A wireframe is simply a blueprint or skeleton that allows a web designer to have a visual guide. The use of web design wireframing tools makes building a website or creating an app much easier than coding everything from scratch. Some of the top wireframing tools can save you hours upon hours of time. In addition, with some wireframing tools, you’ll be able to have your client view a mock-up before you begin the actual design work.
Because each tool can be so different, it is a smart idea to take advantage of free trials and demos. Some tools allow you to create a prototype and others do not. Some are easier to use than others, depending on your experience and background. Finding the perfect tool can take time and patience, but knowing what each offers upfront can help you narrow down your choices.
Here are seven wireframing tools to get you started:
Gliffy offers several wireframe tool packages. The most basic package is free and allows you to create five diagrams, which will be public. If you want to make your diagrams private, export them, or create more than a handful, you’ll need one of their monthly packages. Those start at $3.99/month and go up to $7.99/month.
With Gliffy, you’ll gain a simple, easy to use wireframe tool. However, Gliffy also has the ability to create flowcharts, site maps, UML charts, and site maps.
2. Frame Box
Frame Box allows you to sketch out a general layout for your website. The tool is rather basic, but it’s perfect for creating mockups. You can sketch out frames using UI units. Drag-and-drop boxes make the process easy even for a beginning designer.
You can change the size of the canvas easily, too. One feature that is pretty important is the ability to share the framework with another party. This allows you to send a mockup to a client or co-worker and get feedback on the layout of the website before you even begin. The other person can edit the layout as well to show you what they’d prefer.
Wireframe is similar to Frame Box. You can easily use it on mobile or desktop devices. This allows you to see how your layout will look on different screens in real time. It is a bit different, though, in that you can’t drag and drop. However, you have stronger control over how the final layout looks.
This tool allows you to create mockups and wireframes of your web design. Features with this tool allow you to figure out the color palette you’d like to use for your design. The primary color should be about 60% of the overall design, with a contrasting color at 30% and an accent color at 10% for a good balance and visual appeal.
You can try out different placement on the page, swap out colors and make a mockup that shows the palette you intend to use. You can also insert images to get an idea of how your final copy will look. Cacoo looks a lot like Microsoft Word, so is pretty easy to learn.
Cacoo’s free package allows you to design up to 25 sheets. You can also export in PNG format. If you need additional sheets or export formats, their paid packages offer more flexibility with quantity.
Mockplus offers a desktop-based solution for creating a prototype of a web or mobile app. The face of it is streamlined and uncluttered, making it easier to see your options and your design. You can also simply drag and drop the different features you’d like included in your app.
The software is super simple and works for even a beginner in web design to lay out basic framing and tweak it to suit the needs of the site or software being created.
There is a free version and a paid version, so review both options. The free version doesn’t include all features, but has plenty that might work for your needs.
MindMup is a well-known tool for creating flowcharts. It’s a free tool, but it allows you to easily add images, subtrees and other features at the click of a button. The icons are laid out on the right, making it easy to choose what features you’d like to add to your design. Extensions offer real-time collaboration, progress tracker and the option to connect to DropBox so you can store your maps for future use.
MindMup is great for planning the hierarchy of information on your website. Using this tool or the flowchart tool of your choice, you can lay out the major sections of your site and then decide how to arrange content within those sections.
UXPin is another well-known name is the design world. This program allows you to create wireframes and then to test out mockups from those frames. You can communicate with each of your customers throughout the design process.
The features list included with UXPin is extensive. You can also import your design files from Photoshop into UXPin, and it’s compatible with UIs such as iOS, Android, and other mobile devices. You can also try it out for free for 30 days to see what you think.
Utilizing wireframe tools simply make your design process easier. You can first put your focus on how the website or app will function for the user before you begin to add content and graphics.
There are many different wireframe tools out there you can utilize, but these are some of the ones that are either easier to use or offer the richest features. Ultimately, you have to try out different tools until you find the ones that work best for you and your clients.