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I will keep repeating how important is to plan your webdesign, sitemaps, draw flowcharts,wireframes before even start to do actual functional and design planning! Since I am deeply researching this topic myself, this time I found the most popular wireframing software available.
Just 3 of tools I found were free, but every tool has free trial or basic plan so you can definitely try and test it yourself for one time projects.
For me – I don’t do redesigns too often, so I don’t need such tools daily, but for design companies I think one of these tools will be life and time saver from drawing, planning and collaborating view – worth spending some money for! To get started I suggest to read also previous planning article I did – Know How To Plan Your Website Redesign & Get Inspired.
With Lovely Charts’ extremely simple and intuitive drag’n drop drawing mechanism, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters. You won’t have to draw boxes or arrows, and you won’t have to worry about what symbol to use.
Lovely Charts’s biggest strength lies in its innovative workflow and in its ability to generate lovely diagrams in minutes, with no effort.
The Pencil Project’s unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use.
Prototype Composer is a completely new way of gathering requirements. Prototype Composer makes it possible to see how an application will look and function before any code is ever written. Instead of endless text documents, Prototype Composer makes it easy for business users and business analysts to collaborate on requirements by building simple, high-fidelity prototypes that simulate a working application.
MockFlow is an online tool for creating wireframes of software and websites. It helps to enhance your planning process by enabling to quickly design and share interactive UI mockups.
Can be used as desktop application and one more great thing you can collaborate real-time with fellow collegues and discuss development process right in the application if you use premium account.
Little video demo about this software:
Axure RP enables application designers to create wireframes, flow diagrams, prototypes, and specifications for applications and web sites. It provides the features you need to get started quickly whether working alone or collaborating with your team.
Used by user experience professionals, business analysts and product managers in over half of the Fortune 100, leading agencies and thousands of small and medium businesses around the world. Axure RP has become an essential tool for successful application design.
Using Balsamiq Mockups feels like you are drawing, but it’s digital, so you can tweak and rearrange controls easily, and the end result is much cleaner. Teams can come up with a design and iterate over it in real-time in the course of a meeting.
Mockups is designed to help you and your team or clients iterate on wireframes as early in the process as possible, when it’s cheapest to do so.
Watch video demo about this software:
Great application, with a lot of tutorials, forum, active twitter account and Faqs/Help section! Interface is very modern as well, one of my favorite applications by far.
Mockingbird is an online tool that makes it easy for you to create, link together, preview, and share mockups of your website or application.
ProtoShare is an easy-to-use, collaborative, Web-based prototyping tool that helps teams visualize requirements for interactive projects and work together in real-time.
Big or small, the key to successful projects is getting people talking and cooperating early. ProtoShare helps all stakeholders — Web developers, account execs, management, marketing, and clients — get on the same page before money and time are sunk in various development dead ends.
Check out online video tour explaining good features about this product.
You can use Gliffy to build almost everything, I don’t like though there are too much features. If I would need tool just for wireframing I think I would choose different one, because there I have too many distractions and options I don’t need.
With Gliffy online diagram software, you can easily create professional-quality flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, technical drawings, wireframes and more.
Wireframes and mockups have been used to think and define websites or applications before their implementation. But with the coming of the web 2.0, dynamic websites and RIA, you need to think everything from UI to conditional navigation or the type of interactions you want to use. Mockups or even clickable wireframes aren’t enough anymore.
Justinmind Prototyper 3.0 is a powerful wireframing tool designed to build fully functional dynamic prototypes without any coding, both on Windows and Mac.
See also short video demo:
Different than classic wireframing tools, because of functions, you can change less hierachy, but it’s very easy to build sitemaps and separate content in categories there.
Use Jumpchart to quickly plan out the navigation of your site by adding pages, and sub-pages. If you change your mind, easily drag pages to new spots within the site hierarchy. There is no better way to organize the content for your website.
Watch their online video tour.
Integrate usability testing into your production cycle by making use of pidoco°’s easy-to-use testing module. You will be developing applications which will work with the end-user as well as your clients whilst increasing the turnover!
Real-time collaboration with several co-workers will optimize communication patterns and will decrease expenditures in many areas within your production team!
With iPlotz you can create clickable, navigable wireframes to create the experience of a real website or software application. You can also invite others to comment on the designs, and once ready, you can then manage the tasks for developers and designers to build the project.
Check out video tour.
FlairBuilder is built such that you will feel comfortable with the application’s user interface and complete each task fluently and efficiently. That is why you will find many common elements such as the toolbar, the menu, a component palette, a context menu for common tasks and a set of handy keyboard shortcuts. All these to simply let you focus on you job and get it done as fast as possible.
GUI Design Studio is a graphical user interface design tool for Microsoft Windows that you can use to rapidly create demonstration prototypes without any coding or scripting.
Draw individual screens, windows and components using standard elements, connect them together to storyboard operational workflow then run the simulator to test your designs. Watch video demo overview.
Need a diagram, process chart, quick page-layout, website wireframe or graphic design? OmniGraffle can help you make eye-popping graphic documents quickly by keeping lines connected to shapes even when they’re moved, providing powerful styling tools, importing and exporting Microsoft Visio files, and magically organizing diagrams with just one click.
Whether you need a quick sketch or an epic technical figure, OmniGraffle keeps it gorgeously understandable. Watch introduction videos and tutorials here.
Microsoft Office Visio 2007 makes it easy for IT and business professionals to visualize, explore, and communicate complex information. Go from complicated text and tables that are hard to understand to Visio diagrams that communicate information at a glance. Instead of static pictures, create data-connected Visio diagrams that display data, are easy to refresh, and dramatically increase your productivity. Use the wide variety of diagrams in Office Visio 2007 to understand, act on, and share information about organizational systems, resources, and processes throughout your enterprise. View video tour.
Did you make your pick? Which was it? Let us know in comments!
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Dainis Graveris is 23 years old blogger and designer, founder of 1stWebDesigner, now more silently managing everything behind the scenes. He usually hangs out in Twitter tweeting design related links and chatting with people. If you have any questions or feedback that's the best place to start! Cheers!
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