The 10 Best Prototyping Tools For Startups
Designing a prototype isn't easy. It not only requires you to have a creative mind, but also some great prototyping tools to help you succeed. Here's a tightly curated list of the 10 best prototyping tools which will help you create any type of prototype you want.
POP - Prototyping on Paper
Marvel's POP iPhone and Android application is an upgraded version of paper prototyping. It's a freemium application which lets you transform your sketches (and digital creations) into an interactive prototype.
All you need to do is:
- Draw your app screens on paper
- Take pictures and link them together through POP 2.0
- Share and get feedback
Another great tool for paper prototyping, these UI stencils can help you develop a perfect looking paper prototype of your mobile application and websites.
InVision is one of the most popular and most reliable prototyping tools in the market. Just like POP, it lets you add static images, gestures, and animate and hotlink them to create an interactive prototype. But what makes this prototyping tool stand out is its best in class collaboration features. It lets the team:
- comment directly on the prototype
- update the draft on the cloud (everybody gets the update instantly)
- view previous versions
The projects can easily be synchronized with Dropbox, Creative Cloud, Google Drive, and Slack. Furthermore, the tool offer loads of other features using apps like 'craft'.
The USP of Webflow is that you don't need to have any coding skills to create a website prototype. The platform has a great visual based UI which lets you build, design, and even publish your entire website using few clicks.
Other benefits include automatic responsive design and animations which work on all browsers and devices.
Webflow is a freemium application which allows you to create 2 unhosted projects for free.
Origami studio is a completely free prototyping tool brought to you by the designers at Facebook. It's a great tool for anyone looking for quick and easy prototypes as it provides features like:
- Pre-loaded component library of basic patterns
- Gesture simulations
- Photoshop and Sketch document integration with layers intact
- Live testing on devices (Android & IOS)
- Capture and export video recordings of prototype
However, the prototype tool doesn't provide much team collaboration features like commenting and viewing previous versions.
Adobe XD is the latest entry in the prototype tools list and probably the most self sufficient one. Adobe XD is basic, yet a tool full of sufficient features required to develop a prototype for your application, website and more.
The best thing about this tools is its integration with creative cloud which connects it with Photoshop and Illustrator automatically and makes your work even more effortless. Moreover, the interface is seamless and the changes can be made to every version of the prototype simultaneously.
Axure RP is the among the most complicated yet most feature rich prototyping tools available in the market. Nevertheless, a user with no technical knowledge of coding can also use this tool to develop flowcharts, wireframes, mockups, user journeys, personas, idea boards, and more with conditional logic, dynamic content, animations, math functions, and data-driven interactions.
This tool is for the perfectionists who doesn't settle for anything other than the best. It offers a free trial for 30 days and have pro, team, and enterprise plans to choose from.
Lulzbot Mini 3D Printer
Lulzbot mini is a great 3D printer for beginners and intermediate users looking to create a perfect 3d prototype. What separates this 3d printer from others is its beginner-friendliness, yet the technical approach to creating 3d prototypes where the software lets you choose your level of complexity and control.
The printer has a basic interface for beginners where the users only need to adjust basic settings like temperature, speed, layer, etc. and an advanced interface for intermediates which gives users more granular control over printing parameters.
Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer
Monoprice Maker Select is one of the cheapest yet efficient 3d printer available in the market today. Despite being dirt cheap, this printer has an auto-levelling heated bed, a large 8x8 build plate with 7 inches vertical spacing,a MicroSD card with preinstalled models, and fully assembled structure which is ready to print.
The heated bed feature, which is usually found in printers costing over $1000, makes this printer stands out of the crowd. Moreover, the company also provides technical assistance on its website to its users.
We suggest this printer to anyone looking to create a small 3d prototype at minimal costs.
Principle is the Adobe After Effects or Flash of prototyping. It is a solid tool for animated prototypes.
Principle is a great tool to design animated user interfaces for web, desktop, and mobile. The prototyping tool features two timelines which lets you animate multiple objects on the same page and time. The tool's interface is also pretty easy to understand and has features to mirror (and test) your work on an iOS device.
Principle is a freemium tool which comes with a 14 day trial period.