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The potential of prototyping tools has dramatically increased over time. True dynamic interfaces and user experiences can now be created with much greater freedom. Thanks to the constantly improving web development tools and frameworks.

Designers are aware of the value of creating prototypes for a future design. Just as developers are urged to write tests for software. It’s no secret that designers and developers now collaborate to structure and plan out new designs.

This becomes more and more obvious as more prototyping tools start to incorporate features like developer handoffs. Another subset of prototyping tools is also becoming more and more well-liked.

You can prototype a new website layout using website builders like Webflow. And then publish it directly through their platform without ever writing a line of code. Excellent for any designer who handles a lot of client work!

How do you pick the best prototyping tool for you?

If I had to sum up the many fantastic tools available at the moment. I would say that one branch is targeted at organisation work. And the other is targeted at solo work. You also need to consider things like whether you’re designing a layout or building it so that it can be published immediately.

Are you designing for the web only or for the web and mobile platforms as well? Do you need animation or transition effects? Are you also the developer, or do you need to be able to send designs to a dedicated dev team?

When it comes down to the nitty gritty. You’re no longer searching for features like ease of use, but rather particular features that fit your design. Workflow or the needs of the team you’re working with. Eg. Collaboration.

As previously mentioned, while some tools are still created for specific operating systems, the new era of software lives on the in the browser.

Although many of the prototyping tools on this list are free but with some restrictions, of course, the cost should still be reasonable if you intend to invest.

1. Figma

Figma Prototyping

The platform has become a global standard for web designers, so Figma hardly needs an introduction these days. Figma is still available for free to everyone even after being recently purchased by Adobe. There aren’t many differences between the free and premium versions aside. From the absence of collaboration features in the free plan.

Additionally, its use cases go far beyond UI and UX design. The graphic design, wireframe creation, diagramming, and templating capabilities of Figma are impressive. You can also use FigJam, a fantastic white-boarding tool for groups and organizations.

Your website or mobile application’s users may interact with you in real life, and Figma’s prototyping interface is made to make that happen. This includes the capability of connecting various elements across your entire layout.

On the high end, this extends to micro-interactions. Which you can always customize and then replay to see what the outcome would be.

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned designer makes no difference. For designers of all skill levels, Figma has something to offer. The go-to vector tool for designers and those who regularly work with visual content is this one because it is so easy to use as a browser application.

2. UXPin

Uxpin Prototyping

Despite the fact that Figma and UXPin have many similarities, UXPin offers a number of features that are still not widely used. Like the UXPin Merge, which enables developers and designers to collaborate without sacrificing the time needed to write code for design components.

But let’s talk about prototyping since we’re already on the subject. A UI design platform called UXPin places a big emphasis on interactive prototyping. You can directly design your components in UXPin, and as you develop your design, you can also begin to add interactive layers.

Variable-based prototyping, a feature that UXPin offers. Is highly desired. Keeping variable data in an active state all through your design, for instance. All screens/pages users visit after entering or submitting data continue to store it. Additionally, UXPin offers demo data in the form of text and images, which will significantly quicken the process of creating actual prototypes that can be tested by users.

Many of UXPin’s premium plans, including the free trial versions of many of them, are available for use.

3. Axure

Axure Prototyping

Because of how powerful this prototyping tool is for large teams and organisations, Axure’s license is quite pricey.

It’s also one of the few tools that concentrates solely on the UX component of design.

Prototypes can be organised using Axure features such as conditional logic, trigger-based events, and custom loop actions. You can then design dynamic experiences and comprehend how your product functions from one screen to the next thanks to this.

Every action on a single component has its own logic, which can be altered or connected to other elements in your design. In other words, Axure offers the ability to “program” designs and their associated interactive features, but it does so without requiring any coding expertise or knowledge.

Axure integrates with its cloud service for functions like collaboration but also for sharing prototypes in their finished state.

4. Marvel

Marvel Prototyping

The work involved in prototyping and creating layouts with your team is greatly simplified by Marvel. Additionally, they place a lot of emphasis on rapid prototyping for teams that are constantly working on individual app or website components and require a way to quickly validate ideas and pass them on to developers.

Marvel is a great alternative for teams who require wire-framing and mockup features integrated into a single unified tool because they specialise in a variety of design areas.

They offers a huge library of assets, including stock photos, illustrations, UI kits, and many icons, in addition to the ability to sync designs from other tools like Sketch.

With Marvel’s integration with Ballpark, you can conduct in-the-moment user testing with input from users of your apps or websites. Ballpark provides thorough feedback gathering via audio and video recordings.

Marvel is a platform that prioritises collaboration, last but not least.

It is possible to configure everything right away, from teams to the individual access levels for team members. And Marvel can manage even the most extreme organisational demands, such as when 100 or more designers are working on a single large project.

5. Origami Studio

Origami Studio 3 Prototyping

A design, prototyping, and animation tool made by Facebook is called Origami Studio. Only Mac users are permitted, and it is free. Designers can quickly produce sophisticated prototypes for mobile interfaces using origami.

The ability to create custom screen interactions—more specifically, the ability to start from scratch and create brand-new animations and interactions—is one of the features that makes Origami stand out the most.

You can change the design, timing, and trigger timeline while getting a clear picture of the technical aspects of each interaction. The icing on the cake is the ability to use Origami with Sketch and Figma. All you need to get for Origami to support direct vector importing is a specific plugin.

The ability to record and export prototypes for review by your team is another feature of Origami. Although it is not the simplest tool to master, many designers swear by it, especially given the fact that it is totally free.

6. Drama

Drama Prototyping

Drama is an animation-capable prototyping and graphics design app for Mac. It functions by enabling you to organise your entire app according to individual layers. An on-boarding experience, for instance, could be built and organised from layer 1 to layer 5, connected, and given the appropriate animations and transitions.

Live prototype previews on Apple devices, made possible by their Drama Mirror user interface, are among some of their best features. To give you the option to design dynamic and one-of-a-kind user interactions, they also support 3D layering.

Their documentation page is also excellent. There is a lot of information provided about what makes their app special, and there are numerous examples that highlight the usefulness of their offering.

7. Framer

Framer Prototyping

One of the newest design tools for both creating websites and prototyping is called Framer. It is frequently used for projects like landing pages, marketing campaigns, startup websites, and more.

Framer is appealing because it lets you manage your design project just like a GitHub repository. You could launch a live website in a few days, depending on your needs, from a design concept. The versioning system in Framer can be used to manage upcoming changes.

For a realistic idea of how the design will appear across all device types, you can preview everything you do in the Framer’s Editor in real-time.

There are many similarities between Framer’s Editor and Figma’s Editor if you’ve previously used Figma. Additionally, consider how quick and responsive it is when it comes to customising each component of your design.

Additionally, Framer offers features like dynamic content and a robust plugin repository that give you more options for making cutting-edge prototypes for your website projects.

8. Proto.io

Proto.io Prototyping

You can prototype user experiences and interfaces using Proto.io, a software that is built with prototyping in mind. There is no need for coding expertise because all prototyping is done in the browser.

The good news is that Proto.io can be used for any project type. Including both web and mobile projects as well as just one of each. Proto.io has its own set of components, templates, and assets, unlike conventional vector editors. You can start adding interactive effects once you’ve designed your layouts or experiences using these visual components.

Proto.io is one of the better options in this situation if you want to do quick prototyping and avoid creating assets or components yourself. Yes, they also have features for sharing and providing feedback.

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8 Best Prototyping Tools for UI & UX Designers