Best Mockup & Prototyping Software in 2018

Creating mockups and prototypes is an essential part of any application development process. Prototypes help set clear expectations for a project and save time and money by avoiding costly reworks. You can also use mockups or prototypes when pitching an idea to investors. Software products in this category provide the necessary tools to build wireframes, mockups, and prototypes. These include tools to create diagrams, flowcharts, images and tools to add colors, logos, and text. Key features of these products revolve around drag-and-drop widgets, libraries of design templates, testing tools, the ability to design with others in real time and the ability to share prototypes with team members and get feedback from them.  Read the full software guide...


Mockup & Prototyping Software Guide

What is Mockup & Prototyping Software?

Mockups and prototyping, along with wireframing, are different phases in the design process often implemented by professional UI/UX designers and software developers.

The terms mockup and prototyping are often used interchangeably, most often by people who are either new to the field of UI/UX design or know nothing about the design process at all. Both terms, in fact, are actually not the same. They refer to the different stages of UI/UX design.

Confusing mockups with prototyping is like assuming that an architectural diorama of a house and an actual display house are one and the same.

Mockups are medium- to high-fidelity design representations, which are typically static. More often than not, a mockup is essentially a draft or a visual design representation. A well-built mockup should represent the structure of information. It should visualize the content and demonstrate the core functionalities of the project in a static way.

A well-created mockup should also encourage developers and stakeholders to actually review the visual aspect of the project. Mockups are often mistaken or confused with wireframing, mostly due to some of the names of various software companies and products.

Prototyping, on the other hand, is a process that involves creating a medium- to a high-fidelity representation of the final product. It is generally found in the final stages of the development phase of a project.

Prototyping effectively simulates user interface interaction in an app or software development process and should enable reviewers and prospective users to experience content and interactions through the interface.

A well-built prototype should allow developers and stakeholders to test and scrutinize the key interactions of a product as if it were the final version. Keep in mind that a prototype is essentially a simulation of the core interactions between the prospective user and the interface. This is why it is a representation of the final product, so to speak.


Types of Mockup and Prototyping Software

Creating mockups and prototypes is a crucial aspect of any software or application development process. Software designers and developers rely on mockups and prototyping to clearly illustrate their ideas and innovation to stakeholders and decision makers.

A mockup is a stage in the development process where the corporate identity can be applied through typography, color, and visual style. This stage in the process can yield a representation that is close to the final product in terms of look and feel.

Unlike mockups, the prototyping process is much closer to the finished product in terms of functionality and user interaction. Prototypes are usually interactive. Well-built prototypes can easily model the user experience and they allow for extensive user testing and analysis.

There are a plethora of mockups and prototyping tools and software solutions available in the market. Each product has its own set of features and capabilities that set it apart from the others and is tailored to a specific set of needs.


How to Choose Mockups and Prototyping Software

Choosing the right wireframing, mockup, and prototyping solution can be an overwhelming process, especially considering the number of options you have in the market. If you are a novice in the software design space, it’s even more daunting and, more often than not, confusing.

The competitive market, in terms of wireframing and prototyping tools, is constantly evolving and changing pretty quickly. In fact, this is one of the reasons why finding the right solution for your organization is more difficult than you might think.

When choosing a software solution for mockups and prototyping, the user has to consider several important questions.

  • How long will it take for the user to adapt to this new tool?
  • Is the learning curve worth the cost and time investment?
  • How fast or how efficient is the prototype development process when using the tool?

Answering these questions might give you an idea of what type of prototyping software solution you need for your project. The following are another set of questions that could play a significant role in your decision-making process.

  • What is the prototyping tool designed for? Is it designed to create prototypes for website applications, desktop software, mobile apps, or a combination of various platforms?
  • Does your development process involve wireframing, mockups, and/or prototyping? If so, what are your expectations from—and requirements for—the software solution?
  • Are you working with a team of developers and/or designers? If so, what type of functions and features do you need to make the team collaboration process more streamlined and efficient?
  • How much does the software solution cost? Is it worth the price? Or, are you willing to pay for how much it’s worth?

To answer these questions accurately, it’s obvious that when choosing a prototyping solution, you first need to take a long hard look at your development process. What is missing from your process? Are there aspects of your development process that could use improvement? Can your inefficiencies and problems be solved by simply getting a new prototyping tool?

So, to sum up, the ideal prototyping tool should be quick and easy to use, it should be result-driven, it should address your specific needs during the prototype development process, it should adhere to your standards, and it should be cost-effective and provide a decent ROI.


Benefits of Using Mockups and Prototyping Software

Mockups and prototyping solutions are crucial to the development process of any project. They play an important role in the communication process between the design team and the development team. In an environment heavily dependent on streamlined team collaboration and efficient workflows, there is no substitute for a user-friendly, team-friendly prototyping solution.

Having the ability to build mockups and prototypes will allow designers and developers to showcase their designs and ideas to stakeholders and give them a better understanding of what the final product will be like.

With interactions between the prospective user and the application, design and development teams will have a clearer picture as to the look and feel of the product. That is what prototyping solutions bring to the table and why they are important in the development process of websites, software solutions, and mobile applications.


Common Features of Mockup & Prototyping

API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Bug Tracking Log and track issues to capture, report and monitor bugs for the purposes of software development and maintenance.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.

Latest User Reviews of Mockup & Prototyping

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