Prototypes are extremely useful in effectively and inexpensively conveying an idea. It is mostly used in creative fronts where the creators have a bunch of ideas and need to consult about them with their clients.
Here, we will be involved with prototyping tools for UI and UX designers. A good prototyping tool can help you demonstrate your ideas, create a collaboration between you and your clients, and in doing so, make products faster.
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The best prototyping tools are those which seamlessly blend in ease of use with sharing and collaborating features. Once you have something that delivers both, now it turns to narrow down your search based on which tools offer the best features that are compatible with your working style. And finally comes the price, which is also something to take into consideration.
All in all, the market is saturated with so many tools that you might find yourself paralyzed by all the choices. So here we have narrowed down to a list of top 10. You are bound to find something that suits your creative flow, and help you become more productive.
So without further ado, here are 10 Best Prototyping Tools For UI And UX Designers 2019:
Invision Studio encompasses mostly all of the features we mentioned are desirable in UI and UX prototyping tools. In its core, it is designed to better teamwork and in-team communication. The tool also comes with advanced wireframe and high-end designs. With minimal interactions, you will be able to quickly develop a desired prototype and share it with your team and collaborate on what needs to be done.
With all these features and options in store, it further adds to the appeal that InVision Studio is free to use and compatible with all systems. It is also one of the most widely used tools in the product design process.
Axure – Prototyping Tool
Axure is the most powerful prototype that does not need any coding. The main features that Axure offers include Dynamic Content, Conditional Flow, Animations, Data-driven, Adaptive Views, and Math functions. All you have to do is simple single click-through diagrams and all other features without any single line of coding.
Axure has made the sharing of the content so much easier. Just click a button and Axure RP will publish all your diagrams and prototypes through cloud or on-premises. All you have to do is just send a link and the other user can view all your data on his/her own browser.
Furthermore, for mobile devices, Axure Share App for iOs and Android are also available.
For using the feature of diagram and documentation, you can create flow charts, wireframes, mockups, user journeys, personas, idea boards, and almost everything. All you have to do is drag and drop elements from already available libraries to create your own customized content and style it as per your own choice of gradients, line styles, and text formats.
But you have to make sure that all the used formats are up to the mark and should be functional. You have to save all the tasks, keep the records and organize your notes into separate fields. You have to choose the notes that are to be presented in the HTML or in an auto-generated Word document, and that also includes snapshots.
Axure also allows collaboration which means multiple people can work on the same task at the same time. It makes it easier to create team projects and also it saves a lot of time.
Framer – Interactive Design Tool
Framer is considered to be the most interactive, lightning and fast design that brings all your creative ideas and design to life – where every graphic you create is interactive and responsive. Framer is very fast in its actions and does the working in seconds and brings the content closer to production.
Framer X allows prototyping for everyone that means that a lot of tools are offered for everyone according to their ease to create high-level interactions in just some simple steps.
The link tool allows adding changes like push and overlay or creates nested scroll vies with many angled gestures.
Advanced scrolling feature allows you to draw movable areas that are connected to the content layers without any limits and boundaries.
Its other options include nested scrolling, vertical sides, fixed headers, and many more.
You can go from static to motion in minutes. All you have to do is a drag to connect between screens and layers, and then the rest of the animation is brought to life by them. They also offer customized transitions like push and overlay, and you can customize the directions of their animations. They have incredibly smooth, 60FPS, native-level flows.
Live feedback is another feature that Framer offers. You can preview your custom design using their preview window. You can either view a single frame of the entire prototype as per requirement. Pick any of the presentation options from the library from hands to photo-realistic device frames.
The feature of perfect pagination helps in design swipeable UI elements using the page tool, or you can also link to frames containing many cards. You can do it in just three steps: connect, customize, and swipe, and you are done with perfection.
Sketch can look like a hybrid between Photoshop and Illustrator. It is extremely lightweight and provides unlimited artboards at your disposal. As far as features are concerned, the tool is jam-packed, and mastering all of them is a challenge of its own. Overall, it is one of the most polished vector based designing tools for quick and intuitive prototype creation.
Do note; there isn’t any feature that will help you with team-based collaboration. But to make up for it, you will find many exclusive features that make designing process as easy as pie. For example, there is the option to pre-design elements and replicate the design on different artboards and shapes. Also, there is another feature/plugin for the tool which lets you format your design into code.
Now, if you are interested, the software is available at a price of $99 but is exclusive to Mac Users.
UXPin is currently the only end-to-end platform in the market. It provides all the necessary features like prototyping, collaboration, documentation, and developer handoff, all wrapped up in a convenient and user-friendly package.
Out of the lot, UXPin the most robust and feature filled tool. Just for prototyping purposes, you get access to features such as responsive breakpoints, animations, advanced interactions, CSS styling, built-in UI libraries, and the list carries on.
Besides all these, the tools allow users to import files from Sketch or Photoshop, attach it to your documentation, and then see everything magically come together. The only thing to complain about the UXPin is its steep learning curve, but that is given since you get access to a host of features that needs mastering.
Now the tool is available at monthly subscription plans whose pricing depends on the number of projects you do with it. Regardless, it is available for both Mac and Windows users.
Figma is one of the newcomers in the world of designing tools and is sort of a budget-friendly version of Sketch. It comes with the same interface as used by Sketch, which itself is loved for being user-friendly.
However, unlike Sketch, Figma provides space for team collaboration features. Users can give comments on other team member’s designs and that too in real time. From the product team to the design team, and the people in development, everybody can pitch in together to make sure everybody is on the same plane. This helps make the process much more fluid and efficient. Coupling this with the already user-friendly interface inspired by Sketch, and you have a highly productive prototyping tool.
Now the tool is available for both Mac and Windows users. It can be used for free for the first three projects but after that will warrant a price of $12 each month for unlimited projects.
Webflow is a godsend for people wishing to create a website without using codes. It can be used by clients to effectively convey what type of website they want or designers can make use of it to swiftly make a website prototype.
The tool boasts a similar user interface to that of Photoshop, so existing users of the later will be able to adapt rather quickly. The tool supports full integration with Google Fonts, High-Quality CMS, Storage and Full export of the design code, and so on.
If you are planning on making a static website, then it can serve to be a great tool for designing and not only prototyping purposes. It also boasts the freedom to export and change the site’s HTML or CSS tags, so advanced users can find it to be even more flexible.
Overall, the tool is available for free up to 2 projects and is compatible with Windows and Mac. If you want to involve with even more work, then you can go for their paid plans which starts at $16 a month for ten projects and $35 a month for unlimited projects.
We have been talking about some Photoshop and Illustrator inspired tools up above. And now, we have an entry from the creator of those programs – Adobe XD. This is specifically designed software to help with UX prototyping.
The software revolves around two cores – Design and Prototype. Under the design tab, you get features to help you create your design, including options like simple vectors and text tools. And on the Prototype tab, you get the option for previewing, and sharing your design.
The software is currently in beta and available for free to all users. As far as platform compatibility is concerned, both Mac and Windows users can use the software.
If you are good with Photoshop, then you can swiftly create website templates and turn them into sites using Rapid UI. It is one of the most useful tools for web designers who are also knowledgeable in graphics.
The tool is super easy to use. All you have to do is create a PSD file, drag and drop it onto the provided dashboard, and in a few moments, you will have a complete HTML and CSS powered demo website. There are even tools that can help you make the prototypes even more interactive with the inclusion of videos, maps, buttons, sliders, and so on. The code that is generated by the tool is completely accessible by the users, which makes it all the more useful in collaborative situations.
As of now, the tool is in beta and is free to use. It is also compatible with both Windows and Mac users.
Marvel is a design tool which is super intuitive to use and can also be easily comprehended by non designers as well. The user interface is extremely simplified making it easy to learn, and super fast when it comes to producing results.
Besides its simplicity, the tool also has strong integration with the likes of Photoshop and Sketch. You can seamlessly import libraries of useful elements from Sketch and implement them into Marvel prototype.
Hype 3 is possibly the best prototyping tool for quickly rendering some animations. The entire software functions as if you were using After Effects but with the use of keyframes. The tool can effortlessly record all the animations you designed and export them to HTML5 as well. Besides this, another selling point for the tool would be the fact that it requires no coding know-how and can be used on a variety of devices, including mobile phones. Pricing for the tool is set at $99 for the full version, but there is also a free trial version for you to check out.
Origami comes to us from the people behind Facebook. If you intended on implementing modern design principles on your projects, then the tool will prove to be of excellent use.
You will get access to a lot of features to help you visualize your ideas as you go about designing your digital products. Currently, it is only available for Mac users, but it is totally free to use.
Hope you found this read to be helpful in your search to find the best UI and UX prototyping tools for your work. Do let us know which ones you picked and why. Also, if you are a current user of any of these tools then let us know about your user experience in the comments below. People will love to get insight from a fellow reader.