Whether you’re building a PWA (Progressive Web App), an SPA (Single Page Application), or a native mobile app, wireframing plays a pivotal role in software design. The humble wireframe serves as the perfect communication tool through which designers, developers, project managers, and marketing professionals are able to kick-start the ideation process.
Here’s a quick look at the top six wireframe tools you need to know in 2018.
Balsamiq bills itself as a rapid wireframing tool that captures the magic of brainstorming ideas on a whiteboard and brings it to the computer. The platform’s sketch-style aesthetics ensure everyone stays focused on content and interaction, removing distractions such as color, details, and other minutiae that can be tackled at a later date.
For those who prefer the flexibility and power of a full-featured vector graphics editor, Sketch is perfect for whipping up responsive wireframes. Wireframing with an image editor is the digital analogue of working with pencil and paper. For the uninitiated, vector-based design tools give you the image editing capability of a powerful tool such as Photoshop but without the hassle of having to worry about screen densities and resolutions. Sketch is easily one of the most popular drawing tools out there among designers who work with Macs.
Lucidchart is a popular general-purpose diagramming software that lets you build flowcharts, mind maps, wireframes, and other organizational charts with a simple drag-and-drop UI. The platform also doubles as a collaboration tool, supporting commenting, in-editor chat, and video chat.
UXPin is a comprehensive UX design platform and collaboration tool that helps designers work alongside project managers and developers through every step of the product design process. UXPin makes the flow from low-fidelity wireframes to high-fidelity mockups to developer handoff as seamless as possible. Integrations with project management tools such as Slack and Jira, as well as with other design tools such as Photoshop and Sketch, make it easy to incorporate UXPin into your product design team’s workflow.
Microsoft Visio pioneered the world of drag-and-drop diagramming tools. From flowcharts to floor plans to wireframes, Visio boasts an impressive library of premade shapes, connectors, and symbols. The platform also supports real-time collaboration, commenting, and the ability to view drawings on the web. As part of the Office 365 suite, Visio’s a natural fit for any teams working with a Microsoft-heavy technology stack in their workflow.
Gliffy is a cloud-based HTML5 app that sports all the bells and whistles one expects from a professional diagramming/collaboration tool. What sets Gliffy apart from the competition is its close history with Atlassian, starting out as a standalone app in 2005 and adding a Confluence plugin in 2006 and a Jira plugin in 2009. Today it integrates seamlessly with the Atlassian and Google product lines.
Choose the right wireframing tool for your needs
This list barely scratched the surface of wireframing tools out there. Noteworthy absentees include Proto.io, InVision, Marvel, and Framer. For this list, I wanted to give a good spread of the different types of tools that can be used to create wireframes. Check out our Hiring Headquarters for more tools and tips that can improve your product design workflow.