Trying to get that perfect look of your website with just words can be frustrating not just for you, but also to your potential clients. Crafting a good interface wireframe and mockup paints a thousand words and you don’t even have to learn how to code to build one.
What is a Mockup?
A mockup or wireframe is a visual guide that displays how a page of the screen or website may look. The WireFrame range can be from a very sketchy appearance, to a more polished look, and up to a nearly complete website.
A wireframe helps determine the following:
The layout of the content
The lists of available functions
Blocks of text
Overall graphic design
Calls to action
Why is it useful?
Wireframing is a crucial step in web design and development. It allows for rapid prototyping and helps to locate potential problems in the process. It helps communicate ideas, cut down on cost due to fewer design revisions required, and enable greater upfront in usability and functionality testing.
Wireframing communicates the specifications of a system in a website. You can communicate to your clients how the proposed system will look like without the need to setup an entire website. The wireframe states the outline and suitable annotations which saves a lot of time in doing a website all over again.
Here are some of the best wireframing and mockup tools available:
Mockingbird is a web-based wireframing tool that is based on the Cappuccino framework. You can create multiple wireframes, link them together, and share it to your clients.
Mockingbird is an easy-to-use web-based system that has a clean and user-friendly interface. It has a drag and drop UI, and interactive page linking, text resizing and the ability to share mockups.
Since Mockingbird is web-based, you can create and share mockups and wireframes anywhere, perfect for fueling your creative ideas and bringing it to life in an instant.
Mockingbird is offered in 4 plans:
Personal costs $9 per month. You’ll have access to 2 active projects and can have unlimited archived projects and collaborators.
The team plan costs $20 per month. You’ll have permission to 10 active projects and can also have unlimited archived projects and collaborators.
Pro is offered at $40 per month. It has 25 active projects with unlimited archived projects and collaborators.
At $85 per month, the unlimited plan offers unlimited active projects with unlimited archived projects and collaborators.
You can also try Mockingbord for free but with limitations.
Try Mockingbird today.
Cacoo lets you easily create wireframes and mockups for websites and smartphone applications. Caccoo has a free plan but it will only allow you to export the final project in .PNG format. It is enough for those working with small projects and mostly to expand their ideas. The site comes with great sets of tools and functions that you can take advantage for free.
Cacoo has 3 plans available:
This plan is great for trying out the service. You can tinker with it to whatever you like, but free comes with limitations like:
Export the format only to PNG.
No editing history
Up to 15 users per diagram and 3 users per shared folder.
Plus is excellent for small projects. At $4.95 per month or $49 per year, you can export your projects in PDF, PPT, PS, PNG and SVG. You’ll be allowed for unlimited sheets, unlimited shared folders and editors and editing history is enabled.
For teams, I recommend to try out this plan. The team plan comes with 3 more options:
Basic for up to 10 users at $24.50 per month.
Premium for up to 30 users at $49 per month.
Max for up to 100 users for $99 per month.
Like the Plus plan, you’ll be able to export the projects in PDF, PPT, PNG, PS and SVG. You’ll also have editing history and highlighted differences enabled with unlimited sheets, shared folders, and editors.
What is unique about the team plan is that you’ll have user management and multiple admins feature so you can manage your collaborators with ease.
Sign up for Cacoo account today!
If you have the nostalgia for pen and paper, then Balsamic will feed your cravings. Balsamiq is an interactive wireframing tool that feels as if you are drawing your wireframe using a pen and paper. The difference with this tool is that you’ll have full control over the elements which lets you add, remove, or edit the elements on the go.
Balsamiq is a software that comes in two versions: Mockups for desktop and myBalsamiq
Mockups for desktop is offered at $79 for a single user license. You can download the software for free which is available in Windows, Mac, and Linux versions and use it for free but it is only a 7-day trial. After the trial, you’ll need a key to be able to save your work.
MyBalsamiq is a web app that is offered in various plans starting at $12 per month up to $999 per month. What is great about this version is that you can use Balsamiq without the need to install it first. You can also try the web app for free for up to 30 days.
Try Balsamiq today!
NinjaMock is a free wireframing tool for creating websites and mobile phone apps. It has all the advanced prototyping features that is perfect for creating that winning prototype. It comes with a collaboration tool that offers real time commenting and external reviewer access.
If you need more features, the service offers Pro and ProPlus plans. The Pro plan is suitable for freelancers and small companies. It comes with all the mockup features, unlimited number of projects and offline support. The Pro plan is offered at $10 per month. The ProPlus is great for larger companies or group of people to collaborate on projects. Like the Pro plan, it contains all the mockup features, unlimited number of projects and offline support. The ProPlus comes with a shared workplace suitable for multiple users. The ProPlus plan is offered at $25 monthly per user.
Start designing with NinjaMock now!
Pencil Project is intended for building prototypes and wireframes for web designers. It comes with many stencil collections and its Google code repository contains even more – all for free. Pencil is an open source desktop application like Balsamiq that works with all platforms of today. Pencil Project is completely free.
Download Pencil Project for free!
If you thought that designing a prototype or mockup requires you to code you’re doing it wrong. These wireframing and mockup services allow you to create example designs for your team and clients; therefore saving you a lot of time and resources.
A good wireframing tool lets you see a bigger picture and avoid mistakes along the way. You can try to do this in your head, but when you are just starting out, life is much easier if you’ve made a wireframe or mockup.
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