Prototyping Tools

Guest post by David Grover


With the demand for web designers and mobile developers dramatically increasing in recent times, people who currently work in the industries are seeing an influx of work. In order to handle the demand, it’s important to be as efficient as possible when creating mockups for clients. The more time you spend on the mockup, the longer it takes to complete the final product. Prototyping tools are necessary for streamlining the mockup process. Every job requires a different kind of prototyping software, and there’s one out there that will suit your needs.

1. Justinmind

There’s nothing that Justinmind can’t do, and that is the basis of its appeal. A lot of prototyping tools focus on specific aspects of a mockup, where Justinmind devotes its capabilities to a full array of design. Just about every Widget you’d need to use comes preloaded with Justinmind, and you can expand that widget library even further with the widget packs they offer on their website. It’s slightly complicated to use, so beginners may have a difficult time navigating the interface. Once you’ve mastered it, you won’t want to live without it.

2. Pixate

Pixate is a Google product, so you can expect a high quality standard with this prototyping program. Since Pixate employs a lot of drag and drop processes for design, it’s simple enough to place features exactly where you want them to go. It’s also great for beginners, as Google offers a massive help guide, filled with video tutorials that explain things down to the smallest detail. If you don’t have a lot of experience working with prototypers, Pixate is one of the best places to start.

3. InVision

InVision is great for web based prototyping, but it really shines with its mobile prototyping options. If you’re working with iOS or Android, you can create some of the most comprehensive mockups possible with this tool. You’re able to add in swipes and taps, allowing you to fully test your design’s mobile functionality. This tool also comes with a lot of functional extras, such as Photoshop plugins that help users work between programs with perfect synchronicity. With InVision, you’ll be able to collaborate in real time with others working on your project with screen sharing and a live chat.

4. Origami

Instagram was mocked up with Origami. Many popular apps were born through the help of this prototyping software, and there’s no reason your next app can’t join that list. Many prototyping tools won’t allow you to export workable code, but Origami will. This allows developers to save time and money getting their apps off the ground. The only downside to Origami is that it’s harder to share or collaborate across devices. Instead, you’ll have to implement the code samples into your unfinished app to share your progress with other teammates.

5. Marvel

Marvel is browser based, and this means a lot for collaboration. You’ll be able to use this tool in conjunction with Google Drive or Dropbox, making a cooperative exchange quick and simple. Though its suite of options isn’t as comprehensive as other programs, it’s the perfect tool to use for mockups of bare-bones programs or very basic interfaces. If you’ve never made a mockup in your life, you’ll find that Marvel is so intuitive to work with that you may not even need to refer to the tutorials or guides. If time is of the essence and you’re able to efficiently communicate your vision without a comprehensive mockup, Marvel keeps things unbelievably easy.

No matter your skill level or your current project, a great prototyping tool exists for you. Use one or use several, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

David Grover is a Communications Manager at Timeo, a useful tool for businesses in the UK. He’s also a freelance career coach, who’s always eager to share his experience. In his free time he enjoys traveling.