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Top 4 Prototyping Tools for Mobile App Development

Allthia SimAugust 3, 2022
Top 4 Prototyping Tools for Mobile App Development

Mobile apps are big business, especially for companies new to the app development world. However, high prices and high uncertainty levels are bad for any business. For inexperienced companies, mobile app development can often become cumbersome, with the eventual cost far exceeding the initial budget, costing developers and business owners alike.

On the other hand, trying to implement shortcuts can lead to fatal errors such as crashes, confusing user interfaces, or inadequate security - problems that lead to high user abandonment rates.

This is why mobile app prototyping is essential in visualizing how an application should work by demonstrating user flow and describing functional design and layout. Of course, a prototype will have flaws; however, a prototype can make these mistakes in the early stages of a project.

There are countless mobile app prototyping methods, but in mobile app development, a prototype usually starts with sketches or a paper interface that evolves into an interactive mockup like the final product. The purpose of prototypes is to communicate the design and navigational flow of the product to maximize development efficiency with the help of an app interface design application or prototyping tool.

So in this article, we will briefly discuss 4 popular mobile app prototyping tools widely used by professionals across the industry.

1. Figma

Website: https://www.figma.com/ 

You may have heard a prominent term, "Figma," for designing your application. Figma app design is a widely recognizable phrase for a top app developer. Specifically, Figma is browser-powered prototyping and interface design application. Figma variants can streamline your UI design process by allowing you to group and organize similar elements in a single container. In addition, it has an optional shared code generation and vector prototyping engine that provides key functionality for collaborative team design projects.

What makes Figma one of the top-tier prototyping tools is the all-in-one accessibility and collaboration, which comes in handy for UX designers, developers, and anyone else on a cloud-hosted, browser-based team. For example, to keep the design consistent, you can use Figma's flexible styles to control the appearance of text, grids, and other elements in a project. And many useful plugins like Autoflow for illustrating user flows, creating animations, and many more enhance Figma's functionality as a mobile app prototyping tool even further.

2. Balsamiq

Website: https://balsamiq.com/ 

Balsamiq makes it easy to drag and position different elements, giving designers a whiteboard-like experience. With a sleek user interface and minimalist charm, Balsamiq allows designers to quickly develop prototypes and wireframes for clients. This tool can be used to test and showcase your work, but the basic idea is not to look or function like a final product. Instead, it aims to show work in progress, concepts, or wireframes at an early stage.

One of the main attractions of Balsamiq is the speed of prototyping that allows UX designers to sketch out concepts quickly. It is a graphical tool that comes in handy in almost any situation - mobile apps, websites, desktop apps, and user interfaces. A hosted web app makes Balsamiq a more community-focused space than many wireframing tools. You can find inspiration or advice on their active community pages.

Another huge benefit of Balsamiq is its iteration and release management tools, which help users to save wireframes for release and easily track UI changes. This allows designers to stay updated, change, and modify their designs without interruptions.

3. Framer

Website: https://www.framer.com/ 

A framer is another brilliant application mockup and prototyping tool that allows you to create interactive designs for your website or mobile app. Then you can also prototype the design so you have a good idea of ​​how it will work later. Create the best designs with Framer's endless elements and possibilities imitate actions like what happens when someone presses a button, and easily share your prototype link with colleagues so they can check it too.

Framer has built-in support for importing Sketch files as well as Photoshop, which means you can build your user interface on any of your favorite software and then export all those files and layers inside Framer without too much trouble. Also, one of the best aspects of this cross-product sync support is what I like because here, you can make changes or adjustments to your item design and all you have to do is sync the latest changes to the Framer project. All the changes that have been made to the plan also appear in the designer's Framer window. It also contains many built-in interactive components that designers can use to prototype without writing a single line of code.

4. Zeplin

Website: https://zeplin.io/ 

Last but not least, we have another great mobile design tool on this list- Zeplin. It is not strictly a design-focused tool but instead focused on collaboration between the development and design teams. In other words, Zeplin's mission is to bring together different teams with different mindsets. Zeplin is a tool designer can use to create smoother collaboration around design artifacts.

Users can quickly export the artboards to Zeplin via a Sketch plugin. It can also be used to store exported icons and images and maintain a simple style library. It even has extensions to export code snippets in CSS, HTML, React Native, and other languages.

One of the main advantages of using Zeplin is that users don't usually need a Sketch license for each team member. So Zeplin can be an efficient and economical design prototype tool, especially if your group is large. So while Zeplin isn't free for large teams, it's more cost-effective than removing multiple Sketch licenses.

Last Words

Understanding how to build apps and launch prototypes for your mobile apps can help differentiate your business or startup brand from others and give you a competitive edge in the world. To achieve that, you have to introduce your app to potential investors. Then, the mobile app prototype shows how the product will work. We hope the list of 4 all-inclusive mobile app prototyping software in this discussion will help you choose the most suited tool for your team and your project.

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