The Wireframe is a crucial stage in any UX or UI design phase of a website, app, platform, landing page or even emails.
It allows the designer to ‘consider’ form and function of the application without the distraction of visual design.
This is important when considering user flows and UX architecture, how components will function and where the content will nest?
Who should be involved in wireframe design?
Typically the wireframe process should involve key stakeholders including:
- UI Designer
- UX Researcher
- Project Manager
- SEO Producer
- The client
Some could argue that wireframes are unnecessary given the technology nowadays means the design can be tweaked on the fly.
However, if it’s a landing page or e-commerce site I would say that they are critical to effective ‘planning’ and ‘thinking’ in any digital project.
They allow for a greater understanding of the user flow, content placement and signposting to aid better conversion and a better overall experience.
Additionally, having a well considered wireframe can massively reduce time and cost at the design phase. With the caveat that the designer doesn’t simply colour the wireframe in but does apply some ‘visual design’ to it.
Best Wireframe Tools For 2020
So with all that in mind, here are my top 10 Best Wireframe tools for 2020 that every UX and IU designer should consider. Enjoy!
Balsamiq is a great tool whether you’re a freelancer or design agency. Pricing starts from just $9/ month and can either be used via cloud or downloaded as a desktop app on PC and Mac.
They also have integrations with Google Drive, Jira and Confluence, if that really tickles your fancy.
The real benefit of Balsamiq is it’s pretty low fidelity as wireframe tools go. Which really makes the whole process of sketching on pen and paper simple, but obviously in a digital format.
But more so, it’s fast…like really fast. You can create a well considered wireframe in no time at all.
It’s cost effective too…for example a basic license is free and then roughly £10/user from there on.
Being that it’s Adobe it also means it integrates with the likes of Photoshop, but don’t worry, there’s loads of integrations with third parties including UserTesting, Trello, Google Sheets and more.
Sketch is a personal favourite of mine. However it does only work on Mac and pricing, like most, starts at $9/month but it does have a long 90 day trial available.
It’s major advantages are; it’s speed of use, collaborative cloud based working and flexibility to export into programmes such as InVision.
Like many of the others in this list. Sketch uses drag and drop functionality to customise wireframes to suit your requirements, making it really user friendly.
There are also lots of third party apps available to bolt on and extend the capability of Sketch as a key tool to add to your UX/UI arsenal.
Miro is a highly collaborative and agile tool which helps improve team work on large projects and product development.
It enables an unlimited brainstorming canvas with pre-built templates and tools to map customer journeys and user stories. It’s great for sprint planning, retrospectives, wireframing and project roadmaps.
Where it really shines is allowing collaboration with teams across multiple formats, channels and geographic locations all whilst working in real time. Cool huh?
Pricing starts from $10/ month and it also integrates with MS Teams, Asana, GDrive, Slack and InVision.
As one of the most expensive tools in this list at $15 / month Figma does have a lot to live up to, although it does offer a competitive free starter plan for 2 editors and up to 3 projects. Ultimately, it’s ideal for Freelancers looking for a top grade solution.
Mockplus has over 200 components and 3,000 icons to help save time and effort on design.
Drag-and-drop elements come as standard and the canvas is spacious and user friendly. You can also scan a QR code to prototypes on multiple devices, alternatively it can provide a cloud based link to share with other collaborators.
Mockplus doesn’t come cheap at roughly $16/month ($199/ annum). However it is packed full of unlimited features from the get go.
The packages increase dependent on number of users. As opposed to many of the others who add in additional functionality beyond the basic packages.
The Axure RP interface has a powerful canvas and a host of additional features, including; conditional logic, adaptive product views, animation effects, code export functionality, easy cloud storage and more.
Axure is a great tool for experienced UX designers, due to it’s full stack of features however, this also poses a challenge for many users, particularly those who may not realise the full value as a wireframe tool.
It also lacks integrations with third parties, but does have a pretty decent library of widgets for popular software and browsers. So you may not actually find yourself requiring third party additions in that case.
Axure starts from $29 / month. Pretty pricy in my opinion and if you want collaboration you’ll need to upgrade to their $49 /month offering.
Lucidchart is a pretty geeky platform, but does have some real strengths such as it’s price point and usability.
I’d say that typically it’s great for developing user flows for apps and being web based, it isn’t a hefty platform sitting on your desktop. However, the obvious drawback here is you do need a WiFi connection and a decent one at that, to use it.
There are many big brands using Lucidchart as their go to design tool. It’s not strictly for wireframes however can be used in that sense. It’s actually better suited to mapping user flows in apps or websites.
There is a free version, however you’ll likely find yourself wanting to jump up to the £10 / month version for the additional features.
Omnigraffle is another MacOS specific tool so may be for everyones cup of tea. They also don’t seem to have a monthly payment plan, only annual at $149.
t’s is a highly functional and usable tool for building wireframes across a variety of platforms.
There’s a tonne of support documents and videos too if you ever need help. They even have a dedicated Slack channel.
Think of Omnigraffle as a creative tool for wireframes, however, it can also be used for space planning and circuitry diagrams alike.
I guess one of the major draws is the versatility of the platform.
Fluid UI has a lot of built in libraries (over 2000 components) and again uses a drag and drop interface to allow fast deployment.
There are additional apps which can be used to test prototypes on mobile devices and there are a host of interactive previews available.
Really it’s an all in one solution for user flows, wireframes and prototype visioning. Much of which the competition above can do, however it’s at a pretty competitive price point.
It’s ideal for designers, product developers, product owners or visionaries pricing starts at $8.25/ month.
And thats a wrap!
Thanks for reading. If there are any other tools that you use and aren’t featured on this list please comment in the description box below. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on what you’re using to produce Wireframes and UX flows.