The concept of prototyping has been there for a long time but it has gained enormous significance in the recent years. Prototype design and development is loved by all the stake holders as it gives the initial shape for the idea and enable the stakeholders to experience the product upfront and provide live feedback. We are listing out some of the best prototyping tools that designers can make use of in 2018.
Though there are many prototyping tools available UXPin is the only complete end-to-end design platform. It not only offers powerful prototyping but also various stages of designing like collaboration, documentation and designer handoff. Some of the advanced prototyping features included are animations, advanced micro-interactions, responsive breakpoints, etc. Designers can design directly on UXPin or import their designs from Sketch or Photoshop, though Illustrator is yet to be supported. UXPin integrates seamlessly with Slack, Jira and Github for collaboration. You can get access to their prototyping feature for as low as $30 per month for 3 users. The monthly cost of their complete design system with prototyping comes to 50$ per month.
Principle is a prototyping tool rich in animations and interactions. If your prototyping requires a lot of animation and videos then Principle will be a better choice. It has a novel timeline editor which resembles Adobe After Effects. Since it has 2 timelines it is possible to animate multiple objects on the same screen. Though it is one of the best animation tools it lacks other features like collaboration and designer handoff. It has an iOS app called as Principle mirror with which users can experience your prototype and offer live feedback.
If Principle is the go-to choice for animation prototyping, Flinto is the go-to tool for transitions. Flinto focuses primarily on creating highly customizable transitions. This is especially beneficial if your prototype requires navigating the users between multiple pages. Their proprietary transitions designer view enables you to create and edit transitions faster and easier. Like Principle, Flinto also suffers when it comes to collaboration and designer handoff. Editing transitions speed and live preview makes rapid prototyping possible. Though rich in transitions, Flinto fails to impress with animations.
Webflow is more of a website design and development tool where designers can design and publish responsive websites using Webflow’s hosting. It’s a complete package more suitable for freelance designers who would prefer to keep their design and hosting in one place. While the designers can focus only on designing the UI, Webflow takes care of the coding part and does a great job with it. It’s a single platform for both designing and hosting which makes it a preferred choice for independent designers. It is also possible to edit live websites using their photoshop-esque interface.
Adobe XD came out of its Beta release only in October 2017 but it is already competing with the likes of Sketch. Adobe XD is a full-fledged prototyping tool and the youngest from Creative Cloud family that is already challenging Sketch. Adobe XD clearly scores better when it comes to interactive prototyping. Similar to UXPin Adobe XD also has developer handoff built in which saves a lot of time. It also has a better collaboration as it smoothly integrates with Dropbox, zeplin, avocode, ProtoPie, etc.
This is the most preferred UI prototyping tool for beginners. It is a platform which is suitable for young designers who want to try their hands in UI and UX. Since the interface is intuitive and simple, there is no learning curve involved. Anyone with basic technology skills can start prototyping with Marvel. It is also equally equipped with features for advanced UX designers with easy integration with both Photoshop and Sketch. Designers can design directly in Marvel or import their designs from Photoshop or Sketch. It is well integrated with popular cloud storage services like Google drive, Dropbox, etc. Being a tool for beginners Marvel is also good in collaboration and designer handoff.