Software Testing

Best Wireframe Tools for UI/UX Designers in 2021

Posted in Software Testing
Best Wireframe Tools

Wireframe tools are ideal for mobile and web apps, dashboards, interfaces, and website design. A wireframe is the skeletal framework of a website; tools help in the visualization of this framework. In a project, UI/UX designers, business analysts, visual designers, and senior developers create wireframes.

Wireframes aim to show the main functionality or behavior and not the page’s formatting or graphics. The main elements of a wireframe are information design (i.e., the placement and prioritization of information), navigation design (links, relationships between pages, etc.), and interface design (making it easy for users to interact with the website content).

The Wireframe tools we are going to look at cover all the above elements efficiently and easily.

What Makes for a Good Tool?

A wireframe is essentially a prototype or a mock-up of the actual screen. A wireframe tool should produce a mock-up that is closest to what the actual design should be. Here are some questions to consider before selecting a wireframe tool for your project:

  1. Well-designed UI: Is the user experience good? Are the users able to find the required contents and links easily? Are they able to navigate smoothly?
  2. Unique features: what are the additional features the tool provides? For example, are there any interactive elements? Does the tool provide collaboration features like adding comments, attaching files, etc.? Can we easily move or drag and drop the elements to create wireframes quickly? Can we integrate it with other tools? Can we convert the wireframes to presentations easily for the clients to view?
  3. Learning curve: Is the tool easy to master? Is the documentation exhaustive, and is the community vibrant and responsive? How about the technical support?
  4. Value for the money: if it is a paid one, is it worth the money? Can we create different types of wireframes, like low-fidelity and high-fidelity ones? Is the pricing flexible?

Top Wireframe Tools

We have included a comprehensive list of free and paid tools, which is otherwise a very daunting task to do (there are just so many out in the market!).

1. Microsoft Visio

The most intuitive and sought-after tool for creating flowcharts, floor plans, organization charts, and much more, Visio has taken its place as the best wireframe tool for any diagrams. You can create complex data center architectures, IT diagrams, network diagrams, server diagrams, network documentation easily and quickly. Visio also offers analytics for budgeting and headcount, thus helping you keep track of the organization staff directory. It comes with a free trial and monthly or annual subscription. You get it as a part of the Microsoft 365 suite as well.

Highlights

  • Easily integrated with PowerBI to generate dashboards for powerful data insights.
  • Excel data can be visualized easily using Visio.
  • Easy data linking to various data sources and customized visualizations.
  • Real-time updating of flowcharts when data changes.
  • Collaboration with different teams to get collective insights and business decisions from all stakeholders in one place.
  • Using the Microsoft Visio Viewer, anyone can view the MS Visio drawings on the IE browser itself.

Pricing

Apart from the free trial, Visio offers four types of plans:

  • Visio Plan 1 with limited features for $6/month or $5/month with annual billing.
  • Visio Plan 2 with more advanced features for $18/month or $15/month when billed annually.
  • Visio Standard license for 1 PC at $280.
  • Visio Professional license for 1 PC at $530.

2. FluidUI

FluidUI is an excellent wireframe tool for both mobile and web prototypes. It is easy to use and intuitive and creates prototypes in minutes. You can create both low and high-fidelity type apps on web platforms and other Android and iOS devices. It has many features like cloud access, integrated widgets, interactive linking and zooming, collaboration tools, etc. Since it is cloud-based, you can save your work immediately and share it with anyone you want.

Highlights

  • There are plenty of (more than 2000) pre-built UI kits for the material design that enables faster prototyping.
  • You can link your prototypes visually and access them anywhere using the app or the browser.
  • Test the prototypes easily anywhere using your mobile or any handheld device.
  • Sharing changes across the team instantly, and ideas can be generated and implemented parallelly through live video calling.
  • Supports unlimited users and prototypes.
  • Top companies like Google, LinkedIn, eBay, Dell, and much more use FluidUI for prototyping.

Pricing

Three different plans are depending on your requirements:

  • Solo with limited features at $8.25/month or $99/year.
  • Pro where you can share your work with the team, and they can add comments, available at $19.08/month or $229/year.
  • Team to collaborate on projects in real-time and unlimited access features at $41.58/month or $499/year.

3. InVision Freehand

Other than being a powerful mockup tool, InVision is also very interesting and fun to work with. Since you can draw with a freehand, the tool allows you to showcase your skills just the way you want fully. Moreover, using the shared online whiteboard, the entire team can collaborate and work together in real-time. You can integrate freehand with toolsets like Microsoft Teams, Sketch, and Photoshop. There are plenty of templates, whether it is a stand-up, a brainstorming session, an icebreaker meeting, a retro meet, or anything else.

Highlights

  • The free version itself comes with many features for creating quick prototypes for any product or meeting.
  • Cloud-based design.
  • Very smooth collaboration experience that takes minimal time and is hassle-free, giving more time for discussing ideas
  • Teams can capture feedback throughout the product design process through mobile devices or browsers.
  • Easy to use, no learning curve.
  • Features like varied colors and opacity using line tools help create varying levels of connection and categorize ideas and other writings.
  • Freehand is like an infinite digital canvas, much suitable for low to medium fidelity designs that can be integrated with other advanced presentations and design tools.

Pricing

There are three different plans:

  • Free for beginners and small teams where you have access to 3 documents and unlimited freehand.
  • Pro for cross-collaborative teams with unlimited documents, collaboration, and Design System Management (DSM) for $7.95/month/per user with annual billing or $9.95 when billed monthly.
  • Enterprise for advanced features like DSM and team management and security features for bigger projects and organizations. Enterprise version cost is customized and depends on the individual/organization demands.

4. Miro

An online collaborative whiteboard platform for many people in a team together. You can add unlimited team members and can access three boards for free. You can sign in with Slack, Google, Office 365, or Facebook account to access the free version. Miro helps with brainstorming, research, design, wireframes, strategic planning, agile workflows, and sprint planning, visual mapping, and diagrams to enhance productivity to a new level. Since there are more distributed teams now, Miro is enabling teams to work together more efficiently.

Highlights

  • With a plethora of pre-built templates, users can create their templates and smart frameworks as well.
  • Many utility widgets like a freeform pen, smart drawing, sticky notes, arrows, etc.
  • Enables asynchronous and synchronous collaborations through embedded video, chats, comments, and easy screen sharing and presentations
  • Centralized and standardized communication for remote teams to speed up cross-functional work
  • Voting, timer, screen-share, etc., enable the team to make effective use of time and improve thoughts’ flow.
  • Provides enterprise-level security and privacy and advanced controls for better administrative management

Pricing

Miro offers many plans:

  • Free with access to 3 editable boards, core integrations, pre-defined templates.
  • Team for $8/month/member billed annually or $10 if billed monthly, with unlimited boards, private board sharing, custom templates, Jira and Confluence integrations, remote meeting toolkit.
  • Business at $16, ideal for bigger teams of more than 20 members, with full functionality, Single Sign On (SSO), external editors, etc.
  • Enterprise at custom pricing is ideal for companies looking for enterprise-grade workflows, controls, integrations, and support.

5. Adobe XD

Adobe XD are an ocean of tools and templates for UI and wireframe design and are considered one of the best tools for mock-ups and prototyping. Features like cardboards, 3D transform, multiple artboards, bootstrap style grids, reusable components like buttons, cards, etc., contextual layer panels, and most importantly, integration with other Adobe suite of products makes it a perfect choice for creating interactive prototypes. It is vector-based and suitable for both web and mobile-based apps.

Highlights

  • Available for both Windows and iOS, but supports Android versions for mobile view.
  • Supports interoperability, i.e., you can open files from other Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, and After Effects with password protection for security.
  • Responsive resize so that the content is automatically adjusted depending on the device used.
  • Supports external plugins to add more features
  • Easy to flip static designs into interactive prototypes, adding animations and test the same across devices
  • Built-in sharing tools to get quick feedback.

Pricing

There are two types of plans – individual and business.

  • Individual plans have three variations – the starter plan for personal use is free. The Single app XD for small teams and professionals is for $9.99/month. You can also take up the 20+ All Apps package that includes Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects along with XD and is priced at $52.99/month
  • The business plan has two variations – for medium and small teams, you pay $22.99/month, and the full-fledged suite with all Apps costs $79.99/month.

6. NinjaMock

True to its name, NinjaMock allows you to create mock-ups extremely quickly. You get about 200 elements in the free version itself, which is a good start, especially if you are a beginner. It has interactive elements for web and mobile and is easy to learn. It is available for all major platforms, including IOS, Android, Windows, and the web. We can easily share and edit designs using unique links that allow for real-time collaboration. Although pricey for small-sized companies, it is a tool worth giving a shot.

Highlights

  • The only online tool that has a vector editor. You can use icons, shapes, freehand or curved paths to visualize everything.
  • Customize and use advanced features for a personalized feel and look
  • Easily design complete screen flows and complex tasks using powerful mock-up features
  • Start with low-fidelity design and sketch elements, and then move to high-fidelity design with realistic elements saving time and productivity
  • No need to maintain a separate sheet for comments – feedback is added directly to the project
  • Easily export, share and manage projects and keep track of the status

Pricing

  • Free – you get one project with limited features (200 elements) for free.
  • Pro – for individuals (1 user) who want to build professional wireframes, it comes with unlimited elements, export features, comments, revision history, etc., at $7/month for a monthly subscription or $5/month annual subscription.
  • Team – Access for up to 200 users, user permissions, export, and all other features at
  • Edu – This is for educational institutions and includes all the team features, but at a discounted price of up to 70%.

7. Wireframe. cc

Here is a simple one for you if you are a beginner and overwhelmed with so many features and elements of full-fledged apps. Wireframe. Cc is a minimalistic web app to create wireframes within minutes and does not require any installation. It is great if you suddenly get an idea and want to sketch it before you forget! It is simple to use with drag and drop features. You can also annotate the wireframes while adding images, headings, shapes to your drawing. Wireframe.cc is one of the best tools for cloud-based platforms so that work can be instantly exported, shared, and edited amongst the team.

Highlights

  • Provides two types of templates, i.e., browser and mobile interface.
  • Adjust the canvas as you draw; change the size, fill colors, grid size, and so on.
  • Easily collaborate online and share work.
  • You can achieve any level of detail in your drawing.
  • No learning curve – great tool even for those who have no idea or experience in UI design.
  • You can choose to use the keyboard if you are not comfortable with the mouse; wireframe provides easy keyboard shortcuts.
  • Designed for Windows and web app (desktop) and Android (mobile).
  • Smart guides appear when you need them and disappear when you don’t, making the tool intuitive and context-sensitive.

Pricing

There are two types of plans:

  • Free – the basic version, and you can access all the basic drawing options and bookmark or share your work with the unique URL. You can use single-page wireframes and do not need to create a user account.
  • Premium – Premium has two modes – editor and preview. Users can have private accounts and dashboards with private access wireframes, master pages, multi-page and clickable wireframes, shareable links, etc. It also comes with revisions and export features, amongst others. There are three types of premium plans:
  • Solo - $16/month or $144/year with single-user access, unlimited projects and revisions, export (PDF/PNG), and user logo.
  • Trio - $39/month or $390/year with three users, unlimited projects and revisions, export (PDF/PNG), and user logo.
  • Enterprise - $99/month or $990/year with unlimited users, unlimited projects and revisions, export (PDF/PNG), and user logo.

8. Cacoo

A feature-rich online flowchart, diagram, and wireframe tool, Cacoo has it all. Your team can work remotely or in a single room and edit and design simultaneously using the powerful features provided by Cacoo. Everyone can see and edit at the same time, track changes, and discuss the diagrams using chats, comments, and video calling. Cacoo is intuitive and has some of the best templates. You can create custom visuals, database diagrams, network diagrams, wireframes, and much more.

Highlights

  • Works seamlessly with other apps like AWS, Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, etc.
  • Since it is an online tool, there is no need for installation or a Cacoo account to get started.
  • Cacoo is helpful not only for development and testing teams but also for marketing, product management, project management, design, and support teams to create visuals, edit, comment, or track the projects.
  • Visio files can be imported and edited in Cacoo securely
  • You can add embedded diagrams or import your AWS architecture into Cacoo for faster editing and syncing

Pricing

There are 3 different plans:

  • Free – you can use Cacoo for free forever, with unlimited users, 6 sheets, and access to templates, shapes, real-time editing, PNG exports, comments, and chats.

You can take up a free trial for the Pro and Team versions:

  • Pro - $5/month when paid annually, $6/month when paid monthly, with one user, unlimited sheets, export options, revision history, etc.
  • Team - $5/month when paid annually, $6/month when paid monthly, with up to 200 users, unlimited sheets, export options, revision history, one-on-one training, etc.

9. UXPin

If you are a newbie to wireframing, UXPin is your tool to start! It has an intuitive interface with an easy to identify toolbar that has all the basic components. UXPin has a set of built-in UI elements that you can drag and drop so that even detailed wireframes can be created quickly. You can create basic wireframes and then integrate them with Sketch or Photoshop to turn them into high-fidelity designs. UXPin has unique features like presenting to the team, handing off design specs to developers, and adding interactions.

Highlights

  • Live presentation and documentation using the Preview feature to present a working prototype.
  • Due to the preview feature, design, review, approval, and documentation, hand-off can be done simultaneously, moving things faster.
  • A rapid prototyping tool that can take your prototypes to the final stages of development and collaboration.
  • Since it is browser-based, UXPin works on any computer and doesn’t need any additional software.
  • Pre-built design elements for iOS app interfaces, material design, Bootstrap web user interfaces, and user flows.
  • Used by top companies like Microsoft, PayPal, HBO, Netflix, etc.

Pricing

There is no free version, but you can start with a free trial on all the different plans:\a

  • Basic - $19/ user/month with unlimited prototypes and users, export, version history, interactions, animations, states, etc.
  • Advanced - $29/user/month with expressions, variables, conditional logic, contextual documentation, etc.
  • Professional - $69/user/month with priority support, advanced security, roles, and permissions, design systems
  • Enterprise – the price is custom based on your project requirements and includes unlimited users, training and onboarding, design systems, roles and permissions, advanced security, etc.

10. Sketch

We have mentioned Sketch many times, and here it is! The sketch is the best wireframe tool for macOS. It is lightweight and vector-based. Although Sketch doesn’t have any pre-built UI components, you can design those in the app and then reuse them. You can also download third-party UI kits to get the basic wireframes ready in no time.

Highlights

  • You can add many plugins and integrations for real-time design and animating interactions.
  • Documents can be shared with external collaborators and the team using Cloud workspace, which is shared, thus enabling faster feedback.
  • Prototype links make it easier for ideas to be tested and shared, thus letting the design process flow.
  • You can access shared symbols and styles, resizing options, and multiple artboards that you can export to one image file.
  • It can be used by teams of any size – from freelancers to big teams; anyone can learn and use Sketch.

Pricing

Three is no free version, although you can take up a free trial for 30 days with full features. You can purchase Sketch at $9/user/month or $99/month/user.

Bonus Wireframe Tool

Although the above ten are enough for all your wireframing needs, there is one more tool I came across and is worth mentioning!

1. Justinmind

The unique thing about Justinmind is its rich set of pre-built and loaded UI kits and drag and drop interface. This makes prototyping fun and easy, with interactive links and clickable spots. UI is tested in just one click. Prototypes can be published in a single click and shared with stakeholders for feedback. It allows code-free prototyping for creating high-fidelity prototypes.

Conclusion

Canva and Adobe Illustrator are also equally popular and useful tools for wireframes. Canva is gaining a lot of attention of late because of its quick marketing wireframes. Adobe illustrator is a much more detailed and feature-rich tool that enables you to do intricate heavy-weight work. Wireframes are a very interesting topic, and if you wish to learn about wireframes, check out our comprehensive list of free and paid wireframe tutorials and courses. Let us know which wireframe tool you prefer in the comments!.

People are also reading:

Ramya Shankar

Ramya Shankar

A cheerful, full of life and vibrant person, I hold a lot of dreams that I want to fulfill on my own. My passion for writing started with small diary entries and travel blogs, after which I have moved on to writing well-researched technical content. I find it fascinating to blend thoughts and research and shape them into something beautiful through my writing. View all posts by the Author

Leave a comment

Your email will not be published
Cancel