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!

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Experience of Prototyping Tools Summed Up by Product Designers

I have read an article about what is a full-stack designer, which referred to the so-called full-stack designer who is able to build wireframes, prototypes, make visual drafts, and coding. Put it into the product design process, that kind of people is an unicorn who can handle everything. Whereas, one of the most primitive and most critical step is the wireframe or prototype design. The importance of prototyping design is equivalent to the solid foundation of the superstructure. Then the tools to build the foundation is very important.

So, it’s worthy for designers to considering how many prototyping tools are available in the market, and how to choose a right prototyping tool.

How many popular prototyping tools are available?

So many prototyping tools for designer’s choice, but the novice designers are much more than the tools. They usually don’t know how many tools are available for choice, and even don’t know how to make a right choice. Some people told them, Axure is a good software. So, they use Axure. However, I think, they should make an analysis on the mockup & wireframing design tools & Apps for UI/UX designers and make a right choice. Axure is not very proper to get started for beginners, there are more choices other than it. Then, what are the commonly used prototyping tools besides Axure? Let’shave a look.

1. Mockplus

Put aside the influence of Axure, the veteran prototyping tools, the most popular prototyping tool in China is Mockplus. From the initial lightweight online version to the full-featured desktop version at present, Mockplus gradually developed and expanded its features to become a powerful prototyping software. With the extensive pre-designed interactive components (200) and a huge library of icons (3,000), it’s easy and fast to create an interactive prototype in 3 seconds.The recently launched Mockplus3.0 version with team collaboration function is a highlight. The sophisticated collaborative design, online review, and page division editing, that all greatly enhance the team efficiency and reduces communication costs.

Prototyping tool-Mockplus

2. Justinmind

As a novice, you must admire the designers who can create the elaborate high fidelity prototypes. Moreover, you will know that’s made by Justinmind. Some designers are pursuing the delicate details on rich interaction effects and gestures supported on the mobile APPs by the software. But you can’t ignore the huge time cost and effort spent behind the high fidelity prototype. So it’s not a good choice for beginners.

Justinmind

3. Invision

Strictly speaking, Invision has a great difference with the prototyping tools mentioned above. Its role is to add jump links on well-designed visual scripts and generate online prototypes.

How to choose a right prototyping tool?

For me, I think a right prototyping tool should be with the following features:

1. Low learning curves and low prototyping costs;

2. Supported for previewing on mobile devices at anywhere and anytime;

3. Effective re-use component library;

4. Support to generate a flow chart;

5. Online collaboration for multiple team members;

6. Gesture operation, transition animation, interactive effects … (I think it’s not necessary for the prototyping stage).

These prototyping tools and experience on software choosing are summed up by many product designers for years. It’s no doubt that there are not only Mockplus and Axure for the first choice, and the standards to choose tools to vary from person to person. Anyway, the most important are that the tool is more easy to use, the better