in Design / Development

5 Wireframe Tools You Should Know About

Wireframe tools can be a life saver, and you know why? When starting off with creating an application or website you have an image in your head of how you’ll want it to look. Sometimes, you might even draw it on paper to get a better sense of what you’re aiming for. However, if you’re working in a team of developers or even if it’s just you but your functionality is fairly complicated, a drawing on a piece of paper just isn’t good enough anymore. The answer to this problem is to use wireframe tools that will enable you to shape your solution and get a sense of the logical succession of screens and the interactions your future users will have with it.

Creating a wireframe for your project is a vital part of the development process. It will help you prioritize the information and functions you’ll have in your application or website, decide what kind of information you want to show in which screens, what the functions available at each step will be and even test out the display for different scenarios. Not only is a wireframe a very valuable tool that will help you keep organized and always have a sense of what your next step should be, it’s also very useful when working within a team. By using a wireframe tool, each member of the team will always be able to have an overview of the project and also be able to make suggestions and contribute to its final form.

We’ve taken a look at the best wireframe tools available right now and selected the top 5 that we’ll discuss in the following.

Pidoco

1

 

Pidoco has made a name for itself as being a web-based prototyping software that allows its users to create wireframes and UI prototypes for web, mobile and enterprise applications with a minimum amount of effort. By using all the features Pidoco puts at your disposal, you will be able to easily sketch your design, share the outcome with your collaborators and receive their input, test out every new addition to your project and much, much more. It is essential that the whole team be involved in the designing process. By employing the collaboration features Pidaco has to offer, you and your team will be able to share and edit de projects you are developing online at the same time. Your performance will be greatly improved by using the feedback and discussion functions Pidaco offers.

In addition to all of this, Pidaco has just released a new version of their software that encompasses an array of new features they call Extended Interactions. Using these new features you’ll be able to integrate Touch Gestures, Device Motion, Location Data, On-device Simulations and others in your wireframe. These new features will make your prototypes more lively and realistic, thusly allowing you to create completely new test scenarios. Pidaco also provides you with the possibility to build templates that you can reuse in your future prototypes.

Another exciting tool that Pidaco offers is the Specification Export that allows you to generate a specification document that will encompass everything you’ve defined in your wireframe with the simple push of a button.

NinjaMock

2

NinjaMock will provide you with tools to create wireframes for web designs and mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Surface. Their interface is simple and intuitive to use. The team has decided that their graphics will be sketchy on purpose in order to allow their users to concentrate on the content and interactions they’re defining, rather than on fancy graphics and complicate designs.

NinjaMock also offers users a powerful collaboration toll. This will allow the whole team to see real-time comments and also give external reviewers access to the project, because sometimes a fresh eye will see things differently. This option will be warmly welcomed by large teams that will be able to share the same project workspace and also define specific permissions on folders and projects.

WireframeSketcher

3

WireframeSketcher can be used as a standalone application or a plug-in for Eclipse IDE and will allow you to define anything from small mock-ups to complicated prototypes cross-platform. It will offer you a flexible UI that is guaranteed to run smoothly on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, allow you to take full advantage of multiple monitors, if you have them, and easily rename and relocate your files without you having to worry about defective links afterwards.  While using the WireframeSketchers program you’ll have a full gallery of stencils to enable you to draw wireframes for anything from Android or Windows Phone to iPhone and iPad. Having these tools at your disposal will greatly increase your efficiency and speed and the ability to share your work with team mates and benefit from WireframeSketechers version control will improve your future product immensely.

Pop

4

The Pop App is one of the most basic applications out there that enable you to create a wireframe for your project. The team behind Pop decided that the best way to create wireframes is by putting pen to paper and sketching away until you’re fully satisfied with the results. As they would have it, ‘Complicated software only gets in the way.’. When you’ve reached the final form of your sketches, all you have to do is go to you Pop App and take a picture, the app will take care to adjust brightness and contrast in order to make them as clear and legible as possible. Afterwards, you can create a storyboard using Pop and linking the sketches you’ve photographed with “link spots”. The moment you press play, you’ll be able to see a simulation of a user interface and get a sense of the flow of your application. Pop gives you five transition effects: Basic, Next, Back, Rinse and Dismiss.

Jumpchart 

5

Jumpchart is an online tool that will help you plan your website with everything you need from content, mockups, attachments to architecture and notes. This tool aims to gather the whole development team in the same place and offer all of them a detailed and faithful image of how the future website will look and interact with users. Their version control features allows you to see who has made what changes when and everyone will be notified about the status of the project through their preferred method, be it subscription to comments through emails, updates through RSS feeds or checking the versions tab manually. Jumpchart also offers you intuitive and easy to use tools that will help you manage your content and resources, organize every page, keep a running record of all notes made by your team and plan out a clear, simple map for your site.

Conclusion

Making a wireframe is an important part of the development process for any app or website. It is very important to start off with a clear image of what your goal is and to allow the whole team to contribute to that goal. All of the wireframe tools we’ve presented are more than adequate for all of your needs. However, our favorite was Pidoco due to its flexibility and the exciting new features that they have just released.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bogdan

Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.

Leave a Reply