Wireframing is the foremost step of designing a website, as they are the framework that helps users understand the functionality and purpose of an app or a website. Wireframe tools allow users put together the various elements of the website design for studying them. They can plan the layout and the working of the interface in black and white. This is done by designing flowcharts, sitemaps, storyboards, and more. Once you get the idea of the prototype design in black and white, colors can be added later.

Users can even make prototypes of the desired apps using the certain wireframe tools which suit their requirements optimally. With rapid advancement in technology, users can select from simple to complex tools for creating these interactive wireframe designs that can be shared online, viewed on the smartphone, or downloaded easily for client discussions and quick feedbacks.

To intricately understand how an app/website will function, a study of the various elements of a wireframe becomes essential. This task is now easier as tools are feature-rich and employ purposeful UI elements, get inputs from their inbuilt libraries, and have auto-generated specifications to create designs and make transitions if necessary.

With options galore at the user’s disposal, making that one choice becomes tough. You have to weigh all the utilities and functionalities of the wireframe tools to settle for the best one.

UXPin

Just drag and drop the custom elements in UXPin as you can put together the wireframes here. UXPin has the updated libraries which enable the wireframes to be converted to hi-fi mock-ups. Also, you can create the designs in Photoshop and then transfer to UXPin for wireframing.

uxpin

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Fluid UI

It has 16 built in libraries and the pages can be created by dragging the elements from the libraries. This tool gives you an option to join the screens and creating the diagram to see how everything fits together. Other than that, to change the transitions, you can hover over the link.

fluidui

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Photoshop CC

Photoshop is an easy platform for designers who want everything straightforward and in place. Create an effective wireframe using the layers, groups, filters and other elements. Also, it is quite easy to draw or sketch out the ideas to implement them in the final results.

Photoshop CC

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Protoshare

This tool mainly focuses on sharing and collaboration and includes drag/drop elements, sitemap and custom CSS. Given its great prototyping features, this tool is worth consideration. Also, because of it emphasis on online collaboration, one cannot export it as a PDF.

protoshare

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Pencil Project

A great tool available for Linux, Windows, and Mac, Pencil Project is an open source and free wireframing tool. It supports external object import, multi page documents, aligning, scaling, rotation and z-ordering etc.

Pencil project

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Gliffy

A tool that allows you to carry on with online collaboration, Gliffy connects you via network diagrams, flowcharts with other team members. Features include version tracking, drag/drop components, image export and online collaboration.

gliffy

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FrameBox

A free online tool, Frame Box encourages simple wireframing. You can share the web page as a unique URL and also includes few drag and drop elements.

framebox

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Balsamiq mock-ups

Everything under balsamic mock-ups is styled as hand drawings. It also includes drag and drop elements ranging from buttons to the lists. It supports MAC, Windows and is designed to keep the mock-ups rough and low fidelity to cheer feedback.

balsamiq mockups

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Axure

Other than creating mock-ups, Axure gives you the edge over adding functionality to the layout. It helps you to know how the design will look and function after the final touch. For the websites and apps, you can create interactive mock-ups given the UI feature.

axure

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Visio

Visio relies on technical diagrams instead of wireframing. Visio is usually easy to use for those who are familiar with Microsoft suite i.e. Excel, Word or Access etc. Also, HTML prototype can be created and exported with it’s add on tools i.e. Swipr.

visio

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Check also how to design websites for children article.