe link.
- A designer can decide whether he wants people to collaborate in the project and make changes to it.
- Moreover, Canva is a complete online web application, and it does not require offline installation. As a result, even in the most basic systems, it can run smoothly if the Internet connection is fine.
- Also, Canva can be used anywhere from any system, as it’s an online platform; one can even use it from their tablets and mobile phones (mobile applications).
- Lastly, you can upload custom images directly to your wireframe using the image uploader available on the platform.
Canva is free to use, but it does have many features for which you need to pay. For example, if there is a specific design you want to use, you can pay for it separately. Or you can pay the premium price of $12.95 per month to get it for free. The only issue with Canva is that it is not purely a wireframing tool to its core. There are some functionalities and features which are missing from this software. But when it comes to user experience, there is no wireframing software that can outperform Canva.
The greatness of a wireframe lies in its simplicity; in the end, it all comes down to how many features you want to showcase in your prototype. The above-mentioned wireframe tools are helpful in almost every scenario, and they can help a designer build simple to intricate UX designs. These wireframe tools are the ones that a designer needs to work on when a new project starts.
If we have to choose one wireframe tool from the above list, we will go with Moqups without a doubt due to its user experience and the massive amount of elements, objects, and pre-designed prototypes left for a designer to use. Moreover, a designer can make an element of his choice, and save it for other projects.