Before building any product, designers first produce a prototype (or a wireframe, as some call it) of how the real thing will look. As a website designer, you should also build a prototype of your website before finalizing the code and releasing the actual site on WestHost servers.
Check out these 5 wireframing tools for prototyping a website.
- Axure RP
- Balsamiq Mockups
Axure RP is a comprehensive piece of wireframe software that is being used by some of the best design companies around. It makes use of custom libraries, widgets and master documents for creating wireframes seamlessly. You can also use its annotating tools to insert descriptions whenever you wish. There is a free trial version you can use before purchasing the tool.
If you just want to try your website fast, and you do not care to have a very neat prototype, use Balasamiq Mockups. It has a variety of hand-drawn and pre-built objects that you can use as the building blocks of your website. This tool is built on Adobe AIR, so you cannot use it without installing this program first.
Using Mockingbird, you can easily turn your ideas into a mockup with just a few steps. It works very fast due to its many useful features such as the drag-and-drop feature that allows you to turn your thoughts into patterns almost instantly. You can also use it to link different makes up and evaluate how/if they complement one another.
Though still in its beta stage, HotGloo is proving to be very precise. Use it if you wish to have as true a representation of your final website as possible, without going all the way to develop it. In fact, you can even invite other users to check your design and input their comments to increase the accuracy of your development.
Omnigraffle is a wireframing tool built exclusively for Mac OS X. You can use it both for simple and complex diagrams, charts, illustrations and many other features you might wish to create for your prototype. It also features a drag-and-drop feature. It is roughly similar to Microsoft Visio.
Any others you use and love? Please share in the comments.