Tools for Software Prototyping

This page shall give you an overview of tools to support the development of UI prototypes, Landing Pages as well as functional prototypes in Business Design projects. We also show the example usage of most interesting ones.

1. Example Tools 

We have been using the following tools to design and build software prototypes in Business Design projects:

Tool

Comment

Pen & paper

In many cases the best tool to get started!  NO CODING

UIStencils

Haptic tools and templates to draw user interfaces for web or mobile applications  NO CODING

Entrepreneur’s
Wireframe Kit

Easy to use PowerPoint / Keynote template to design wireframes and user flows  NO CODING

Keynotopia

UI templates for PowerPoint / Keynote  NO CODING

Axure RP

Powerful software for creating interactive wireframes for Mac and PC  NO CODING

Adobe XD

Similar to Axure RP but fully integrated into the Adobe Creative Suite NO CODING

MarvelApp

Browser-based tool to quickly develop click-dummies (web and mobile) and share them with others NO CODING OH FAVORITE

Sketch

Software for MacOS to build high fidelity prototypes for web and mobile  NO CODINGOH FAVORITE

Protoshare

Cloud service to create interactive click dummies and wireframes for web pages and mobile applications  NO CODING

Balsamiq

Similar to Protoshare, however, this software generates user interfaces in the scribble look  NO CODING

Bootstrap

Intuitive front-end framework for web development

Semantic UI

Similar to Bootstrap but with more ready-to-use UI elements

gohugo.io

Generic framework for developing and statically rendering HTML websites

Proto.io

Prototyping software for Android and Apple iOS

Clutch.io

A/B testing software for mobile applications (iOS and Android)

Fuse

UX tool for App Designer with possibilities for real-time updates. Cool!

FramerX

Software prototyping tool for a variety of devices (mobile or desktop)

Paper.js

Software library for vector graphics in the browser

Raphael.js

Similar to Paper.js

OpenCV

Graphics library for different platforms. We love it!

Ionic

Framework for the development of cross-platform mobile apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript OH FAVORITE

Laravel

PHP-Framewok to quickly develop web-based server systems OH FAVORITE

Ruby on Rails

Ruby-Framewok to quickly develop web-based server systems

Node.js

Event-driven I/O server to quickly develop sophisticated server systems (JavaScript) OH FAVORITE

and much more

This list is far from complete and is just a short summary with a focus on UI prototypes and mobile / web applications. Make up your own mind and use a tool which fits your need. 

2. Example Resources 

If you don't want to start from scratch there are a lot of resources available which will help you to start building prototypes very quickly:

Ressource

Comment

Sketch App Resources

Free resource collection which is a great first starting point to kick-start your prototypes 

Themeforest

Huge resource list of ready to use web templates (landing- and application pages) 

3. Example Usage

Pen & paper 

Especially for UI prototypes, pen & paper is in many cases the best tool to get started. Pads with a device frame help you to consider space constraints. Due to its low fidelity, pen & paper prototypes are a great way to force your team and stakeholders to focus on core elements rather than on choosing the right color or design elements. And the best part: You can easily change and adapt them - even during discussions.,

Pen & paper sketch

Sketch 

If you need high fidelity prototypes, e.g. mockups, Sketch is a great tool to work on more detailed UI concepts. Downloadable UI-Kits can help you to start right away with designing your web applications and mobile apps. High fidelity prototypes are best suited for detailed discussions and feedback about user experience and look & feel. Has nice integrations (e.g. MarvelApp) and a huge ecosystem (e.g. https://www.sketchappsources.com).

Screenshot Sketch App

Ionic 

With Ionic you are able to build interactive high fidelity prototypes of mobile apps. Ionic ships with a lot of UI components and even with an online drag-&-drop tool to build UIs without programming a single line of code. If you need more advanced  interactive components (click dummies), you should be familiar with web technologies (HTML, CSS and JavaScript). However, you don't need to learn native platform languages like Swift (iOS) or Java (Android).

Screenshot Ionic App

4. Q & A

  • I'm a little overwhelmed about all the possibilities I have. Which tool should I use? Don't focus too much on picking the "right" tool. Pick one you are comfortable with. Our prototyping engineers are familiar with many prototyping tools and the specific nature of Business Design processes. They can help you to build prototypes in a couple of hours - not days!

  • Which tools can we use in synchronous work sessions to create a common understanding? It's not very likely that UI prototyping will happen during actual workshops at the level of a realisation in tools like Sketch or Ionic. We usually use pen & paper in these sessions to create drafts that later can be turned into a more advanced prototype with a higher fidelity using support of a tool. It is not important to push teams to use a tool right from the beginning (other than pen & paper) if they are not already familiar with the usage. To speed up the process, you can ask our prototyping engineers for support.