Best Prototyping Tools for Designers — 2018

Websites and Mobile application have become an important aspect in today’s world where it helps in reaching to people directly and convey what the company or the product wants the people to understand. As a result, demand for Web and Mobile app designers has increased who can design what people want to see and what company wants to show. However, designing these from scratch every time is not easy as it seems. The designers need to iterate over the designs of the team each time when the new requirement comes up.

Understanding the scenario, many of these designers are using prototyping tools to accelerate their work. Prototyping makes the website and mobile app interactive with the use of responsive layouts. It enables designers to preview live projects and share their work with colleagues and teammates. Getting feedback is an important aspect while designing a website so that the designer can understand the need and make changes accordingly. Prototyping will allow the designer to experiment and test before the beginning of development getting feedbacks prior to the deployment. ­

There are many prototyping tools for different applications and thus, we are providing you with a list of tools which you can look and decide which suits the best for your website.

InVision

InVision provides you with better design, better platform. It helps to decide as a designer, that the prototype will work or not before the actual implementation of the product. You can communicate with the user providing them with the best UI using InVision. It promises to design better and faster.

Features:

  • High Fidelity Prototyping tool: Turn any static page into an interactive prototype using animations, gestures and transitions. Just upload the file and make changes you desire to see.
  • Ideation and Presentation: InVision has built-in project board where you can store, share and talk about your design ideas. It has a wide range of templates that can be used as per your mood and inspiration making the users’ experience best with the app or website.
  • Communicative Design: The best prize for an artist is the feedback it gets from the viewers. InVision removes the communication barrier between the user and the designer by making the feedback section, where anyone can comment directly on your designs. It has also a search space where a specific designer or active project can be found including you.
  • Collaborative: You can collaborate with your team to sketch, draw, wireframe, share feedback, present designs and much more. This real-time work can help you get feedbacks much faster and improve the work with collaboration.
  • Design-Driven Project Management: It manages project screens and statuses from the single location. You don’t need to worry about the incoming tasks or projects. It will remind you of all the tasks that need to be done and notify you if any changes to screen status are made.
  • Connectivity: You can integrate your work with InVision by pushing and pulling the activities from the system you want. It supports such an integration with ease making the task available on one platform from start to end.

Price: Free

UXPin

UXPin has two products UXPin prototyping and UXPin systems. UXPin systems scale UX and development with one platform whereas UXPin prototyping collaborates interface design and prototyping. It simulates product behaviour for different scenarios, platforms and devices.

Features:

  • Powerful Design and Prototyping: UXPin has the prototype with built-in interactions and animations. Also, you can customize any element with CSS code.
  • Smooth Collaboration: You can collaborate your work in real time. Clients can comment on the work increasing the communication and understanding the needs of the user.
  • Fully Responsive: It is designed for any device with 14 pre-set breakpoints.
  • Automated Documentation: Documentation plays an important part in the projects. UXPin will automatically sync between your design systems and projects keeping all the data up-to-date.

Price: Packages start from $29 per user/mo with 3 users max and increases with increase in the number of users.

Framer

Framer is a screen design tool that solves hard problems of hierarchy and layout letting designers focus more on the creative part. It helps to make elaborative UX flows adding complex shapes and text. It creates the layout that is responsive to any screen size keeping UI elements intact.

Framer allows you to draw everything with its advanced path editing where you can snap vector points in any direction. Anything you design in the frame is optimized for the web. It provides the user with the best styles and icons. You can also export everything designed in framer including the CSS and SVG codes.

Features:

  • Responsive layouts
  • Simple design
  • Advanced vector editing
  • Easy styles
  • Production-ready deliverables

Price: Starts at $10/month

Demo: https://framer.com/#

Adobe XD CC

Adobe XD CC takes your concept to prototype faster providing you with an all-in-one solution for designing websites, mobile apps and more. It provides the designers with intuitive tools that deliver breakthrough precision and performance.

Adobe XD CC is designed for both MAC and Windows and thus provides the same precision, speed and smooth integration independent of the platform. It is easy in Adobe XD CC to integrate with different tools making it easier to collaborate with developers and create advanced animations.

Features:

  • Eliminates tedious tasks using repeat grids.
  • Has fast, versatile artboard.
  • Reimagined layers and symbols
  • Powerful tools that are easy to use
  • Control and customize your experience
  • Get feedback faster to iterate faster.
  • Preview on mobile devices.

Price: Starts at 676 INR / month

Demo: https://www.adobe.com/in/products/xd.html#hero-featured-video

ProtoPie

The name says it all. It guarantees to create the most advanced prototypes as easy as pie. It is sharable, code free and bridges the gap between devices.

Features:

  • Code Free: The Tedious task of coding is reduced by an interactive environment with available animations.
  • Sharable: Prototypes can be shared via links or even through the dashboard. It makes the collaboration easier and gives the better experience to the users.
  • Sensor: Easily control the sensors of smart devices in your prototype, such as tilt, sound, compass and 3D touch sensors.
  • Bridge: It bridges the gap between communication of two or more devices and tests a variety of use-case scenarios through prototypes.

Demo: https://youtu.be/DO8U9vWjTi8

Price: Package starts from $99/mo.

Principle

Principle is used to design animated and interactive user interfaces. Be it a short animation, a slick interaction or an extensive multiple screen app, Principle is the prototype for all.

Features:

  • Animation: Timeline of Principle makes it quick and fast for design elements to illustrate the perfect bounce, ease and pop.
  • Interaction: It gives the freedom for the transition in elements making it more interactive and friendly.
  • Platform independent

Price: You can get all the features for $129

Atomic

Atomic puts advanced interactive design features like logic, data and variables into the hands of every designer. Atomic helps to achieve high fidelity large scale prototypes. Atomic also provides free tutorials to the user to learn all the features and working of the tool.

Features:

  • Design: Atomic gives you the freedom to import data from their favorite design tool or the user can start from scratch.
  • Interaction: Gestures, user inputs, events and key interactions are the add on what makes Atomic user friendly.
  • Animation: Animation is just a click away in Atomic
  • Components: Components in atomic are reusable making the system consistent and quickly scalable.
  • Data: You can import external data to create dynamic and realistic interaction designs.
  • Logic: Logic boosts the handling of complex personalized journeys.

Price: Designer can get the advanced toolset for free or you can level up using the plans starting from 145 INR/ month

Proto

We want you not to code and Proto does that for you. It creates fully-interactive high- fidelity prototypes that look and work exactly the way user wants. Proto guarantees to convert the users’ idea into user experience in no time. Let’s look out the features of Atomic.

Features:

  • Early validation: You can test your idea on the real device in no time.
  • Bridge communication gap: It helps in bringing designers, developers and product managers on the same platform.
  • Testing without coding: You can test your interactions, flow and animations without writing a single code.
  • Easy collaboration: You can share your prototype with a single click and get comments from everyone on what you have published.

Price: Starts from $29/ month

Demo: Demo of on-boarding carousel: https://proto.io/

JUSTINMIND

Be it Windows, IOS or web; JUSTINMIND is the all-in-one package for all the screens reducing your work to transit from one platform to another. You can choose the template of your choice and start working on it and make additions the way you want. Business logic and conditional navigation help in reproducing the dynamic behaviour if you plan to create a future app with the existing one. It also allows you to publish your work online and get feedback from the viewers.

Features:

  • 500+ mobile and web widgets: JUSTINMIND provides a wide range of widgets to the user keeping it more creative.
  • Test on the device: You can use their mobile apps your mockup live from any phone.
  • Web interactions and mobile gestures: It is concreted with smart behaviour and rich interactions so that you can test your design with users and get genuine reactions.
  • Forms and data grid simulation: You can design smart forms and data grids that can be tested instantly. It can also be enhanced with advanced behaviour and conditional navigation.
  • Embed HTML and documents: JUSTINMIND allows easy insertion of HTML, docs and video, including online widgets.

Price:  You can download it for free and packages start from $19/month

Origami

Origami was designed by designers of Facebook for their use which can be seen in apps like Instagram and messenger. It is available for MAC. There are 4 main panels in origami which are Patch editor, Layers, Viewer and Patch Library. Patch editor allows adding interaction, animation and behaviour. Layers can be added easily in Origami which increases interaction. Patch library has a list of patches which range from simple math to interactions in layers.

Features:

  • Design with layers: You can create prototypes with multiple layers.
  • Reuse components: You can use already built components and speed up your design work and development.
  • Build interactions: You can quickly explore and iterate with patches.
  • Preview it live: You can see your work immediately in the Viewer as you make changes.

Price: The best part you get all this for free!

Demo: https://origami.design/tutorials/getting-started/Getting-Started.html

Flinto

Flinto is a MAC app used by top designers around the world to create interactive and animated prototypes of their app designs i.e. an app that designs app.

Features:

  • Micro-interactions can be designed using Flinto’s behaviour designer.
  • To assist you in easy learning, it has done some extensive documentation work and uploaded 100+ videos.
  • 3D rotation tools create stunning animation videos.
  • Flinto provides you with the flexibility of organizing screen the way you like.

Price: You get a free trial and for using the features you need to buy the package at $99/month

Webflow

It is the concrete of design, content and web. With Webflow, you can deliver working code, design with real content, export or publish your production-ready code and launch your newly created dynamic websites.

Features:

Features of Webflow are divided according to the component you are working on:

  • Designer: You don’t write the code in HTML, CSS, and JAVASCRIPT; instead, you manipulate it manually. You can position layout the way you want, use any font and rearrange page elements in the Navigator. In the end, Webflow will take care of all your code part.
  • CMS: You can create the content you want, or you can import your content in whatever format you want and then design it visually.
  • Hosting: This prototype gives you access to the fastest and most hosting technology for any kind of business in a single click.
  • Editor: With the help of Editor, Webflow team has decided to ease you by deleting the part where you had to be concerned about the complex dashboards or disconnected back end. So, it’s you, your website and the content you want to change.
  • Interactions: It’s always have been a difficult task when you plan to design some complex animations. But Webflow has made this task too easy by compacting the power of CSS and JavaScript into a completely visual tool.

Price: The best part: It’s FREE!

Marvel App

Features:

  • Design: You have the freedom to wireframe or design with marvel; else you can always import images using Photoshop, sketch or pen and paper. Your projects also will be synced with Dropbox and Google drive so that updating the content becomes easy.
  • Prototyping: Prototyping has always been the best option to get your work done quickly and yet efficiently. You can turn your designs into interactive prototypes for iPhone, iPad, Desktop and Android. These prototypes can be brought to life giving them a touch of transitions and creating interactive hotspots.
  • Collaboration: Work has always been a teamwork. So, you need to get your design reviewed. Collaborate feature of Marvel specifies this collaboration of design with your clients, colleagues and stakeholders and getting your design reviewed. You can also send them an invitation to edit and review your projects. The best part is your clients won’t need to sign to leave comments on your project.

Price: This prototype is available for free for 1 user and 2 projects. If you want to scale up your team and project, the packages start from $12/month.

Over to you

We may miss some of the tools here. We are not defining any tools as best and other as worst. Please let us know in the comment section which tools we have missed.

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Also published on Medium.