Prototyping is an essential part of any digital product design process. It helps you build a positive user experience, which can have a significant impact on factors like conversion and whether customers come back to your site. The software allows you to get the prototyping process right. The best prototyping tools use design features, navigational elements, and interactions to help you create a prototype as close to your final vision. This enables you to iron out issues and avoid costly redos during product development.
There is no shortage of great prototyping tools available for UX designers to use, but picking the prototyping tool that is right for you depends almost exclusively on your needs.
Some Elements to Choose a Prototyping Tool
In this section, we will describe a few criteria that need to be taken into consideration when choosing prototyping tools.
First of all, User Interface. A clear UI enables your design team to create a prototype with all the features you need. Second, usability. Prototyping tools often have a complex, varied feature set. But they should still be easy for your team of designers to use. Then, there are integrations. You should look for them with the other tools involved in the design process. This enables features like importing drawings or exporting code. Lastly, value for money. Most of the tools on this list are affordable, even for small teams. The cost will increase if you have a lot of users, though.
Also, you need to take into account some elements when deciding to acquire prototyping tools, which are the following.
1. Reusable elements
Websites and apps often have similar features. A reusable element library means you do not have to start from scratch every time you want to build a prototype.
Some tools allow you to add animations to your designs. For example, the background image could change as you scroll through the page.
3. Code export
Some tools create code based on the prototype. Your developers can export this and use it as a starting base when designing their product.
Prototyping often involves multiple stakeholders. Most of the tools on this list enable collaboration through sharing, notes, and comments.
5. Vector creation
This allows you to create scalable images and icons from within the prototyping software.
There are many ways for users to interact with websites and apps, from traditional tools like a mouse and keyboard, to touch controls on your phone. A good prototyping tool allows you to create responses for different actions.
5 High-Level Prototyping Tools
InVision’s greatest asset is its straightforward interface. You do not need a technical background to get the most out of this prototyping tool. To link together static screens and outside URLs, just click and drag them with your mouse. Sharing your work with collaborators is another one of the software’s better traits. They can open prototypes and leave comments on specific design elements in the web app or after downloading them to mobile devices.
Finally, InVision works well with other design software. If you would rather start designing in one app and finish the prototype with InVision, there is little friction in doing so.
Balsamiq is a wireframing tool that helps anyone create low-fidelity mockups for the web, apps, and software. The tool’s focus on the basics means it has a low learning curve and is good for beginners. It has a simple drag-and-drop interface with plenty of editing and customization options.
Because it is lo-fi, you will spend more time thinking about functionality rather than messing around with design features. Of course, you can focus on this later in the design process when you have a better idea of how your product will work. The tool has plenty of features to make the process faster such as the ability to create templates and reusable options. And once you have completed the design you can export them as PDFs, or PNG images, or present them via the web.
Proto.io is a prototyping tool that aims to make it easy for anyone to build prototypes for websites and mobile devices. Central to this is the tool’s large library of over 1,000 templates, 6,000 digital assets, and 250 UI components you can use for rapid prototyping. These are easy to customize to your needs and you can use them to get a jump start on the design process.
Beyond this, the tool has plenty of advanced UX design features. Highlights include nestable and scrollable areas that let you add sections with vertical or horizontal scroll to your design. Or you can use the tool’s micro animation features to add movement to design transitions. You can build all major interactions into your design including pinch, swipe, scroll, clicks, and hovers. Proto.io integrates with plenty of other tools. For example, you can use it with popular user testing tools to gain quick feedback.
4. Adobe XD
XD is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, so it is no surprise it plays well with other Adobe software. It is simple to link to apps such as Illustrator to enhance your prototyping experience. Do you need a prototype fast? Adobe XD is great for that. It is one of the better tools available for making simple prototypes for demonstration purposes. If you need to make a demo in a short amount of time, XD is a great option.
Learning how to use Figma is not difficult thanks to its intuitive usability. You do not need coding experience to turn static design files into living prototypes. Non-technical professionals, such as marketers, have given Figma great reviews.
Figma is exceptional for teams, especially those working remotely. Different designers can collaborate in real-time on the same files together. Also, Figma allows developers to inspect designs from shared prototypes.
Prototyping is way easier when you learn to use prototyping tools that fit as well as possible a designer's work. Find your tool and become an above-average designer.