23 Prototyping Tools To Consider Using

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 11, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

One common element of many successful businesses is their ability to create an effective app or website for their customers with an interface that's easy to operate and includes all the functions customers want. Whether you're a professional app designer, work for a company or plan on starting your own business, prototyping tools can help you quickly and effectively draft a prototype that demonstrates how the final product could look. Learning some of the prototyping tools available can help you decide which one might be the right choice to help you design an app or website.

In this article, we discuss what prototyping tools are, some of their features and 23 prototyping tools you can use.

Related: Prototype Model: A Definitive Guide

What are prototyping tools?

A prototyping tool is a medium that allows user interface ( UI) and user experience (UX) designers and people with little to no experience to have a quick and efficient way to design and develop mobile apps and websites. Designers often use them while in the design stage so that end users can better conceptualize what the system might look like when it's complete. It can be useful because end users can interact with the UI and UX of the program and provide feedback so that developers can go back and make alterations as needed.

Features of prototyping tools

There are many features that prototyping tools often include to improve the overall experience for people designing apps, including:

  • UI kits: Many prototyping tools have user interface libraries and kits to make finding a layout for an app quick and easy. There may be hundreds of kits to choose from, with each kit comprising different buttons, maps, notifications, widgets and controls the user can add to their app.

  • Interactions: Prototyping tools often offer different interactions users can use to enhance the UX, such as transitions and gestures, animations and effects and rich web interactions, which provide a more interactive experience for users.

  • Collaboration: Collaboration tools can make creating apps easier when there are multiple designers working on creating the app. Some collaboration methods commonly found in prototyping tools include the ability for designers to share and receive feedback, create their own UI kits and share the prototype with developers so they can access the model.

  • Testing: Another feature involves the ability to test the design of the app after finishing it. Many prototyping tools enable designers to test their model on their own device or in web browsers to help decide whether the user interface meets the end user's original requests.

Related: What Is an End User? (And How Is It Different From a Customer?

7 prototyping tools

Prototyping tools allow designers to work on the design of an app and discover any impending challenges early in the planning process. With that information, they can make adjustments to ensure that the completed version is exactly as they had envisioned. In addition, it allows designers to involve stakeholders while designing and get more feedback that they can include in the final version. Here are seven prototyping tools for you to consider:

1. Figma

Figma is a collaborative prototyping tool that enables multiple designers to collaborate in real-time throughout the entire creation process. This tool works with designers from the very first step, when stakeholders, designers and developers are conceptualizing what the app is going to do and how it may look. During this phase, all involved parties can discuss, create diagrams and use sticky notes with the help of an online whiteboard called Figma.

Figma has many features for the design phase, including the ability to make the workflow more fluid with a variety of plugins. It also offers multiple design tools, such as arc designs, which allow you to easily create circular shapes like clocks or pie charts, and a modern pen tool, so you can draw in any direction.

2. Framer

Framer allows users to design apps or websites within minutes with the use of premade UI components. This prototyping tool also offers Framer for teams, which supports collaboration between designers and stakeholders. Framer for teams can make the design process more fluid because stakeholders can leave feedback in real-time and designers can quickly adjust as needed.

Related: What Is a User Interface? (Definition, Types and Examples)

3. Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a UI wireframing tool, which is a more basic version of a prototype, that allows professionals and novices alike to design the structural outline for their website or app. Rather than focusing on the more specific details, it helps users focus on the structure and content so they can develop more ideas and decide which one best aligns with their goals. It includes features, such as reusable symbols, interactive prototypes and hundreds of UI controls and icons.

Related: What Is a Wireframe and Why Is It Important in UX?

4. InVision

InVision enables users to design, prototype and animate their programs in one location. This prototyping tool has a user-friendly interface which makes the process easier for people new to designing apps and websites. InVision also has a collaboration feature, so users can view prototypes and leave comments regarding design elements. It also works well with other prototyping tools, as it allows users to start a project using other tools while being able to complete it using InVision.

5. Sketch

Sketch was first released in 2010 and is one of the older UX design platforms, used by many veteran app designers. It offers a large variety of UI kits, templates and plugins that make building prototypes straightforward. Sketch is also great for users who want simple prototypes or wireframes because it has the tools needed to complete initial designs quickly.

6. Marvel

Marvel offers both low and high-fidelity prototyping options, so it's convenient for users who want a wireframe or a prototype that looks exactly like the finished product. In addition, it has many useful features, such as the ability to be handed off to development directly after the design is complete and user testing, which lets users and stakeholders test the program and verify that its features are working correctly. Marvel also has a collaboration function, so that users can easily centralize and gather feedback.

7. Webflow

Webflow helps designers create and scale websites without needing to have any prior coding skills. The program does all the coding for users, allowing them to build simple or complex websites using HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Webflow is for marketers as well, allowing them to connect a completed website to the marketing tools they use. In addition, they can collaborate on the website by publishing or editing content and adjusting their SEO settings as needed.

16 more prototyping tools

Here's a list of some other prototyping tools that can help you when wireframing or creating an in-depth prototype:

  1. Zeplin

  2. Mockplus iDoc

  3. MockFlow

  4. Flinto

  5. RapidUI

  6. Hype 3

  7. Principle

  8. Origami

  9. ProtoPie

  10. Axure RP

  11. Proto.io

  12. Atomic

  13. UXPin

  14. Claritee

  15. JustInMind

  16. Blocs

  17. Slickplan

Please note that none of the products mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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