Wireframing Tools to help develop an app

Wireframe

Developing a mobile app involves a fair amount of aesthetics that are wedded to functionality. To have an interface that is comfortable for use while being appealing to the eye is to achieve the right balance. In the process of drawing up the structure and layout of a mobile app, defining and building wire frames are valuable steps to attend to. While most start with rough sketches using good old pen and paper or even turn to the white board, here’s a look at a bunch of useful wireframing tools:

  • Axure helps generate interactive HTML wireframes and UI mockups using the simple drag and drop feature. Editing and interactivity are easy to access. There are massive resources that can be used – shapes, widgets, panels, buttons, pop-up windows and plenty of other tools that can help craft a realistic structure. Swipe interactions are also available. Once a wireframe is developed using Axure, the final product can be uploaded onto the server and then navigated onto the phone to be tested.
  • Balsamiq is a speedy wireframing tool that helps generate and act on ideas faster. It has a simple whiteboard sketching option that allows ease of sharing and feedback. It has a wealth of interface components and a range of ready-to-use objects and elements. The library of mockups showcases some prior made templates for Android, Blackberry and iOS.
  • Justinmind is a useful platform that helps craft interactive wireframes, and also lets you simulate your wireframe – with every change in the wireframe, the app prototype is simulated instantly. There are customised widgets that can be put to use in developing wireframes, as well.
  • Mockflow is a speedy and efficient wireframe tool which helps test wireframe interactions with ease. There is a collaborative editing and chat feature that allows co-editors to make changes at the real time on different pages to avoid conflicts. The end product can be exported in a range of formats to be viewed on mobile devices and tablets so as to test their functionality and quality.
  • Moqups is a smart HTML5 coded app which works brilliantly to craft wireframes, mockups and UI concepts. It is simple and easy to use, and also has pre-crafted stencils to make use of. The interface allows the use iPhone and iPad templates, with a range of iOS buttons, alerts, pickers, menus and segments. Wireframes can be shared after setting the size of the grid, and can be previewed. The highlight in Moqups is a feature called “snap to grid”, which allows for perfect alignment of objects.
  • Pidoco is a useful tool that helps to create clickable wireframes and prototypes. It has a convenient usability testing module, and a range of modes to display the wireframes – whether plain or sketched. There are also a couple of pre-fabricated UI elements that can be put to use to create professional wireframes, which can then be simulated and tested across mobile and tablet devices very easily.
  • Proto is a popular mobile app prototyping platform that helps develop, build and deploy fully interactive prototypes and simulations of a mobile app. The advantages of using proto are that it is compatible with multiple browsers and gives you the opportunity to craft interactive prototypes. It has three main interfaces – the dashboard, editor and player. The dashboard lets you start, run and manage projects, while the editor is the space that you use to craft the scamps with the tools available, and to build interactions around them. Finally, the player helps you bring that to life by sampling the prototype, and then lets you use tools for annotating and feedback. Prototypes so created can be tested directly on real mobile devices, and can even be run in full screen mode using free browser apps for both iOS or Android devices.
  • Protoshare is a very powerful forum that assists wireframe building. Aside of a massive mobile toolset and pre-configured mobile screen guides, there are also 2D and 3D animated transitions that can add value to your design. Interactive wireframes can be created and tested using multiple platforms – and the best part is that there are ways to track decisions based on each feedback shared.
  • UXPin is another popular tool to help draw and map wireframes. It offers a wholesome toolkit that comes with a good set of user design patterns and elements to help build a strong design, from scratch. It has responsive breakpoints that allow the user to create responsive prototypes and wireframes to be able to work on different devices and resolutions. Version control and iterations are possible, with previews that can be shared. There is also room for collaborative editing and chat. UXPin also has a vast library of attractive user interface elements that can be put to use for the web, iOS, Android and other platforms. The interface is also incredibly simple – using a simple drag and drop technique.
  • Wireframe Sketcher is an interesting tool that can be used to sketch wireframes, mockups and prototypes for both, mobile and desktop apps. It can be used as a standalone app, and as a plugin for Eclipse IDE. It has a hand drawn appearance that lets you keep away from distractions. With flexibility and an extensive range of UI controls, the speed-optimised interface and many shortcuts that are available, along with grid snapping and quick guides make it a comfortable interface to work with.
  • Omnigraffle is a forum that works well to create precise, beautiful graphics that helps you draw up website wireframes and even map out software classes. It comes in with a range of features that make it easy to get started on any kind of wireframe. It comes in with a host of objects, canvases, templates, inspectors and stencils even.

The range of options available for the crafting and sharing of wireframes prior to developing a mobile app are tremendous. At first sight, it might seem like they all offer similar facets: ease of development, drag and drop interfaces, tools that are prefabricated, widgets, real time collaboration and multiple collaborative editing options along with the ability to be exported across platforms to be tested. However, it comes down to what you are individually comfortable using. Do you have wireframe tools of your own to share? Leave a comment on this post and tell us what works best for you!

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