Wireframe Tools: Extensive List
by Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp — all-in-one help authoring tool
In the beginning, any design is an idea in our head that can be sketched anywhere within easy reach (from the palm to a napkin in a restaurant). But it is more practical to use the special tools for such ‘sketching’, which is called wireframing.
A wireframe is a simple layout that uses basic shapes for text blocks, buttons, and images. Such simplicity is very helpful since the elements are easily rearranged for quick iteration. Once the idea is fixed, a more detailed prototype is created.
Wireframing is a big part of every UX/UI designer’s daily job. That’s why there is a huge number of wireframe apps available on the market. Which to choose? Well, I’ve made an impressive list of wireframing tools for your to choose from. These are both specific tools and general design tools.
- Adobe XD. The neat interface and quick onboarding are priceless for beginners who want to use a professional wireframe tool and not spend too much time trying to learn the software. Adobe XD can be used for everything from creating site maps, flowcharts, and storyboards to building functional prototypes but focusing on facilitating easy wireframe sketching for designers. This design tool is available for both Mac and Windows. It’s fully interoperable with other Adobe tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator and services such as Adobe Fonts and Adobe Stock. You can try Adobe XD for free.
- Axure RP is an advanced wireframe tool for low-fi and high-fidelity wireframes with extra functionality. For example, you can craft interactive HTML mockups for websites and apps and view your app design on your phone with a built-in share function. In addition, the tool offers symbol override features, and a developer inspects mode, animation effects, cloud storage, sharing, CSS exporting, and documentation.
- Balsamiq. A simple low-fi wireframing tool for Mac and Windows. Balsamiq makes it really easy to get started, even if you have no previous experience. The software uses drag-and-drop elements styled as a hand-drawing, and you can see what your wireframe will look like across various screen sizes. Plenty of example stretch and wireframe skins are available for different designs. You have 30 days to try it for free.
- Cacoo. Cloud-based diagramming software for mockups, wireframes, mind maps, and the like. You can create low- and mid-fidelity wires. There are a lot of templates and other features for creating user flows, prototypes, and diagrams. The free version is limited to two weeks, where you can export your projects as PNG files.
- Figma is also a cloud-based design tool that fits collaboration among team members. I bet you wouldn’t think of Figma when talking about wireframing. Since it’s not a tool designed explicitly for creating wires, it has multiple design purposes and functions. The actual process of wireframing with Figma is straightforward and quick. You’ll have to design your UI components, but it’s easy to create your artboards, add shapes and text, and even add some prototyping to get a better feel of the flow. The left-hand panel helps you keep everything organized. Figma allows multiple team members to access and edit the design and leave comments when it comes to collaborative working. Once the mockup is completed, you can access the CSS code and export individual elements. You can use it for free in up to three projects. Great, isn’t it!
- FluidUI. An intuitive wireframing tool for high-fidelity wireframes. In a free version, you can have up to 10 pages of workspace. Here you can find a wide variety of interactive elements, animation, over 2000 icons, widgets, and design elements that you can customize.
- Framer is a web-based tool, ideal as a professional prototyping tool. Its insert menu comes with a massive selection of components that can be quickly and easily added through the simple drag-and-drop interface. The prototyping components display different visual states to see precisely how the essential components would look. You can also customize the included elements to control how they animate across screen transitions. When it comes to sharing and presenting your work, all you need to do is share one link. The presentation mode lets you use custom backgrounds, device frames, and device hands. In Framer, you can add up to two editions and create three projects for free.
- InVision Freehand is the basic app for creating wireframes. With such handy features as comments, transitions, and desktop syncing, you will be able to build everything from low-fi wireframes to full-featured prototypes. It’s a cloud app, so invite your team to collaborate, add images and basic shapes or draw the wireframe with your mouse cursor. It is a good wireframe tool that seems like any other whiteboard app. But since it offers real-time syncing with Sketch and Photoshop, your team can opt to draw and annotate directly on polished prototypes, making the iteration design stage much more effortless. Your collaboration sketches are stored alongside working prototypes and mood boards for quick reference as you move through your design project.
- Justinmind is a wireframing tool for less techy designers. The platform is easy to learn and enjoyable to use, but it does not mean that it lacks functionality. You can create wireframes that can be tested as prototypes from the beginning and include a range of interactive prototype elements (text inputs, radio buttons, dropdowns, and so on). Custom styling options are to edit the included components, or you can import your own; the prototype can be exported as HTML. You can save hours creating and sharing realistic wireframes in Justinmind.
- Lucidchart is an excellent choice for diagramming and data visualization. It has powerful collaboration features. The drag-and-drop functionality of the interface allows you to arrange elements, so they work on mobile devices and websites. Lucidchart also includes essential elements, like search boxes, site map icons, and text editors. An extensive range of templates, all sized and styled for both mobile and desktop, is of great help to newbies. You can work together in Lucidchart with a set of real-time collaboration tools. Create your URL and use it to allow collaborators, stakeholders, and clients to comment on or edit your mockups. Lucidchart also includes a presentation mode and is fully compatible with Google Slides.
- MockFlow functions as a digital whiteboard. This web-based platform has a range of components for many user interfaces, including iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Apple Watch, and Android watch. One of the significant benefits of MockFlow is the sheer range of wireframe templates and UI packs. MockFlow also comes with collaborative tools, such as real-time editing options and iterative annotated comments. The basic version of MockFlow is entirely free, but paid options with greater functionality are also available.
- Moqups allows users to create wireframes, mockups, and prototypes. A cloud-based platform means collaboration with your team from anywhere. Moqups has a single easy-to-learn and intuitive interface. You can switch between diagrams, wireframes, and prototypes without changing platforms. It has an extensive library of templates, stencils, icon sets, fonts, and fully customizable objects. The main aim of Moqups is to create a single unified workflow without the barrier of constantly switching between a range of single-use apps.
- Mockplus. The tool with many ready-to-use components, icons, UIs, and templates pre-installed to create your wireframe. A complete set of interactions and animations makes creating more realistic wireframes easy. It is also a collaborative tool.
- Miro is a popular tool for interactive presentations, design thinking workshops, and the like with a wireframing capability. If you want a free, easy-to-use tool for all kinds of things and with collaboration powers, this is an excellent tool for you to try out. You can drop shapes, draw freeform, type, add digital sticky notes, or insert images and videos onto the infinite canvas. For teams, there are features for video chats or background music. In addition, there are loads of useful templates for the UX design process. You can download them or use them for inspiration.
- Ninjamock makes wireframe creation super fast and efficient. It’s simple, quick to learn, and includes many interactive elements for mobile and desktop. As a result, you can spend less time learning how to work the software and more time getting creative with your wireframes. It’s also available for many platforms, including IOS, Android, Windows phones, and the web. Sharing and editing designs with clients are also made accessible via unique links that can be shared with customers allowing for real-time collaboration and editing. Although, there are some issues with navigation between mockups.
- Pencil Project is a totally free tool. This open-source graphical user interface tool is excellent for wireframing, mockup creation, and prototyping. Pencil Project is a downloadable wireframing tool for both Mac and Windows and is also available as a Firefox add-on. Pencil Project has loads of templates to choose from, so you can create many different low-fidelity wires for your interface. Free of charge and intuitive to use, Pencil Project is a great choice for essential wires or beginner designers. Unfortunately, though, some users consider Pencil Project a bit out of date.
- Sketch has proven itself a robust yet lightweight vector design tool for macOS users. It can be used for anything from wireframes to modern UI and icon vector design and some interaction design. Thanks to this simplicity, Sketch can be used to create wireframes quickly with a combination of artboards and vector design shapes. There are no built-in UI components, but the community of designers has created and shared many free wireframe design kits. A single click to download, and you have a wealth of buttons, icons, and other design elements that can be used inside your Sketch file. Unfortunately, multiple designers cannot work simultaneously within a design file. However, you can sync your design to Sketch Cloud, share a link to the most recent version of your design, and collect feedback without wasting time with a lengthy export process.
- UXpin is a constant favorite with interface designers and typically one of the first tools recommended for anyone learning how to wireframe. Its rich feature set can be challenging to pick up, but the effort spent learning UXPin pays off. Start your wireframes with a built-in library of UI elements that you can drag and drop directly onto your canvas. UXPin can read Sketch and Photoshop files. You can always use those tools to turn your basic wireframes into high-fidelity prototypes before importing the polished design back into UXPin. Take advantage of the tool’s other features: adding interactions, presenting to a team, and handing off the design specs to a developer. UXPin makes it easy for you to show a working prototype of your design, collect feedback, and include documentation all at once through the Preview mode.
- Wireframe.CC is a minimalistic wireframing tool for mobile apps and websites that’s easy to learn. It’s an efficient tool for simple wireframes. Super intuitive as the layout is like drawing items on pencil and paper and cutting and pasting them onto your design. Draw your shape on a blank canvas and select what you want it to be from the nine options on the appearing toolbar. Its design templates are simple, and you can choose from the mobile landscape, mobile vertical, and webpage. This focus on the basics makes Wireframe.cc a great option when you need something rudimentary done quickly.
This list of wireframe tools allows you to nail the design of a website from the start. Some are designed specifically with this in mind; they either serve to make a quick rough outline of a design or to produce something closer to a fully functioning prototype. So choose from your perspective and develop the whole design process on one platform.
Have a nice day!
Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors