- Whether you want to design a mobile app, desktop software, or a website, UI Mockups give you the first visuals of your future projects.
- Pick the best wireframing and UI design tool among today's top software options, reviewed in our guide below.
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Whether you want to design a mobile app, Desktop software or simply trying to design a website, by creating UI Mockups, you can get the first visuals of your future projects and also present the design idea to the client in a better way.
Creating UI Mockups is different than Wireframing. Wireframing is like creating a blueprint for your house or engineering project whereas creating a Mockup is coming up with the actual creative design (final looks) of the house for the clients.
Having access to a handy Mockup tool helps you in the UI designing phase and also speeds up the whole process.
There is no dearth of UI Mockup tools; however, with so many options to choose from, it can get confusing as to which is the one you should start using first.
Whether you are a professional looking to add more powerful tools to his current arsenal or a beginner trying his hands at Mockup designing for the first time, this guide will introduce you to some of the best tools to create UI Mockups today.
From wireframes and UI mockups to interactive prototypes, there is nothing you can’t design with Adobe XD. The best part is that it’s absolutely free of charge and suitable for professionals as well as novices: you can craft interactive prototypes without writing a single line of code.
This prototyping tool will allow you to streamline your design process by validating usability, simulating user flows, and obtaining feedback quickly.
Taking input from your users into account, XD lets you set triggers for each interaction such as tap, drag, voice commands, keyboard shortcuts, or even onboarding flows and loading screens.
XD goes beyond transitions and overlays allowing you to create slick menus with toggle, navigation, scrolling, and sliding interactions.
Let’s quickly look at its key features:
- Strong prototyping tools and features for UI designs and interactive prototypes
- Collaboration and sharing features (wide range of triggers to simulate user flow and easily publish your prototypes to the web)
- Auto-Animate feature (to create complex animations with transition effects and more)
- Previews available on desktop, iOS, and Android
- Record MP4 files to share
- Export to After Effects (to further refine your animations)
- Optimized for quick feedback (to generate shareable links and get feedback from reviewers in real-time through comments made directly on your prototypes)
- Fully compatible Mac and Windows
- Price – Free limited / Premium $19 monthly plan – $14 per user-per month yearly plan
MockFlow is a premium cloud-based solution that offers Wireframe, Prototyping, and UI Mockup tools for individuals and organizations. It comes in both free and premium plans and can be used on your PC as well.
The pricing is divided between yearly and monthly plans. When compared to yearly plans, the monthly plans are not only expensive but also misses out on some features.
On annual plans, you not only get a fair discount but also get a 3-month free service, offline access, and power-ups.
To use the tool, you need to signup with a free account. The free accounts allow you to create one project in each app, two reviewers per project, a limited selection of apps, and no support.
However, the free account gives a fair idea about the usability of MockFlow.
MockFlow offers offline access on Windows and Mac OS running computers. The MockFlow extensions allow you to use the tool with apps like Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, Google Docs, Slack, JIRA, and more.
MockFlow has six basic functions namely WireFrame and UI Mockups, Sitemap, StyleGuide, DesignCollab, Annotate Pro, and Website Pro. To create UI Mockups use the first WireFrame option from the dashboard and click on the + icon.
The editing dashboard is divided between 6 tabs as well.
From the Element tab, you can drag and drop pre-designed objects like Mobile frame, icons, background images, menu tabs, checkout options, and more or you can simply start from a blank page if you want to.
The objects are further customizable with a simple double-click. You can group multiple elements together for easier movement and scaling of UI.
Other tabs in the editor are Pages, to create multiple pages for the same app, Images tab, Flow tab to add and check the status of the projects, Store and Power-UP tab to add more apps and templates.
MockFlow is an excellent multipurpose tool to create UI Mockups and more. However, the premium plans mean it is for serious users who can make use of at least half the feature it has on offer.
Ready to introduce your project to 3D technology? Check out these 10 best free 3D design software.
- Price – Free 30-days trial / Online version starts at $9 per month / Offline version starts at $89 perpetual license
Balsamiq is a modern cloud-based solution for UI designers and developers offering a fast, approachable, collaborative wireframing. If you prefer an offline solution, Balsamiq got it covered as well.
Balsamiq offers two versions of the tool, online and offline desktop app for Mac and Windows computers.
The offline version is an one-time purchase that costs $89 for a single user. The online version starts at $9 per month per user with space for two projects.
Fortunately, you can sign up for free and use the web app for 30 days free of charge with unlimited wireframes and unlimited users on offer.
Signing up for the free trial account is easy but requires the users to validate the email. Once done, begin by creating your space and give it a name. Then proceed with creating your first project.
The project editor has a very simple and user-friendly interface. All the properties are nicely spread on the toolbar. The pages or Wireframes are displayed on the left side and you can add multiple pages by clicking on the + icon on top.
You can begin by dragging and dropping a template to the editor or start from scratch using basic editing tools. Use the More Controls option to search for more templates and icons from the library.
From desktop applications and diagrams to hardware and layout UIs, Balsamiq library has everything you need to create a Mockup and Wireframes with ease.
To change the object properties, select the object, and the applicable options will be displayed on the right-side pane.
The developers can invite clients to make a presentation by sending a link through email. You can also add your team members to the project and assign a role to each team member.
In addition, Balsamiq also offers integration with business apps such as Google Drive, Confluence, and Jira. The UI design resources on the website are helpful for the experienced as well as newbie users.
Balsamiq is an excellent tool and with offline and online software suite it is undoubtedly one of the best in the business. Combine that with free 30 days free trial, and you get enough time to assess the tool before making a purchase.
- Price – Free trial / $59 a year Individual license / $199 perpetual license / Team plan starts at $299 per year
For those looking for a flexible tool to create mockups and prototyping for every screen size and platform, MockPlus is a good choice. It is an offline application and is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
MockPlus is used by some of the leading names in the tech industry including Microsoft and IBM. There is a 7-days free trial to try the tool before making a purchase.
The user interface of MockPlus is well laid out and looks modern. It offers a good amount of space and does not clutter the workspace with unnecessary tools. It also has a multi-window option to use the software in multiple windows for better productivity.
You can easily build interactive prototypes by simply dragging and dropping pre-designed components to the editor.
The library comes equipped with over 3000 icons and nearly 200 pre-designed components to get you started all supporting drag-and-drop functionality.
The prototypes can be tested instantly using the QR code generated by the app. In addition, the projects can be published on the web to get comments from clients and team members by sharing a web link to the prototype.
MockPlus excels at what it does, and the features and functions of this prototyping software make it an ideal tool for UI and UX designers irrespective of their expertise.
- Price – Free trial / Starts at $19 per month – Personal plan
It is a premium tool with personal and team accounts. The free trial requires you to register an account and offers 5MB of storage with one project limited to 300 objects.
The user interface is similar to MockFlow, but the tools and layout are different. After creating a new project you can drag and drop elements from the Stencil tab.
You can add more pages to the project, customize outlines, create templates, upload and add images, browse from the vast library of icons, and add comments to the project.
The objects can be edited to resize, rotate, align, and style. The grouping feature makes it easy to group together multiple objects for easier movement.
Once the Mockup is ready, you can export to Google Drive, Dropbox, or your computer’s local drive-in PNG, PDF, or HTML format.
Moqups is an easy to use tool for wireframing and to create diagrams and mockups in no time. Signup for the free account and take the tool for a spin to see if it is something that meets your requirement.
Whether you are a professional UI designer or just a beginner, knowing what tools to use to create UI Mockups is important.
UX/UI designer looking for feature-rich Mockup tools should try all of the above-recommended tools since they all offer a free trial or basic free account without any limitations to get you started.
You can spend some time with each of these tools before deciding on the one that checks the most boxes in your must-have list.
Do let us know your favorite mockup and wireframing software or if you think we have excluded a worthy alternative in this list, share it with us in the comments below.
FAQ: Learn more about UI mockups and design
- What are UI mockups?
UI mockups act as the first visuals of future projects ranging from simplistic screen layouts to semi-functional interfaces that simulate user flows and functionality interactions for testing as well as presentation purposes.
- Is Adobe XD good for Web design?
Adobe XD is the industry’s leading software for wireframing, UI mockups, and interactive prototyping. It provides a comprehensive toolset for Web design (including anything from web pages, apps, and mockups) and a user-friendly interface at the same time.
- What programs do UI Designers use?
Adobe and Balsamiq are currently the most popular choices for UI and UX design among professionals and beginners alike.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.