Prototypes serve as useful sources of information for web designers and developers. They encourage team collaboration and can provide useful information to stakeholders. They also serve as testing platforms.
In addition, they provide developers with useful and usable information. It is often easier to understand and work when compared to pure documentation.
It takes the best UI prototyping tools to create the most useful prototypes. But that’s especially the case for prototypes of complex or interactive designs.
How do you evaluate app and website prototyping tools? When doing so, take note of their ability to clearly demonstrate visual consistency. They should also be able to properly present interactive design accuracy. We have done this for the three top tools described below.
Collaboration features and capabilities are also important. As is the quality and usability of the assets provided to developers at design handoff.
One of the things prototyping tools do best is to help designers and design teams avoid rework by picking up design errors, omissions, or ambiguities early in the design phase. Of equal importance is how they can often speed up the design process through information sharing.
These and other capabilities you should insist on in app and website prototyping tools are clearly in evidence in Justinmind, an app prototyping tool that provides over 4,000 premade UI elements to work with and a central platform for application definition.
Designers like the way Justinmind serves to optimize designer-developer communications and speeds up the design process, and how easily it integrates with Sketch, Photoshop, and other commonly-used design tools. Developers appreciate how this prototyping tool enables design teams to provide them with clear, complete, and accurate design specs featuring clearly specified gestures, interactions, and transitions for mobile apps.
A feature you’ll love is the ability to add your own images and design assets from other design tools, your file system, and even from your browser.
Give Justinmind a try – you can download it for free.
Supernova is one of the coolest prototyping tools on the market not only because of some of its added features and functions, but because of the way it works and what it does. It’s almost like owning a set of interactive prototyping tools that eliminate the need for prototyping.
That’s really not the case, although one of the things Supernova does best is to take a Sketch design and convert it in to production ready code for iOS, Android, and React Native systems – a new and different approach to prototyping.
Supernova’s set of prototyping tools are free to use although you will have to pay for code exporting. Supernova is currently available for use on the Mac, but other platforms will be added in the near future.
Savah App’s comprehensive set of prototyping capabilities clearly establishes it as one of the best prototyping tools on the market; which is of course why it is included in this list of three.
It provides a one-stop platform for prototyping, information sharing, and design team collaboration. Savah App will help you automate your design phase workflow. You can sync your design screens with Dropbox and Sketch, Google Drive and share prototyping results with team members, clients, and stakeholders for feedback and comments.
Savah App tests your prototypes across all devices including Smartwatch and iPhone X. It also password protects the design information stored in its prototype repository. Savah App-produced prototypes are also maintained under version control, and you can view and compare different versions on side-by-side screens.
Savah App is one of the best prototyping tools available for use by freelancers and small teams. Several plans, including a free plan, are available.
The Benefits of Prototyping
Like any design method, prototyping has its advantages and disadvantages. The latter somewhat outweighed the former in the past. That time, the prototyping tools employed were less sophisticated. App and good interactive prototyping tools were almost unheard of.
Today, the discussion is not about the advantages vs. disadvantages. It is about how to make the best use of the advantages these tools bring to the table. The best prototyping tools in the current market have made prototyping quite affordable. This is due to the time saved and their ability to demonstrate the appearances, look and feel. They can perfectly present the functionality of large, complex, interactive software systems.
What are the benefits you can expect? You’ll get them in the top prototyping tools described above. They are almost the same for UI prototyping tools or interactive prototyping tools. Same goes for app and website prototyping tools.
- Prototypes help designers to more accurately interpret systems requirements. They can help discover omissions, and also eliminate ambiguities.
- Prototypes can indicate whether or not a software product will do what it is intended to do; as opposed to what it can do.
- Prototypes help developers understand how a proposed system is expected to function.
- Prototyping saves time and eliminates a need for rework. It does so by catching problems early in the design phase.
- Prototypes are excellent vehicles for exchanging design information. They help to nail down what a product needs to do, how well it must do it, and ensure it meets its intended purpose.
- Prototypes provide the means to address loose ends and firm up the final design.
- Prototyping gives project stakeholders a sense of involvement in a project.
- Prototypes can make cost and schedules estimating much easier for developers. It can also facilitate resource requirements estimating processes.
- Finally, prototyping can create reference points or markers. These can be referred to in the event of disputes further along in the development stage.
How did you find the design tools addressed in this article? They are excellent examples of the benefits of a set of top prototyping tools brings to the table. They show what prototyping tools can do for you and your design team.
Note that each of these tools does much more than simply build a prototype. Where they really shine is in team collaboration and information sharing. Do not forget about a handoff of clear and accurate design information to developers.