Prototyping describes the development of tangible and early models of ideas that can be tested with the client. We present a list of the nine most used methods for creating and testing prototypes.
Below you will find a collection of tools with different functionalities for the design of interfaces or UI, creation of interactive prototypes and generators of technical specifications that, as of the publication of this post, allow you to have a free account without expiration. It should be noted that, to use some of the advanced functions that these tools include, it will be necessary to go through the checkout.
1. Adobe XD
Adobe XD is a powerful application prototyping and UI design and user experience design tool created by the world leader in creative technologies. With XD, you can quickly go from designing functional diagrams and sketches to static user interfaces and interactive prototypes that simulate a user experience, using a single tool for the entire design process. Streamline your design process by connecting artboards with a single click, to define user flows, add transitions and animations, and define micro-interactions for all types of user input, such as touch, drag, voice commands, keyboard shortcuts and much more . You can also prototype with user interface elements from your design system.
Adobe XD prototyping tools let you turn functional diagrams, sketches, and user interface designs into interactive, real-time user experiences, so you can quickly simulate user flows, get feedback, and iterate, whether you’re working on a sketch. Drag lines between artboards to add micro-interactions that simulate how an experience will change based on a user’s actions. Define transitions and overlays, and create smooth animations as users navigate your experience.
If you are creating sketches, functional diagrams, or user interface designs for websites, mobile apps, voice user interfaces, games, or any other type of experience, you can use Adobe XD as your prototyping tool. Adobe XD allows you to set triggers for each interaction based on the contributions of your users. It supports triggers such as tapping, dragging, voice commands, keyboard shortcuts, and game controller input, or you can trigger a transition after a certain period of time for items such as start-up flows and loading screens.
Allows prototyping and interaction design. It is a vector-based tool for web and mobile applications. It also allows you to create the layout and interaction for applications. After the realization of the prototype and the Wireframes, it allows to be shared with the rest of the teams to obtain the technical specifications for Frontend development. Adobe XD has numerous Plugins developed to improve its use. An interesting feature is that it allows testing with users by recording how the test participants interact with the prototype.
It is intended for interface design (UI) creation and prototyping . Like Adobe XD, Figma allows them to be shared very easily, which greatly encourages collaboration between teams and receiving feedback or reports. This tool is one step away from becoming my favourite tool although I currently work with Adobe XD.
3. In vision
Well known in the world of UX or User Experience and interface design . Invision is the platform used by large companies such as Airbnb or Amazon. It allows you to create interactive prototypes and share them with the rest of the people who make up the team or other teams that participate in the development of the product. Apart from including the possibility of animating Wireframes created for example in Sketch or Adobe XD , it has a really useful digital whiteboard for collaborative work.
Invision, also allows app developers to obtain certain specifications about the design as well as the Assets or resources.
Axure is usual to design directly without previously carrying out an analysis where the needs and improvements that must be included are detected. Many times, people work in this way due to lack of time, the lack of a department or trained profiles, or because the very important work carried out by a UX / UI designer is not recognized. However, whatever the reason, we must try to put into practice the phase prior to the final design, even if it is only to draw up a few sketches to collect the navigation, structure and content of the website or web application.
This step, from a sketch on paper to the digital medium, allows you to make wireframes, so important to detect requirements that they provide a great improvement, in order to generate a good user experience. I have tried various tools, such as Justin mind or Sketch , but I stick with Axure . These software are not free, some have a free version, which allows you to extend the license, and others require purchase, as is the case with Axure.
No matter which tool you decide to use, remember to choose the one that is most comfortable for you to use and best for you. If you have any experience with the tools mentioned above that can help users make choices, please leave a message below. I hope this article can help you gain more insight and make professional choices when you need to choose tools. Of course, which tool to choose depends on you, what your needs are, which tool is most suitable for your workflow, whether there are computer system requirements and so on. Hope this brief summary can help you narrow down your choices.
These App prototyping tools have their own unique advantages and are suitable for different needs. There is no best tool, only the most suitable. Through the analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each tool, I think you should know which tool you need. Prototyping begins with approximate, rapid, and cost-effective models early in a design process or design thinking project and evolve in iterative loops to higher precision models that are more complex, detailed, and expensive. The presented methods provide a valuable early understanding of target audiences and can be used to test ideas and assumptions, to gain a sensitive understanding of users, or to help the project team select competing ideas.