prototyping-tools

The Most Recommended APP Prototyping Tools on Quora

Statistics indicate that China’s mobile App market has more than 402 million applications. What behind this statistics are a huge number of software developing companies, developers, designers, and product managers, as well as various App prototyping tools. In order to find a handy prototyping tool, designers and product managers are often keen to ask for advice on Quora. Recently I noticed a question asked for what is the best App prototyping tool?

Probably, the most-voted answer is Axure. But how much do you know about it? Except it, is there anything other great App prototyping design tool you don’t know?

With the thought of helping others, I listed 4 well-known mobile app prototyping tools. Please feel free to suggest more tools, I will keep update!

1. Justinmind

App-prototyping-tool-justinmind

Price: $29/month ~ $495/user

Prototype editing: Mac, Windows

Prototyping ideal for Web, Desktop, Mobile

Justinmind is a flexible prototyping tool that supports a variety of terminal devices. It can workoutfrom a simple mouse click to a variety of complex interactive work. You can add interactive features to already designed renderings, or create a variety of interfaces in Justinmind by using the default standard component library.

Pros:

Build templates and functional support for specific devices.

Add resources in a fast, intuitive way through the drag and drop operation .

Simulate a web page with a generated built-in device frame and full interactive features.

Add interactive attributes for each tiny, individual design element.

Supports interactive settings based on gesture operations.

Cons:

It will be time-cost for the first-time users.

When you add multiple actions to the same widget, the actions can not be executed at the same time but only one by one.

2. Axure

Axure

Price: Pro: $495/user Team:$589/user

Prototype editing: Mac, Windows

Prototyping ideal for Web, Desktop, Mobile

Axure is an ideal tool for designing Web, App, and desktop software prototype. It supports for creating the complex interactive actions and a variety of state interfaces.

Pro:

Good training and customers documentation support.

Add interactive attributes for each tiny, individual design element.

Good at designing complex interactive behavior.

The built-in component library can customize a variety of specific action and behavior attributes.

Flexibility – can be used to design a prototype for any digital device platform.

Cons:

Steep learning curve; for the first time the user, it is not simple.

No templates and functional components built for mobile devices (iPhone / Android, etc.)

Need to create prototyping pages from the very beginning within this software.

Cannot add an interactive attribute to an existing design.

3. Mockplus

App-prototyping-tool-mockplus

Price: Pro: $169/year Perpetual license: $699/user

Prototype editing: Mac, Windows

Prototyping ideal for Web, Desktop, Mobile

Mockplus is a simple, fast, and very powerful prototyping tool. The each update of Mockplus will surprise users. So lucky am I, have experienced the Beta Mockplus 3.2 which added repeater, UI flow, Sketch import, mindmap design mode, and project templates. It still needs improving, but Ihave to say, the new features really good!

Pros:

Simple operation, low learning costs, 3 seconds to build interactive prototyping by dragging and dropping.

The WYSIWYG interaction design.

Rich component library and icon library of 200 components and 3000 icons.

Support a variety of view methods on mobile. No matter by view code or directly share the URL, as you like.

Multi-person collaboration and online review greatly promote team members’ communicate and team work efficiency.

Cons:

Functional details need to be improved.

No good tutorial support on the website.

Not support for gestures.

The project examples have no detailed operational guidance, not friendly enough for new users.

4. Proto.io

Proto.io

Price: $29/month, $288/year with 5 active projects

Prototype editing: Web

Prototyping ideal for iOS, Android

Proto.io is a dedicated mobile prototyping platform that can build and deploy prototypes of all-in-one mobile programs, and can simulate the final products. It can run on most browsers.

Pros:

Easy to produce fast solid model.

A large number of standard UI elements library, and you can customize your own library.

The same project could include multiple screens,and they are supported to create transition effects between screens.

Support components sync with Dropbox.

Cons:

No immediate preview.

Too many interactions will slow down the action.

All prototypes are stored on Proto.io’s web platform, which means that if you want to cancel your account, you will no longer be able to continue running your project.

Does not support for 3D dynamic effects.

Conclusion

These 4 App prototyping tools all have their own special advantages suitable for different needs. There is no the best tool, only the most suitable one for you.After the analysis of the pros and cons of each prototyping tool, I think you should have a choice in your mind. For me, I’m looking forward to the release of Mockplus3.2, so much love of its UI flow and repeater because it could help to save lots of repetitive work!

ui-ux-design-concept-difference-between-wireframe-and-prototype

Basic UI/UX Design Concept Difference Between Wireframe & Prototype

The terms of ‘wireframe’ and ‘prototype’ are always get confused by designers, despite the experienced designer, possibly due to the misunderstanding or some other reasons. Actually, these two UI/UX design concept difference between wireframe & prototype is quite obvious and different. Now, let’s distinguish the two terms clearly.

What is a Wireframe?

Wireframe is a low fidelity layout of the design which has 3 simple but direct targets:

1. Presents the main information group

2. Draw the outline of structure and layout

3. Vision and description of the user interface

It will be your product’s main structure after you created a wireframe correctly. Just like the blueprint of a building, it describes details clearly and specifically.

Visual features of wireframe

Wireframe exists very obvious visual limitations. In general, designers only need to use lines, boxes, and gray color (different grayscale indicates the different level) to complete.

Simple vector wireframe

The content of a simple wireframe should include pictures, video, and text etc. Thus, the omitted will be replaced by a placeholder, picture be instead by a shaded, and text will be replaced by some symbolic words according to the text layout.

Advantage of wireframe

The building of wireframe is fast and cheap, especially if you use these prototyping tools such as UXPin, Mockplus, Balsamiq, and Axure. Of course, you should use these tools to do it at the very beginning.

Compared with a complete and detailed high fidelity wireframe, gathering feedback is much more important. Why? Because people pay more attention to software functionality, information architecture, user experience, user interaction flowchart, and it’s usability, rather than considering the aesthetic characteristics of these elements. Meanwhile, in this case, you can easily modify it according to demand, but not need to adjust coding and graphic editing.

Interactive wireframe

Sometimes, designers prefer to improve the fidelity of wireframes to enhance the importance of user interface at some aspects and display the rationality of interaction between fast test and the visual elements. Program to address these problems properly is using interactive wireframe, also known as the clickable wireframe.

If you want to create such a complicated wireframe, then you need UXPin, which is a tool for wireframing and prototyping design. Interactive prototyping may be the best presentation to developing team and clients. When you came across the problem that “what it will happen when I clicking this button?’’, you just need to click and show to your clients how it works on the interactive prototyping. Indeed, it’s quite impressive and direct.

Show wireframe cautiously

You must be cautious about the guy who is totally a layman when you need to present your wireframe to him. He may be your client, also may be a non-technical manager took part in the cooperation. But he does not know the truth that the wireframe and the final product may seem unrelated. So, he may not understand the intrinsic link and operation mode between them. Thus, you need to figure out a proper decision whether you need to present and how.

This is an app user operation flow chart sketched by Fernando Guillen. Of course, it’s undoubtedly the early design version.

A wireframe is the most important part of a design. When you saw this flow chart, you’ll understand why it’s time-consuming to explain what is called wireframe and why we need to use wireframe. Or, you just skip this step.

Prototype

The requirement of a prototype is higher than wireframe/interactive wireframe, it must be a high fidelity prototype which is interactive and fit the final user interface as much as possible.

The target of prototypes is quite obvious: to simulate the interaction between user and interface as realistically as possible. When a button is pressed, the corresponding operation must be carried out, and the corresponding pages must appear, try the best to simulate a full product experience.

Visual features of prototype

Undoubtedly, the prototype must include the aesthetic features of a product that should have, and try to fit the final version. Basically, it’s a skin of a product, no HTML/CSS/JS involved, and not necessary to consider the server and database.

Advantage of prototype

Why it’s so important? Because prototype is usually used for users to test product. Prototype test at the very early stage can save a lot of developing cost and time. So that it won’t waste the effort of back-end product architecture due to the unreasonable interactive interface. So, prototype is a perfect progress to test product for designers and developers.

Besides, providing prototypes with users to collect feedback, that’s benefit to have an insight into all the details of your product, and inspire the whole team. Many of the prototyping tools can build prototypes quickly and efficiently, but no coding needed.

Design flow

After you have insight into the essence of design and known the difference between wireframe and prototype, you are standing in front of the user experience design world.

If you can concrete the series of product design into a cohesive and effective work flow, amazing thins will happen.

Tips

Try to use editable and reusable elements when make wireframe. In that case, you just continue to refine the elements to complete prototypes based on wireframes.

When you make wireframes, try to gather thoughts and opinions from your team and clients, and try to reflected them on wireframe designs.

Use your most handy tool.

UXPin

UXPin has built more than 900 kinds of different UI elements for you to create wireframes and prototypes.

Proto.io


Proto.io is a very robust prototyping tool, and it can export HTML / CSS code based on a prototype, and interactive prototype for touch screen, which allowing users to test on actual devices.

Balsamiq

A popula,r long-lasting wireframe tool only for static wireframe.

Moqups


This tool supports to make wireframe directly online.

Mockplus

Mockplus is the all inclusive prototyping tool for fast interaction, fast design, and fast previewing. It allows to create mockups for mobile (Android & iOS), Desktop(PC & Mac) and web apps.

Axure

As a most popular wireframe & prototype design tool, do we need more introduction of this tool? I think no.

Protoshare

This tool also can make wireframes & prototypes online.

InvisionApp

This tool can help you create usable prototype, you cannot draw anything, but you can add links between different screens.

feature_videotutorial

Prototyping Design Tutorial Roundup: Best Video Tutorials

In general, pen and paper prototyping is most often used to display conceptions in the product development process. Which processes simply and rapidly with a brief sketch. But you still have a lot of work to do, if you want to get the wireframes to be more perfect. On YouTube, somebody shows a paper-based prototype for Daum’s webmail service. All the button clicks and page interactions displayed logically and clearly by two people cooperated with each other. While time is money and everything at this quick tempo environment. Some users wondered how long it takes to rehearsal for the presentation. The more worried is the sequence of the paper pieces, and the problem of documents missing.

paper_prototype-1

Comparatively, employing with a variety of wireframing/prototyping tools is a more advanced operation. So many introduction or summary of such tools explosively listed. But, do you really know how to use it? Maybe some of you are eager to find out the video tutorial on YouTube or somewhere. It is better to teach you how to do it better than only names. There are some video tutorials of the frequently-used tools. Just take a look.

Wireframing Tool – Balsamiq

Balsamiq Tutorial

Balsamiq Mockups started in 2008 in California. It is the pioneer of hand-drawn style prototyping tool and reproduces the experience of sketching on a whiteboard. It is a simple wireframing tool, which means it cannot use to make the interactive prototype. To help users learn better and faster, a 3-minute video tutorial shows at the home page. More detailed tutorials are available on YouTube, such as this Balsamiq Tutorial with 65K + views, which created in November 2013.


Interactive Prototyping Tool – Mockplus

30 seconds prototyping with Mockplus

Mockplus is a simple and easy-to-learn interactive prototyping tool. Which interaction design is fully visualized, that’s WYSIWYG. It’s unique link points allowing you to create interactions between components and page drag and drop easily. A 10 minutes video tutorial available at the Tutorial page, that is, learning right, using right. Also, you can find more tutorials on YouTube, then you will learn that Mockplus could help you to achieve the more advanced and complicated interaction effects. Its comparative advantage could see from the “30 seconds prototyping with Mockplus”. Mockplus tutorial has accumulated 10K + views within a few months.

Interface Editing Tool- Sketch

Sketch App Tutorials Series Introduction

Sketch is a vector drawing application for all designers. Vector graphics is currently the best way to conduct web pages, icons, and interface design. Experienced designers spend a few hours can use it well with their own design skills in Sketch. If you are a beginner and don’t know how it works, simply follow the tutorial videos. LevelUpTuts’ Sketch App Tutorials Series Introduction, which has 300K + views will teach you well in learning Sketch.


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Collaboration & Presentation Tool – Invision

Invision video tutorial

Strictly speaking, InVision not an interaction design tool, but it can help designers and design teams to do prototyping more efficiently. Creating an online prototype requires only four parts: creating a project, uploading visual design drafts, adding links, and generating online prototypes to communicate with colleagues, users, and get feedback. A 3-minute video tutorial available on it’s website for a quick overview of Invision. Similarly, you can go to YouTube to find more detailed Invision video tutorial.

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