A wireframe is one of the earliest stages or steps of an app design and development. Owing to the intricacies involved in mobile apps, it is essential that developers settle for nothing but the best wireframing tools. Here’s why.
Wireframe tools make app development fundamentally easier. These tools visually strips the product down so that the designers and developers can focus completely on user interactivity and functions. In addition, wireframing tools makes it easier for developers to explain the functions to their clients, leaving nothing to their imagination for a clear understanding. This ensures that the designers and developers are on the right track from the very beginning, keeping in mind the top app development mistakes to avoid.
This article explores some of the topmost tools that are handy especially for newbie mobile app designers and developers.
This is a truly impressive wireframing tool, which is clean and simple. In addition, Infragistics comes with some awesome functionalities. To begin with, it allows you to discover the right mobile app design, without requiring you to write or rewrite codes. You can develop functional and animated UI prototypes, focusing on user experience right from the start.
Using this wireframe tool you can design storyboards in real-world context and build application design interactions quickly without much technical knowledge. This means a designer without developer skills or a developer sans design resources can leverage this tool, all you need is a great idea.
Infragistics has a certain learning curve for those who are new to prototyping/wireframe world. That being said, this is a fun tool to use once understand its basics. The price however is a problem for many, which starts from $495. And this is a one-time fee.
JustinMind allows mobile app designers and developers create high-fidelity wireframes. It is an all-in-one prototyping tool for Web, mobile and more. In other words, JustinMind allows you to build apps for iOS, Android, Windows 8, Web, Google Glasses, and for your internal processes etc. You can also create an HTML or dynamic website, keeping well optimized functionality in mind. In fact, this tool not just allows you to build great applications but also create amazing experience for your users.
Some of its features include HTML wireframe, widget libraries, real-time data, filter, data, and search. In addition, JustinMind allows for an ideal simulation as well as change of simulation state. This tool has a simple, ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing policy with no hidden fees. The “Professional” package starts from $19 per user/month or $29 per user on month-to-month plan. The perpetual licenses will cost you $495 per users and additionally, it has an “Enterprise” plan.
You can develop interactive HTML mock-ups code-free using Axure for both websites and apps. In addition, you can add functionality to your layout using this tool in order to develop an interactive prototype. According to company’s website, more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100 organizations use Axure RP.
It offers the fidelity your projects require. You can leverage its prototyping, wireframing and documentation tools required to informed app design choices. Features of Axure include advance prototyping, sitemaps, generating HTML files, documentation and collaboration, and various ‘widgets’ that include several UI elements. In addition, it allows you to view your app design in real-time on your phone via its built-in share function.
Axure offers a Standard edition and a Pro for Mac and Windows platforms. The Standard edition is ideal for prototyping and will cost you $289 per license, whereas the Pro priced at $589 per license provides documentation and collaboration features.
This wireframing tool is a favourite of the web design community and is designed for Linux, Mac, Windows and web-based platforms. The reason behind Balsamiq Mockups’ popularity is that it is a powerful yet painstakingly simple wireframing tool. It features only a few interface elements on its screen, based on “only-visible-when-you-need-them” principle. The best thing about this tool is that there aren’t many dialog windows to interrupt your flow.
Balsamiq Mockups is zenware; this means you can get in the zone and happily stay there, thanks to its easy-to-use interface. It features several drag-and-drop elements including various buttons and lists and each of them styled as a hand-drawing. Balsamiq Mockups is aimed to keep “intentionally rough and low fidelity” in order to encourage feedback from users.
The single user license of Mockups 3 for Desktop costs $89 without any maintenance fees as it is a onetime purchase. In addition, pricing of Mockups 3 for Google Drive is fixed at $5 per month and $50 per year. The costs for myBalsamiq range between $12 per month (Personal package) and $249 per month (Enterprise plan). There is a 30 day free trial for all plans.
This is another popular tool for creating prototypes and wireframes for websites and software. Usability engineers and creative designers can leverage MockFlow’s collaborative web services to design and share their interactive UI mockups in real-time. This not only improves your planning process but also help you save a lot of time. Its maintenance services are provided by a team of dedicated professionals specialized in “design engineering.”
MockFlow comes with more than 70 components and over 200 icons, all ready-to use. Besides, all these components and icons are designed to suit wireframing. You don’t have to install or download anything and you can access your mockups at any time any from anywhere. Its collaborative features also allow you to share mockups in both public and private mode so that you can get feedback from other collaborators such as your clients and users. Using its collaborative features is very simple, just sharing an URL.
There are three simple and flexible pricing plans available with MockFlow created different business sizes and requirements. The Basic or free account provides 10 MB storage. In addition, there is a Premium package available at $14 per month and a TeamPack, which costs $29 per month.
As mentioned, wireframing tools make mobile and web-based app development easier with their host of functionalities. While there is no denying the advantages of wireframing, do not overlook the traditional approach of using pen and paper to jot down your ideas. It’s true that they won’t allow you create a prototype, but they at least ensure you won’t miss out a good idea on the go and you can always refine them in software.
Jaykishan Panchal is a content marketer at MoveoApps, an iphone app development company. He enjoys writing about Technology, marketing & industry trends. He is tech enthusiast and love to explore new stuff. You can follow him on Twitter @jaypanchal8.