As designers are bound to design things that are described to them by clients, not all understand what the requirements are. This then followed by a series of in-person meetings, emails or phone conversations to reach their final design which truly is a hassle.
All these problems can be bypassed by using a prototyping tool. Prototyping tools allow designers and clients to collaborate more enjoyable while being in the same context rather than having conflicting perspectives.
The clients get a visual overview of what is going to be made. It helps teams to build understanding, to explore options and limitations that only become apparent when you build and test something.
Eventually, prototyping tools become a platform for full creativity and experimentation for the product team. The most influential benefit of prototyping tools is the risk, the sooner we fail, the faster we learn.
When you fail with your mockup, you land softly, there is always the opportunity to validate things that work, iterate and improve.
How we use Prototyping tools?
Driving customer engagement through user experience is important and preparing mock-ups or wire-frames of an app consumes a lot of time for designers and also creates a lot of back and forth with the clients which could harm relationships with clients.
How to choose the best prototyping tool?
Choosing the best tool is the key to describing your thoughts and collaborating with your clients. With the abundance of many online prototyping tools, choosing the right one isn’t a simple task.
As every tool is different from each other as it lacks or has a feature that stands out from the rest. To choose the right prototyping tool for designing, there’s are a few parts which need to be evaluated for that tool to check whether it fits our needs or not.
How long does it take for a designer to get a hold of the tool? Since each tool is different from each other and it provides various features, it consumes a lot of time for the designer to learn the tool.
The tool should present collaboration ability for multiple people to be in sync with each other. Since every designer has their own perspective/ ideas for a project all of them must stay on the same page.
When choosing a prototyping tool is how well it fits with your other design tools and the process you regularly use.
Ease of use and comfort
The ease of use in using prototyping tool is essential for the designer to save time and help increase production. It should decrease the number of steps required for a designer to complete a task rather than increasing the steps.
There are numerous prototyping tools out there, many of which with niche features. But there’s also a catch with these tools, that they do not fit within the budget. And therefore, we all should be careful when choosing tools and not be dazzled by the features.
So here are 12 prototyping tools to help you with your own design process.
Origami Studio was created for Facebook designers out of need, and Facebook so graciously shared it with the rest of the world.
For designers who need a more advanced system, Origami Studio offers robust prototyping tools for apps for websites and mobile.
Primary to Origami Studio is a patch editor that lets you build logic, behaviours, animations, and interactions. It comes with many pre-built patches, and they say you will just likely use about 15 to 20 of these for most of your prototyping work.
The learning curve for Origami Studio can be daunting at first, but the payoff of knowing how to use this prototyping tools and pulling off advanced prototypes makes it well worth learning. The power, along with its compatibility in working with Sketch, makes Origami Studio a great tool for designers who want to go above standard prototyping.
2. Adobe XD
Adobe XD offers a vector-based system for putting together prototypes, including tools for creating interactions, transitions, and other types of dynamic functionality.
As it’s vector-based, scaling and resizing elements is no problem, Adobe XD works well alongside with other Adobe apps, so it’s nice to be able to edit Adobe images, like a .psd, right in Adobe XD.
Adobe XD covers the tools that a designer needs from conceptualisation through high-resolution prototypes and they are constantly adding to this product with updates that extend its functionality.
InVision is a well-established name, and with their dedication to rolling out new functionality and adding to their design platform makes them a favourite among many designers.
With a multitude of well-designed tools, InVision gives designers the power to put together functional prototypes fast and share them with others. It offers many excellent features, including a vector drawing tool, repeatable components that can be changed site-wide, and tools for producing animations and other visual effects.
Collaboration and communication are other strengths of InVision. Freehand that lets team members draw, add notes, and offer feedback and through LiveShare, which is a prototype can be demonstrated with full interactivity. This tool makes it easy for team members to stay connected and work together throughout a project.
Many UX designers use Sketch as a part of their workflow, and its for good reason.
Uniformity and consistency drive much of its functionality. Re-usable elements that can be used sitewide with a smart layout feature that changes their dimensions depending on what content is inside of them. There’s the ease of use, and along with a well-designed user interface, Sketch offers a host of shortcuts to speed up the design process.
Some consider that Sketch is an industry-standard when it comes to prototyping, furthermore, its feature-packed and user-friendly interface is simply a few reasons why many designers prefer using it.
5. Fluid UI
Fluid UI’s software makes for fast prototyping. Besides its ready-made libraries for material design, iOS, and Windows, as well as gestures, Fluid UI gives you so much to get started with and their simple user interface makes it super easy to put these components together.
6. Axure RP 9
Axure RP 9 puts the control of wireframing and prototyping all in one package, it allows designers to create low to high-resolution interactive prototypes of apps, without having to code.
Along with what you need to build the visuals, interactivity, and organisation, Axure RP 9 also offers a complete documentation tool, which makes keeping track of notes, tasks, and other important assets organised and accessible to those who need to see it.
Also, it facilitates a better handoff to developers by letting a prototype be published on the Axure cloud, with all of the code, specifications, and other assets they would need to build it.
Axure ben built for professionals, with attention to all of the complexities of building functional prototypes, this tool is for those designers who need more from a prototyping tool.
Justinmind is a popular prototyping tool, as there’s are a few reasons why, from its drag and drop functionality, to the capabilities to create the simplest to the most sophisticated of web and apps prototypes, and loads of support, such as videos and blogs to help you learn how to use the tool.
Justinmind isn’t as large as other prototyping tools out there, but they are certainly an up-and-comer.
It comes with UI libraries and templates, as well as many other practical features. Justinmind lets you create the logic for conditional navigation, allows for user testing, facilitates design team management, to name a few. There also many integrations that let you use Justinmind either with Sketch, Adobe Suite, Azure DevOps Server, and Jira in your workflow.
Justinmind easy interface makes it an excellent starting point for a beginner UX designer but also offers enough for more advanced designers.
Figma is an all-in-one tool that makes collaboration and accessibility simple for UX designers, developers, and anyone else on a team with a browser-based, cloud-hosted platform. If you have worked with Sketch before, you will find that Figma has a similar feel which makes it easy to get started with.
Consistency is a priority in designing apps, and with the use Figma’s flexible styles you can control the appearance of text, grids, and other elements across a project, but there’s also a variety of useful plugins, like Autoflow for illustrating flows, Figmotion for creating animations, and many others that enhance its functionality.
Principle lets you create impressive interactions and eye-catching animations, giving your prototypes that go beyond simple static representations.
With multiple artboards, a timeline-based animation builder, and the ability to import Figma frames, Principle allows you to design an awesome app or web design in a little amount of time.
With attention to motion and interactivity, Principle stands out among the other prototyping apps out there.
Framer is a design tool that lets you build interactive prototypes remarkably fast. With Framer, you can create entirely functional prototypes, everything from linking pages together to creating 3D effects.
Framer also has resources in the Framer X Store, you have access to everything from live maps, UI kits, and media players.
With a large selection of components and tools, interactive prototypes are made possible without having to type in a single piece of code, this due to the web-based editor, Proto.io.
Proto.io gives you a variety of drag-and-drop UI web components, templates, icon libraries, and audio and video integrations. Where you can further bring in anything you have created on your own from Photoshop or Sketch.
With an array of templates, tools, and other components to build prototypes, Proto.io has very much to offer.
Are you in the need of a prototyping tool that will let you design up apps and websites quickly and do it for free? Then you will need to choose Marvel as it gives you a complete suite of prototyping tools, without cutting corners on functionality.
Marvel offers interactivity, dynamic transitions, and gestures to bring prototypes to life and give a real user experience to anyone testing them out.
Another exceptional addition of Marvel is the handoff tool that gives developers all of the code and assets in the most current version to dive in and create a live site.
With its collaborative features, the Marvel tool lets anyone on a design team, no matter where they are or whatever the stage of production – add notes, make changes, and share ideas in real-time.