by Guest Blogger . December 27th, 2012
A website wireframe is a simple visual guide that displays the blueprint of a website. Wireframes are used by designers to plan the layout of pages by incorporating clients’ requirements. It showcases the structure of webpages by providing an understanding of where various page elements will appear. A wireframe plays a vital role in positioning elements such as the logo, banner, images, text, videos, contact forms etc., on web pages, in the best way possible.
There are plenty of wireframe tools available online but selecting the right ones is not easy, as each wireframe tool has its own pros and cons. Let’s have a look at 5 of the most useful wireframe tools which simplify the job of web designers to a large extent.
Axure RP is an interactive wireframe software that is used to create prototypes for web applications. You can create attractive wireframes with boxes, place holders, shapes and text. You can then add colors and gradients, import images and make use of grids and guides for accurate placement. Axure RP can give your mockup a sketchy hand-drawn appearance. You can also create click-through mockups or prototypes with compelling content, drag and drop applications, animation, calculations and more. This tool is easy to use and gets your job done in a short time.
SketchFlow is a wireframe tool from Microsoft that forms a part of the Expression Studio Ultimate suite. This tool helps in creating efficient prototypes that suit the various business needs of clients. The freely distributable SketchFlow player easily explains the prototypes to clients. Clients will be able to test the multiple scenarios and leave their reviews. SketchFlow gives you the ability to effectively map out and iterate the flow of an application UI, the layout of individual screens and the transition from one application state to another. If you are looking for a tool that facilitates convenient testing of multiple ideas, SketchFlow is a perfect pick.
WireframeSketcher is a software that helps designers to create wireframes, mockups and prototypes for desktop, web and mobile applications. This tool can be used as a desktop app and as a plug-in for any type of EclipseIDE. It has a mockup gallery where you will find stencils, widgets, icons and mockup templates for all website, desktop and mobile applications. The tool’s streamlined interface helps in taking advantage of multiple monitors and provides quick results. The prototypes can be shared as PDF files with clients.
ForeUI is a user-friendly prototyping tool that allows you to create mockups, wireframes and prototypes for web applications. As the style of your prototype can be changed by switching the UI theme (Hand drawing, Wireframe, Windows XP, Mac OS X, Windows 7 etc.,) you can use ForeUI to create flexible prototypes for your website. With intuitive flow charts you can explain the performance of the prototype for specific events. You can also view your design as a slide show and include annotation whenever needed. These prototypes can be exported as HTML or PDF files. ForeUI is a great tool for usability testing.
Apart from the above-mentioned tools there are other popular wireframe tools like Pidoco, Jumpchart, Pencil, SimpleDiagrams etc. As wireframes focus on the display of contents, the functionality of objects, rules in placing objects in the right places, the effects in different scenarios and much more, they are very useful for web designers. They also let clients get involved in the planning process, view and track changes and provide continuous feedback. To create a web-structured website, you can take the help of a professional web designer who can accomplish all your business needs by using the latest technology.
Brian Taylor is the Project Manager, VP at Forix, a web design company based in Portland, OR. Forix specializes in web design and development for small, medium and large company websites, e-commerce systems, developing mobile applications.