Wireframe tools play a crucial role in web and software development as they help developers and clients to visualize the webpage under construction. It is very important for your website to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, despite the clutter and diversity of content. The wireframe tools also help you to minimize design hassles, once the website is in its final stages.
Pen and paper are good to sketch initial wireframes and to have the preliminary idea about the website design. But, to test it at advanced stages, you need an advanced software application. This application should support versioning and editing, so that the design flaws can be eliminated in the development stage itself. Here is a list of 10 popular wireframe tools along with their cost:
10 Extremely Useful and Cost Effective Wireframe Tools For Designers
PowerMockup—Wireframe Add-on for PowerPoint
If you want to convert Microsoft PowerPoint into a wireframe tool, this add-on would be highly useful. A new panel to the PP window would be added, and it will enable you to use a number of wireframe elements and icons present in the panel. It can be included in a slide using drag and drop.
PowerMockup is compatible with all the latest versions of Microsoft Office including Office 2013. You can buy this wireframe tool for $60 for a single-user.
Moqups—Online Mockup and Wireframe Tool
If you need vector-based wireframes, this online HTML5 application should be your ideal choice. It was developed by Romanian software engineers, and was made available free of cost to the developer community across the world. You do not even need to register it. Recently, the engineering team has launched a premium version of Moqups, which is optional and comes with unlimited revisions, master pages, live collaboration with engineering team, and several other useful features.
Wireframe.cc — Online Wireframe Tool (Free)
Wireframe.cc is a simple tool, which does not have unwanted clutter and you can move your mouse across the canvas to draw anything you like. It generates a unique URL, which is shareable. Wireframe.cc is absolutely free, but the premium versions are paid.
Axure RP—Extensive Wireframe Tool
It is one of the most comprehensive and extensive tool, that is available for a minimum price of $290. It can be used for everything, including developing complex prototypes, specification documents and also simple wireframe sketches. It has certain other advanced features as well, such as its ability to share prototypes with clients. It is designed in such a way that it can manage discussions and feedback and also incorporate collaboration with the members.
Balsamiq Mockups—Rapid Wireframe Tool Based on Flash
It has become popular in a very short period of time, after being developed in 2008 by a software developer. It has become so popular that it is being used by thousands of developers across the world. Balsamiq Mockups can create designs, which look like the sketches produced on paper, rather than formal mechanical designs. It is compatible with Flash and comes as an Adobe Air Application. You can buy it for $80.
Fluid UI—Online Prototyping Tool for Android, iOS, and Windows Apps
If you’re looking for a prototyping tool for mobile apps, Fluid UI should be your ideal choice. It is a web based tool, which can create both high fidelity mockups and low fidelity wireframes. It has libraries of user interfaces for Windows 8, android and iOS apps. For a single project, you can get an account, which provides up to 10 screens absolutely free of cost. If you want to go for paid plans, you can start with $30 a month.
Pencil—GUI Prototyping Tool (Open-Source)
Pencil is a prototyping tool, which is open source. We can create many prototypes and GUI mockups through it. It has a vast storehouse of ready to use shapes, that can be used for general purpose elements and UI controls for Android, iOS and web based apps. You can find download archive on the pencil website and get access to many stencil collections, which are contributed by the users. It is also available as a standalone version for many operating systems.
UXToolbox—Windows-Based Wireframe Tool
If you are developing mobile apps, desktop software or websites, UXToolbox enables you to create interactive prototypes and wireframes. One more interesting feature of it is that you can switch between sketched wireframe and a picture perfect wireframe just by clicking a button. You can easily export it to HTML or XML. You can buy it for $240.
Live Wires—Wireframe App for iPad
It allows you to prototype and test directly on the iPad. It is compatible with both iPhone and iPad apps. It has an extensive library. It is available for as low as $10.
Mockups.me—UI Wireframe Application
As far as features are concerned, it is very close to Balsamiq Mockups, but it is one level up because it can be used as a tablet app for both Android and iOS. It also has a built in communication system, which can collect comments and feedback. Its web version can be bought for $100 per year, whereas the tablet version can be bought for just $20.
So, there are lots of wireframe tools available in the market, which you can choose according to your requirement. These tools are both free and available for a cost. Most of the times, only the premium versions are charged, whereas the trial versions are free.