7 Tools for Building Better Prototypes Quickly and Easily

Wireframes, mockups, and prototypes serve somewhat similar purposes, but they are not one and the same. The names are often used wrongly. And it can lead to selecting one type of tool when you would likely be better off with another. This can be especially true if you’re looking for a tool to test your designs.

– A wireframe is a low-fidelity model of a design. It is intended to give a picture of the ultimate goal, without going into great detail. A wireframe is static, and has no real substance or functionality.

– A mockup provides a more detailed representation of the end aim. It can offer a highly detailed visual demonstration of a proposed design, but it is also a static model.

– A prototype can provide a low-, mid-, or high-fidelity representation of the design. Since prototypes are by nature dynamic, they can be used to simulate the look and feel of the end product and the product’s UX. Prototypes are often used for usability testing.

All three can be used for purposes of collaboration and to receive feedback.

A prototype can be beautiful, or it can be ugly; but to serve its intended purpose, it must work. Selecting the prototyping right tool for the job can make that happen.

Prototyping Tools for Streamlining Your Design Flow

InVision

1

With 2 million-plus users, InVision powers digital product design at nearly three-quarters of the leading Fortune 100 companies.

There’s a good reason for it; this product design platform helps designers and their teams prototype, review, refine, and user test their web and mobile products. Best of all, they can accomplish these things without writing a single line of code, and it takes just minutes to build a working, high-fidelity prototype.

Forbes has taken notice of both InVision the prototyping tool and its parent company. Forbes recommends the former, and lists the latter among the top cloud-based companies in the world.

Being a cloud company means the InVision workflow platform is always-on — for prototyping, team collaborating, testing, and much more.

Because of this, it can play a game-changing role in smoothing out and speeding up your team’s entire design process. Version controls are present too, so there’s no need to worry about losing your place during a flurry of feedback, suggestions, changes, and fixes.

Pidoco

2

Pidoco is ideal for web and mobile app designers alike. It’s also an excellent tool for teams because of its extremely shallow learning curve. It’s not necessary to send the entire team off to class for several days to get a handle on it. Most of those using Pidoco for the first time, find themselves being productive from the get-go.

What Pidoco can do for you or your team is to enable you to turn out high-fidelity, fully-interactive UX prototypes quickly.

This tool can also be used for whatever wireframe or low-fidelity prototyping needs you may have; making it a useful design aid to have from the time the design phase is initiated until completion. You can sign up for free, and you can check out their pricing plans as you do so.

Proto.io

3

Proto.io is a pioneer, world-class application prototyping platform. It is used by designers, entrepreneurs, and developers alike; providing them with everything needed to validate their product ideas early, while spending minimal time and effort doing so.

Proto.io lets you create prototypes for any screen size, from mobile apps to be viewed on smart phones to the Internet of Things.
You can put this prototyping platform to good use throughout the design process, using it early on for wireframes and mockups, while creating animated, interactive high-fidelity prototypes suitable for conducting testing during any stage of the design process.

No design or coding skills are necessary, and the sharing, collaborating, testing and feedback functionality you need is there as well. Sign up for a 15-day full feature trial, and be prepared to become another of Proto.io’s 330,000 satisfied users.

Webflow

4

So much of the design process ends up being useful for a time — and then completely pointless. From sketches to wireframes to copy docs, it all gets “thrown away.”

But nothing need go to waste with Webflow. Everything you build, including the final high-fidelity prototypes that exhibit the look and feel you want in the final product, is powered by production-ready HTML/CSS and JavaScript. You can either move your prototype seamlessly into the production stage, or pass your design, with the code, on to the developers, making their job a whole lot easier.

However you choose to use Webflow, you’ll find it can significantly streamline your design process. Collaboration with team members is also easy. Try out this powerful prototyping platform today. It may change the way you work in more ways than one.

PowerMockup

5

PowerPoint users no longer need to be content with presenting a slideshow of static mockups or wireframes when it’s time to invite feedback or sign off on their design. PowerMockup is a PowerPoint add-on consisting of a large library of shapes and design elements.

Simply drag and drop these shapes and elements onto a slide, and let PowerPoint’s animation and slideshow features take care of the rest. This interactive storyboard approach provides an excellent vehicle for supporting design review and feedback sessions.

HotGloo

6

There are several things to look out for when searching for a prototyping tool: it should be easy to learn and use. It should have the features you need. Add friendly and reliable support, full documentation, live webinars and you’ll end up with HotGloo.

With this award winning prototyping platform you can create prototypes for web, mobile, or wearable right in your browser.

It features a 2000+ UI elements library, and your account will be licensed for multiple users so you can add others to collaborate. A mobile-optimized platform is also included for user testing. HotGloo is well documented with a help section, video tutorials and live webinars. Try free today!

Lucidchart

7

Give some thought to reserving a place in your design toolbox for Lucidchart. With this handy tool, and its extensive library of design elements, you can quickly create high-quality wireframes and mockups to share with team members and stakeholders.

Where Lucidchart really shines however, is in chart and flow diagram construction. As a professional designer or design team, you never want to be caught having to make a presentation with hastily-prepared flow diagrams that can negatively reflect on your design skills. With Lucidchart, it’s a simple task to create professional-looking charts and flow diagrams – and do them right!

In conclusion

At first glance, it might seem reasonable to assume that a list of prototyping tools would feature 7 products that are pretty much the same. That’s not the case at all. There are plenty of differences. And you should have little trouble in determining which is a good choice for you.

While their features and capabilities differ in some respects, all 7 are quality products. Whether you need a tool for creating wireframes, mockups, high-fidelity prototypes, or all the above, there’s something here for you. Don’t forget looking into the flowcharting tool if you have such a need. You might find the prototyping tool that’s powered by HTML/CSS code worth some thought.

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