Creating a full featured mobile app these days is usually a multi-layered process, bringing together designers, coders, and even project managers. To help manage all those layers, one asset all mobile app developers can benefit from these days are mobile app prototyping tools, which help you easily implement a workflow that puts all the parties involved on the same page.
With a good app prototyping tool, designers can quickly create wireframes and functional mockups of an app while developers chime in and request changes, all the while allowing the project manager to oversee the changes at each stage of the development.
In this post I’ll list 5 of my favorite mobile app prototyping tools based on price and functionality.
Fluid UI features an extensive wireframe and material design library for both iOS and the Web, letting you create a mockup of your app in record time. Real time collaboration tools let members on the team provide valuable input at each stage.
Whether you’re designing an Android or iOS app, Fluid UI is a cohesive, responsive platform to quickly prototype and test your mobile app ideas. The dedicated iOS and Android apps enables you to test run your app mockups as if there were on a mobile device.
- Free plan: 1 Project, 10 Pages, No Uploads
- $15/mon Solo Plan: 3 Projects Unlimited Pages and Uploads
- Pro and Team Plans Also Available
Invision lets you upload static UI images and quickly add transitions, gestures, and other app UI controls to create an prototype in a few minutes flat.
Many Project Managers praise inVision for its great collaboration tools and Project Management features that work similarly to Trelio. Create project screens that team members can easily follow and be instantly notified when changes are made.
- Free plan: 1 Prototype
- $15/mon Starter Plan: 3 Prototypes
- Professional and Team Plans Also Available
Mockplus is unique in our list of Prototype tools in that it’s a software you download, instead of a cloud based service. It features a full WYSIWYG canvas to drag and drop elements onto and quickly collaborate with team mates. Select from over 3,000 icons and nearly 200 components to quicken the design process.
Every design created using Mockplus comes with a QR code that you can scan with your mobile device to quickly preview it in that device. A nice feature.
- Free Download (basic features)
- $199/yr or $399 lifetime license for Mockplus Pro.
Similar to Invision in features, Marvel lets you rapidly prototype a mobile app, using images created in Photoshop or Sketch, or screens created directly in Marvel. Sync screens from a cloud storage as well. Add gestures and transitions to create a prototype that feels like a native iOS, Android, or even an Apple Watch app.
The enterprise versions of Marvel comes with the powerful “Handoff” feature, which lets you automatically turn app designs into specs to speed up development of the app for coders on the team.
- Free plan: 1 User Two Projects 0 Downloads
- $12/mon Pro Plan: Unlimited Projects and Downloads. Marvel Branding
- Company and Enterprise Plans available.
UXPin bills itself as the full stack design platform, and the breadth of its features reflects that. “UXPin Prototyping” lets you rapidly develop an app mockup using Photoshop or Sketch, with dozens of UI Libraries (ie: Bootstrap, Foundation) at your disposal to refine the end screen.
The UXPin System offering from UXPin adds powerful app development features in addition to prototyping, such as modular product development that resolves inconsistencies across devices and platforms. It also comes with a Handoff feature similar to Marvel Enterprise that generates specs and a style guide.
- UXPin Prototyping Plan: $29/month per User
- UXPin Systems Plan: $196/month for 4 Users
- Enterprise Plans available
Last but certainly not least, we arrive at Proto.io, a high fidelity tool to create mobile app prototypes that behave very much like the real thing. Import your designs from Photoshop or Sketch, or build each screen inside Proto using a variety of premade patterns and UI elements, such as “Pull to Refresh”, “Carousel”, “Motion UI” etc.
Once an app mockup is completed, Proto lets you preview your app easily on a mobile device using the Proto app for iOS and Android.
- $29/mon Freelancer Plan: 1 User, 5 Active Projects
- $49/mon Startup Plan: 2 Users, 10 Active Projects
- Agency and Corporate Plans available.
As mobile apps mature, the complexity and the number of app features in a typical app will only increase. A good prototyping and wireframing tool serves as the perfect liaison between everyone involved in the design and creation process of an app. Check out the above tools to make the process of creating an app easier on you and your entire team.