Prototypes play a crucial role in facilitating successful collaboration and design processes. They provide designers and their teams with a comprehensive understanding of how a product will function, appear, and engage users.

In the realm of digital UX/UI design, creating a prototype serves as the initial step, akin to drafting in other creative endeavours. It’s the foundational representation of how a website, app, or any digital project will appear and operate. Prototypes not only breathe life into ideas but also foster coherence across diverse teams and departments.

So, what exactly are prototyping tools?

Prototyping tools are platforms designed for crafting interactive mockups of digital products, such as websites, mobile apps, or software interfaces. These tools empower designers to visualise and demonstrate the functionality, layout, and user experience of their designs before committing to full development or implementation.

Typically, these tools offer a spectrum of features, including drag-and-drop interfaces, pre-built UI components, interactive elements, animation capabilities, and collaboration tools.

In essence, they serve critical purposes within the prototyping process:

  1. Conceptualisation: Prototyping tools assist designers in translating their ideas and concepts into tangible elements.
  2. Communication: Prototypes act as visual communication aids, enabling designers to effectively convey their design concepts and intentions to stakeholders, developers, and team members, surpassing the limitations of static wireframes or mockups.
  3. Iterative design: Prototyping tools empower designers to swiftly create, modify, and refine prototypes based on feedback and insights garnered during the design journey.
  4. User testing: Designers leverage prototypes in user testing sessions to assess the usability, functionality, and overall user experience of a design. Feedback collected from prototype testing informs subsequent design enhancements and optimisations.

Now, what should you consider when selecting a prototyping tool?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution in the realm of prototyping tools. Your choice should align with your team’s specific needs, resources, and skill levels. Nevertheless, certain key factors warrant attention when evaluating potential prototyping tools:

  • Ease of use: Opt for a tool featuring an intuitive interface and user-friendly controls to streamline the prototyping process for all stakeholders and enhance workflow efficiency.
  • Functionality: Assess whether the tool offers basic wire-framing capabilities, interactive prototyping, animation tools, or advanced interaction features based on your project requirements.
  • Compatibility: Look for compatibility with popular design tools like Sketch or Figma to facilitate seamless collaboration between design and development teams.
  • Collaboration features: Prioritise tools equipped with collaboration features such as commenting, sharing, and team-based editing to foster effective teamwork.
  • Device preview: Ensure the tool enables previewing prototypes across various devices and screen sizes to guarantee a consistent user experience.
  • Interactivity and animation: Evaluate the tool’s capabilities for creating interactive prototypes with animations, transitions, and gestures to simulate real-world interactions effectively.
  • Sharing and presentation: Seek features like link sharing, presentation mode, and export options to simplify sharing prototypes and gathering feedback.
  • Support and documentation: Confirm that the prototyping tool offers comprehensive support resources, including tutorials, documentation, and community forums, to assist users in overcoming any challenges.
  • Cost: Consider the pricing model of the tool, whether it offers free versions or trial periods, subscription-based plans, or one-time payments, aligning with your budget and project requirements.

In this post, I’ll delve into the best prototyping tools tailored for UI/UX designers, facilitating the mockup, design, and launch phases of digital product development.

1. Origami Studio

Origami Studio

Originally designed for Facebook’s designers as a response to a pressing need, Origami Studio has evolved into a dependable, no-cost prototyping solution embraced by numerous members of the design community.

For those seeking more advanced capabilities, Origami Studio provides robust prototyping features tailored for both website and mobile app development. At its core lies the Patch Editor, enabling the creation of intricate logic, behaviours, animations, and interactions. Each patch serves as a fundamental component for swiftly iterating through prototypes. While the library boasts an array of prebuilt options, mastering just 15-20 patches is sufficient to kickstart your project.

Granted, Origami Studio may present a learning curve, but the rewards of mastering its prototyping tools and crafting sophisticated prototypes justify the investment. Its potency, coupled with seamless integration with Sketch and Figma, positions Origami Studio as an indispensable asset for designers aspiring to transcend conventional low-fidelity prototyping methods.

2. Axure RP


Axure RP consolidates wire-framing and prototyping capabilities into a single package, streamlining the digital product design process for companies. It empowers designers to craft interactive prototypes of varying resolutions for websites and applications, eliminating the need for coding.

Beyond facilitating visual design, interactivity, and organisation, Axure RP encompasses a comprehensive documentation tool. This feature ensures seamless management of notes, tasks, and essential assets, enhancing collaboration and accessibility for stakeholders.

Moreover, Axure RP simplifies the handoff to developers by enabling prototype publication on their cloud platform. This includes all necessary code, specifications, and assets required for development.

Tailored for professionals attuned to the nuances of creating functional prototypes, Axure RP 9 stands as the quintessential tool for designers seeking a robust solution for interactive design.

3. InVision Studio

Invision Studio

Since its launch in 2011, InVision has emerged as a cornerstone platform for designers, cherished for its user-friendly interface and continuous integration of cutting-edge features. This dynamic platform consistently introduces new tools, catering to designers keen on staying abreast of industry trends.

InVision boasts a plethora of features including vector drawing capabilities, repeatable components for seamless site-wide modifications, and a suite of tools for crafting animations and dynamic visual effects.

A hallmark of InVision is its emphasis on collaboration and communication. Freehand functionality empowers team members to sketch, annotate, and provide feedback effortlessly. Additionally, InVision streamlines collaboration with developer team members through its convenient developer handoff feature, facilitating smoother communication and project execution.

4. Figma


Figma stands out as a comprehensive solution, simplifying collaboration and accessibility for UX designers, developers, and team members alike through its browser-based, cloud-hosted platform. For those familiar with Sketch, transitioning to Figma is seamless due to its similar interface and ease of use.

Maintaining consistency is paramount in web design, and Figma facilitates this through its flexible styles feature, enabling precise control over the appearance of text, grids, and other project elements. Moreover, Figma’s extensive plugin ecosystem further enhances its functionality, with offerings such as Autoflow for visualising user flows, Figmotion for crafting animations, and a multitude of others.

5. Webflow


Distinguishing itself from other prototyping tools, Webflow empowers users to craft not only functional prototypes but also fully operational websites, complete with HTML, CSS, and associated JavaScript. This unique feature ensures that users don’t merely produce mockups but rather possess fully deployable websites ready for launch.

Through its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, robust content management system (CMS), and advanced capabilities for creating animations, transitions, and micro-interactions, Webflow offers the versatility to develop professional-grade websites of any kind.

Whether you’re a novice designer or an experienced professional, Webflow serves as a comprehensive visual development solution, catering to all levels of expertise. From collaboration and prototyping to website deployment, Webflow emerges as an all-encompassing solution for bringing your web projects to life.

6. Sketch


Sketch is a staple in the toolkit of many UX designers, and it’s easy to see why. Unlike some other prototyping tools, Sketch boasts a minimal learning curve, allowing users to dive right into the creative process.

Consistency and uniformity are at the heart of Sketch’s functionality. Its smart layout feature enables the use of reusable elements across the entire project, automatically adjusting dimensions based on content. Moreover, Sketch’s intuitive interface and abundance of shortcuts streamline the design process, making it a breeze to navigate and accelerating developer handoff.

Widely regarded as an industry standard for wire-framing and prototyping, Sketch’s combination of robust features and user-friendly design is a key factor in its popularity among designers.

7. Overflow


Overflow stands out as a user flow diagramming tool that empowers designers to craft interactive prototypes of user flows swiftly and efficiently.

With its straightforward interface and comprehensive feature set, Overflow simplifies the process of creating interactive user flow prototypes, catering to designers of all skill levels. Automatic layout adjustments further enhance usability, ensuring seamless organisation and presentation of designs. Additionally, Overflow offers effortless sharing options, facilitating collaboration and feedback collection.

One notable feature of Overflow is its capability to generate interactive self-guided presentations, providing a dynamic and engaging way to showcase prototypes once they’re finalised and ready for sharing.

8. Marvel

Marvel App

Marvel is the go-to solution for rapid prototyping needs, enabling designers to swiftly create apps, websites, and digital products. With its intuitive and user-friendly platform, Marvel provides a comprehensive suite of prototyping tools and integrations, facilitating a seamless and straightforward design process.

Setting itself apart from other platforms, Marvel transcends static mockups by offering interactivity, dynamic transitions, and gestures, breathing life into prototypes. Additionally, Marvel’s handoff tool equips developers with all the necessary code and assets to seamlessly transition from prototype to a live website.

Recognising the importance of collaboration, Marvel also caters to teams by providing robust collaboration tools. Users can effortlessly add notes, make changes, and share ideas in real-time, fostering efficient and collaborative design workflows.

9. MockFlow


MockFlow is a comprehensive product design platform boasting robust prototyping features. While it may have a slight learning curve, the software provides extensive documentation and tutorials to facilitate a smooth onboarding process for users.

One of MockFlow’s standout features is its ability to organise workspace effectively. Users can create distinct spaces tailored to various stages of the prototyping process, from ideation to feedback and execution, streamlining project management and collaboration.

With an array of templates and presets at your disposal, wire-framing and prototyping become efficient tasks. Users can swiftly mock up user changes and generate HTML code to aid developers in implementation, significantly expediting the development process.

MockFlow further enhances its utility through seamless integration with various tools and platforms, including Slack, Google Workspace, JIRA, Trello, Microsoft Teams, and more. This interoperability ensures a cohesive workflow and facilitates collaboration across different teams and applications.

10. ProtoPie


ProtoPie has gained favour among major organisations like Spotify, Amazon, and Microsoft, emerging as a cherished prototyping tool in the industry.

With its intuitive interface, robust interactive capabilities, and seamless integration into design workflows, ProtoPie streamlines the prototyping process, making it accessible to beginners while also meeting the demands of experienced designers.

ProtoPie’s standout feature lies in its capacity to generate high-fidelity interactive prototypes with intricate interactions, gestures, and animations, enabling designers to simulate realistic user experiences effectively. Moreover, its real-time preview functionality fosters instant feedback and iteration, promoting a more efficient design process overall.

11. Justinmind


Justinmind stands out as a premier prototyping tool renowned for its ability to craft high-fidelity designs with ease. Featuring an extensive library of animations, transitions, and effects, alongside a user-friendly drag-and-drop editor, Justinmind empowers users to effortlessly incorporate real-life elements into their prototypes, saving valuable time in the process.

What truly distinguishes Justinmind from its competitors is its intuitive interface. With this platform, creating professional-grade prototypes becomes a breeze, even without any coding knowledge. The convenient layout and plethora of built-in design elements ensure a seamless and enjoyable prototyping experience.

Ideal for novice designers seeking a user-friendly solution, Justinmind offers simplicity without sacrificing functionality. Its straightforward interface, coupled with a variety of templates and built-in elements, makes it an excellent choice for those starting out in prototyping, eliminating the need for lengthy learning curves.

Furthermore, Justinmind boasts seamless integration with a range of popular tools and platforms, including Sketch, Figma, Hotjar, UserTesting, Crazyegg, and UserZoom, enhancing its versatility and compatibility within existing design workflows.

12. Framer


Framer caters to customer experience design professionals by providing a versatile platform for prototyping websites, apps, and individual components. Its user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, coupled with extensive editing and customisation options, facilitates the creation of bespoke designs with ease.

A key strength of Framer lies in its extensive library of pre-existing components, visual assets, and layouts, enabling users to accelerate the design process and save valuable time. Additionally, Framer offers a comprehensive training library and a vibrant Discord community, ensuring ample support for newcomers as they familiarise themselves with the tool.

The inclusion of a mobile app allows users to preview their designs on both iOS and Android devices, ensuring a seamless and optimised user experience across platforms.

A notable addition to Framer’s feature set is “Sites,” which empowers users to publish their designs directly to the web. This feature is particularly advantageous for individuals looking to create visually stunning sites without the need to engage a developer, streamlining the design-to-deployment process.


12 Best Prototyping Tools for Designers