I wanted an online tool to create simple and fast wireframe for iphone, ipad and web applications. I evaluated couple of online websites for this before subscribing a paid membership for one of them(mockflow). I know there are may desktop based wireframe tools. Most popular being MS Power Point, Word, Excel & visio for Windows and for Mac OS its keynote & Omnigraffle. There are also other regular hi-fidelity tools like Photoshop, Illustrator & Flash.
One funny thing i have noticed that some good wireframe sites (pidoco.com, hotgloo,) are extremely expensive and not meant for individuals. They cost something like $50/month to $600/month. They only intend to sell this to corporate and not to individuals.
Here are few that i tried personally.
1. MockFlow ($60/year) - Flash based. Has desktop flash tool that sync to web tool.
This is the one I have finally subscribed. Its excellent tool with predefined templates, a free template store, share your templates, etc. It has simple drag and drop shapes and icons to your design, export as png, pdf, ppt and view site map. Best part is collaboration with comments, whiteboard, version control, etc. You can even have a co-editor.
Cons - sometime its slow and the sync dosent happen. There are still many shapes needed. eg. there is no arrow. The zoom is just upto 100%, you cannot do detail works. The UI is little clumpy. There is no toolbar to directly click on action buttons. You have to go the menu click way.
Few features are -
- Simple usability focused to make wireframing easier
- Real-Time Design Collaboration with Team Chat
- Track project activities and get updates from your team members
- Pages can be applied with multiple (recursive) templates saving time
- Invite co-editors and reviewers for your Wireframe project
- Export your Mockup to image / PDF document / PowerPoint presentation
- Layout Builder for designing background layout designs
- WhiteBoard tool for drawing doodles on mockup
- Built-in Web Snap function for capturing webpages
- Unique Expose snapshot feature
- Compare pages function for A/B design testing
- Create, Visualize and export your Wireframe's SiteMap
- Get annotated feedback directly in the mockup
- Support for Revisions (real-time)
- Import additional Component libraries or create your own
- Never lose your work with the smart auto-recovery function
- Overlaid Graph and 960 grids are provided for layout
- You can apply your preferred Wireframe Font with one-click
- Self-serve License Manager - upgrade/downgrade team members in a click
2. Mockingbird (currently free) - no Flash., no desktop tool. Powered by Cappuccino
Its designed& developed by just two Indians working in US. Currently its free but they will start paid subscription. Its more easy and clean then mockflow.com . But its still in basic stage. No collaboration, no image uploads, no chat or comments, very limited shape library. Very slow development and updates. (I guess they are not fulltime company. Its parttime wrok). But its worth what they have done and competiting with big guys. Oh. there is no flash. Its a different framewrok like HTML5. It called as Cappuccino. Just google and check this. You can have multiple pages, add links, drag buttons and share just as link.
Cons - no collaboration team. very basic shapes, lot of limitations when designing. few export options. No options to make notes on the design. As i said, the feature addition is extremely slow.
3. iPlotz ($100 to $500/year) - Flash. Has desktop version too
This was was my favorite. But to buy its little expensive. It has all the worlds features - many shapes, direct access tool bar, export to many formats, Project management, collaboration and chats, version control, different UI styles (mac, windows, mobile). Many templates and online snippet store.
4. Gliffy ($5 to $800/month). Little expensive.
I liked this even. It has custom shape tool. You can draw any shape but it does not have multiple pages or projects. Its only one page. Its good for charts and diagrams. I hope they extend this for real wireframe with multiple pages per project.