Best Wire-framing / Prototyping tools

One of the most sought tools for a web designer / UI expert / anyone who wants to mock up a user interface based IT system/software is a wire-framing tool. Wire-framing is nothing but building screen / user interface mock of the targeted system which could be used as the medium to convey the user interface and system requirements to a large extend. There are a variety of tools available out there that allows this task. Most of them are online tools some of them are desktop based. Some of them are free while most of them are pseudo free – meaning they appear free, but user has to purchase after a trial period of usage.

Lumzy is a cool tool that allows you to create, save and export images for 100% free usage. It provides design mode in hand drawn mode as well as windows standard theme and Mac!!. It is free, very user friendly and light enough so it never crashes. It has cool option to simulate work and add annotations. You can create and save your work all day long and export work as PNG and PDF. One drawback is that it has no templates to choose from even though it says it supports templates. May be templates are not yet developed.

Cacoo is one of the coolest tools that allows you to create, save and export images for 90% free usage with restriction on PDF exports. It is very user-friendly and light enough so it never crashes and it provides very professional output. You can create and save your work all day long and export work as PNG. It also provides usage of templates for variety of usage. One drawback is PDF export virtually fails and also it allows only 3 exports as PDF.

MockFlow is another cool one. It has all cool templates and allows to use them all with only restriction of being work on 1 project for free and multiple projects for $80/Yr. So it is 90% free. But as always, export the work and reuse the same project. Most of the times we do not need to showcase the core project work.

Mockingbird – This tool does not provide templates and has some of the commonly used wireframe appearances lacking. The constructs lacks professional wireframe looks and needs lots of improvement. Exporting taking a long time and it never came back up.

Hotgloo- This tool does not provide templates and has some of the commonly used wireframe appearances lacking. The interface is cumbersome and has no visible options to export. Free usage is only for 15 days.

Gliffy is another cool one. It has all cool templates, has Visio like appearance and allows to use them all for free and multiple projects for 30 days. So it is a try N buy. Allows export to PNG.

iPlotz is another one but does not provide templates and has some kind of cumbersome interface. It does not allow exports in trial version. So might not a good option as a try and buy since you do not know if export works or not 🙂

Creatley is a cool tool that allows you to create, save and export images for 100% free usage. It is more or less a flowcharting tool rather than wire framing tool. You can create and save your work all day long and export work as PNG and PDF. One drawback is that it has no templates to choose from.

Flairbuilder does not provide templates and has some of the commonly used wireframe appearances lacking. Interface is user friendly but components lacks professional touch for web page wireframes. Need to install on Desktop. Free usage is only for 15 days and there is no option to export in trial usage.

Wireframeskethcer does not provide templates and has some of the commonly used wireframe appearances lacking. Interface is user friendly but components lacks professional touch for web page wireframes. Need to install on desktop.

Pencil is another cool 100% free wireframing / prototyping tool. Its desktop based, light weight and allows you to create professional looking wireframes and prototypes. Export as PNG, PDF etc. PDF export has hiccups.

Balsamiq does not provide templates but provides all commonly used constructs. Interface is user friendly but components lacks professional touch for web page wireframes. Need to install on Desktop. Free usage is only for 7 days. Export to PDF, PNG.

Axure does not provide templates but provides all commonly used constructs. Interface is user friendly but components lacks professional touch for web page wireframes. Need to install on Desktop. Free usage is only for 30 days. Exports to PNG.

Pidoco does not provide templates but provides all commonly used constructs. Interface is user friendly and has multiple stencil support. Free usage is only for 30 days. Export to PNG ,PDF and Word.

Moqups is another 100% free wireframing / prototyping tool. Interface is user friendly but components lacks professional touch for web page wireframes and does not offer wide range of options and templates.

‘Justinmind’ Prototyper’ V2.0 is totally free and is a cool prototyping tool.

Wirify is a cool tool to create prototype from website. It allows only one free usage and looked cumbersome when some webpages with request parameters were used.

Article copyright (c) 2010 – Deepesh Joseph (deepeshjoseph@yahoo.com)

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