As a designer, you know that having the right tools for the job can make all the difference. Without the best tools at your disposal, the design process can be slow, frustrating, and even overly-difficult. So what are the best tools to have as a designer?
What Makes a Good Wireframe Tool?
Not all wireframing tools are created equal. Some have advanced features that can help guide your project all the way up through prototyping, and some are simple flow-chart and sketch tools to help you map out a simple path for the project.
In order for a wireframe tool to be considered “good”, it must meet some requirements. First, it must be stable software that is up to date. The last thing you want is to use the wireframing software, only to find it’s out of date or keeps crashing.
Secondly, you’ll want your wireframe tool to have the ability to create different levels of fidelity for your mockups. Certain instances will require a low-fidelity mockup, while others may require higher-fidelity designs. It’s vital that your software can perform both functions, so you won’t need two separate programs.
That being said, here are some of the best wireframe tools available.
Axure is one of the most popular wireframe tools, if only for its incredibly powerful tools and easy to use interfaces. The tool can be used on Mac or PC, making it versatile as well as powerful. If you’re unsure about the software, you can try a free, 30-day trial to test out all of the functions the software has to offer.
With cloud-based collaboration and sharing tools, you’ll be able to seamlessly work with your team and share updates with your clients or shareholders. Cloud-based software is simple, secure, and much more convenient; allowing access from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
Besides great collaboration tools, the software also boasts design templates, a feature library, and even the ability to prototype within the software. All of these great features in one place make Axure a serious contender for the best website wireframe tool on the market.
Overall, Axure has a decent pricing structure as well. The Pro version is $29 per month per user, while the Team version (which grants access to extra features) starts at around $49 per month per user. With amazing tools and features, as well as cloud-based sharing and collab tools, Axure is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to wireframing.
Adboe is a big name in the design industry, with everything from Photoshop for photos and graphics to Illustrator for creating wireframes and other designs. The software works on both Mac and PC, awarding it the versatility it needs to stay on top of the game.
Able to be used to design everything from simple wireframes to custom UI kits, this powerful software is the industry’s most widely used design tool. Low and high-fidelity wireframes alike can be easily created in Adobe Illustrator, meaning you won’t have to switch over to another program for high-fidelity designs.
As far as cost, Adobe is among the top tier software packages, starting at around $29 per month. All of Adobe’s software is accessed via the Adobe Creative Cloud, and you can purchase other software packages to add to your collection through the website. Adobe has a tool for just about every design aspect you can imagine, so if you’re willing to pay for the entire Adobe suite, you’ll never need any other software for complete designs.
Affinity is essentially the lightweight, cost-effective alternative to the Adobe software. Though it may be lacking a few key features that make illustrator so popular, Affinity is nothing short of a powerful design tool from which you can create effective wireframes.
The best part about Affinity is that you only have to pay for it once! That’s right, Affinity is one of the rare, one-time purchase programs, with a reasonable $49.99 price tag. As far as design software goes, this is about as affordable as is it gets. You won’t be charged monthly, and your software will still be kept up to date.
The software is also stable, which is a huge factor in design software. You may become frustrated with other software constantly freezing up on you, but Affinity runs pretty seamlessly and doesn’t have that bad habit of freezing your screen when you’re working on larger projects.
This advanced vector tool is affordable, versatile, and powerful, and offers a great alternative to those who don’t want the price tag of Adobe products. Its streamlined interface makes creating great wireframes simple, so you’ll be well on your way to your first prototype in no time.
No designer’s toolkit is complete without an excellent wireframing tool. The three we’ve discussed today stand above their peers in terms of quality, price, and versatility. While the software you choose will be based largely on personal preference, it’s important to always look at the software’s features before you buy. Trying the software out for free is also a good option, as many sites will offer demos or free trials before you buy.