Gone are the days when app development used to be a tedious job. Now, with the help of so many readily available tools, you can easily create all kinds of apps in a jiffy. If you ask any professional app developer, they will let you know how vital prototyping tools have come. Ideally, with the help of a resourceful prototyping tool, you can have a hassle-free app development experience. Therefore, in this guide, I have handpicked the 5 best prototyping solutions that could become effective app development tools for you.
Part 1: What’s the Need of Prototyping for App Development?
To understand the use of a prototyping tool in app development, let’s have a look at its overall process. Ideally, we first start with a basic idea for the app and try to define it by considering its specifications. Keeping the design elements in mind, we create a basic wireframe that leads to its working prototype.
Source: Smashing Magazine
A prototype is considered as the foundation of your app’s design that defines its working and overall structure. By reworking the prototype, you can achieve app development and its final version.
- A prototype is used by app developers to define the concept and the scope of the solution.
- It provides a foundation of the design, letting us rework the prototype instead of the final product.
- By making changes in the prototype, you can drastically save your time and resources.
- It can also help in collaboration, sharing ideas, and working together with your team for the app development process.
- With the help of a clickable prototype, you can easily pitch your investors and consider it as a proof of concept.
Part 2: What Kind of Prototype Tool is Best for App Development?
With one search on the web, you can explore tons of prototyping tools with similar features. Though, if you are looking for an app development tool that can help you in the long run, then consider the following things in mind.
- Mobile perspective
At first, make sure that the prototyping app would let you create app designs for smartphones and let you preview them for major iPhone/Android models.
- Clickable and dynamic results
If you want to get better results, then consider picking an app development tool that would create high-fidelity prototypes. This would let you use your dynamic prototypes for client pitching and marketing.
- Exporting Options
Also, it is always recommended to pick a prototyping app that can directly export the codes in APK or Swift format that you can readily send for app development.
- Cloud-based multi-platform support
While exploring all the prototyping tools, make sure you choose a solution that has integrated cloud-based technology. This would automatically make your prototypes accessible for different platforms and will help you collaborate with your team as well.
- Ease of use and accessibility
The prototyping tool that you are interested in must be accessible and run smoothly on your preferred platform. Also, try to pick a tool that is intuitive and has no learning curve, letting you create prototypes without coding.
- Other things to look for
Besides that, you can also look for the dynamic libraries and templates that are available in the tool. Try to pick a prototyping tool with a reliable presence in the market that has a positive reputation in the industry.
Part 3: The 5 Best Prototyping Tools for App Development
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a professional app developer, with the help of the following tools, you can easily make your job a whole lot easier.
From an extensive collection of rich templates to a smooth design, Wondershare Mockitt must be the best prototyping tool of the present time. The application can be used on your desktop or web to create stunning wireframes, prototypes, mockups, and more.
- Users can select a target perspective for the smartphone, web, or any other device for which they wish to design the app.
- There is an extensive collection of professionally designed libraries and templates that you can reuse and customize for the designing process of app development.
- Mockitt has been integrated with Olympic Games Cloud services, letting you collaborate with your team and even assign different roles.
- Without the need for writing codes, you can create dynamic and clickable prototypes of high-fidelity. You can even directly export your prototypes in CSS, APK, Swift, and other formats.
- Some other advanced features of Mockitt are Full Platform Adaptation, 128-bit SSL protection, custom libraries, instant sharing, and more.
- Available for free and runs smoothly on every leading platform.
- Since Mockitt has no learning curve, you can instantly start using it.
- It can maintain a dedicated version history of your projects for easy backtracking.
- The free version of Mockitt only supports up to 3 projects.
Runs on: Web, Windows, Mac, and Linux
Price: Free or $59 per year
- Adobe XD
Developed by Adobe, this is another popular prototyping tool that you can use on numerous platforms. Apart from app development, it can also be used for design thinking and to meet other UX designing needs.
- You can find special UI and UX designing kits for iOS and Android app development in Adobe XD.
- With its integration with Adobe Creative Cloud, you can easily collaborate with your team.
- You can import your designs from Photoshop, Illustrator, or Sketch and even export them to HTML or JPG.
- There is a wide range of dynamic widgets, links, and other elements, letting you work on a clickable prototype easily.
- It offers a wide range of automated designing options.
- Learning Adobe XD is easy.
- Limited exporting options for CSS, APK, and other formats.
- Users still can’t create customized shapes on the native interface.
Runs on: Web, Windows, and Mac
Pricing: $9.99 per month
- Axure RP
If you are looking for a more professional application for prototype and app development, then you can also explore Axure RP. The app development tool might take a while to master, but it has some of the most advanced options to meet your prototyping needs.
- There is a wide range of libraries having numerous readymade widgets and other vectors that you can reuse and customize.
- With its Connector Mode, you can easily create a clickable prototype and even work on dynamic elements.
- The application would provide an optimized adaptive view of your prototypes for the web and mobile applications.
- Some other smart features of Azure and Conditional Logic Supports, Sketch plugin, Animation Effects, SVG import, and more.
- It offers some of the most advanced designing options.
- Code Export option to directly send your apps for development.
- The company offers its Azure Cloud service, which is extremely secure.
- Learning Azure RP can be tough compared to other tools.
- Azure RP is a bit overpriced as well.
Runs on: Web, Windows, and Mac
Pricing: $25 per user monthly
Protopie is a user-friendly and lightweight application that can help you create prototypes for almost every platform.
- Without writing any code, you can create an entire prototype for your apps and can directly send it for app development.
- You can directly import projects from Figma, Sketch, or Adobe XD using their dedicated plugins.
- With its shareable options, you can collaborate with your team and can direct export designs in different formats.
- App developers can use its dynamic widgets to create high-fidelity clickable prototypes.
- Lightweight and extremely user friendly
- Cloud-based support and several plugins available
- There are limited features (like no SVG support)
- You can’t readily generate CSS codes.
Runs on: Web, Windows, and Mac
Pricing: $11 per month
Lastly, Proto.io can also be used as a prototype and app development tool to meet your requirements. It is available for almost every platform and would let you create lightweight prototypes on the go.
- There are thousands of readily available shapes and vectors that you can import to create all kinds of designs.
- With its clickable elements, you can also link different pages of your apps to improve their fidelity.
- There are several rapid prototyping features, letting you create instant designs by reusing any template.
- An instant preview of your apps can be obtained, and you can even share it with others for seamless collaboration.
- There are more than 1000 templates and 6000 design assets in the tool.
- Overall, it is easy to use Proto.io and its interface.
- There are limited options for app development (like the handoff of codes).
- The tool is expensive compared to other options.
Runs on: Web
Pricing: $24 per month (per user)
I’m sure that after reading this guide, you would be able to pick the best prototyping tool for app development. If you want to use the most resourceful app development tool, then I would recommend using Wondershare Mockitt. Being one of the simplest and most useful applications, it can be used on numerous platforms and offers a wide range of features. The tool is already used by professional app developers and you can also give it a try for free!