3+1 prototype tools that will help you gain a competitive edge

December 7, 2023
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Prototyping is an exciting and essential part of the Product Design process: using the right prototype tools allows you to test ideas, shape your design around user needs, and build a product that will convert exactly like you planned!

Easier said than done? 

Well, navigating through today’s labyrinth of digital prototyping tools, not knowing which one will lead you to success is a tough row to hoe. Below, we’ve listed our favorites that will ensure a frustration-free experience and help you enter the development phase with confidence!

Top 3 prototype tools to avoid costly redos (+1 AI tool you’ll love!)

Whether you're aiming for sleek static designs or pushing the limits with high-fidelity prototypes, let’s dive into some of the top digital prototype tools to consider if you want to boost your chances of success!

1. Figma

Figma definitely rocks the scene with its lean and simple UI – a walk in the park to navigate even for newbies!

Figma prototype tool
Source: figma.com

No matter if you need to whip up a mobile app prototype or a web prototype, Figma's got your back. From initial design sparks to seamless handoffs to developers, this prototype tool lets you create it all – UI/UX designs, wireframes, prototypes, and streamlined design systems.

Its intuitive, drag-and-drop editor offers pre-added interactions, animations, advanced transitions, and dynamic overlay options to display critical interactions like scrolling, button tap, or swipe. It even allows you to use advanced prototyping features like conditional logic, mathematical expressions, and variables to create even richer experiences with fewer frames. 

Collecting feedback is a breeze as well: embedded commenting allows you to capture valuable insights directly in your prototype design to keep everything in one place.

And the cherry on top? It's free to get started!

2. Sketch

Without doubt, Sketch continues to be the number one pick among macOS users. Geared towards vector-based design, it's one of the best prototype tools for UI/UX designers to create interactive web or mobile app prototypes.

Sketch prototype tool
Source: sketch.com

Sketch is available as a native Mac app and a web app for greater accessibility. There's an iOS app too, perfect for testing your prototypes on Apple devices. 

You can drag and drop files into the canvas to import them to Sketch for building vector-based artboards. Just like Figma, it allows you to add layers to the artboards for designing hi-fi prototypes using links and hotspots. 

Once ready, you can easily integrate with other apps like Maze, Flow, and Droplr for user testing and smooth developer handoffs.

After a 30-day trial run, prices start at just $10 per editor per month when billed annually.

3. Marvel

Marvel helps Product Managers create impressive prototypes in minutes. 

Its collaborative platform features built-in mockup and wireframing capabilities that enable you to go from idea to MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in no time.

This web-based prototype tool allows you to create dazzling wireframes and high-fidelity prototypes without any coding. Just drag and drop your screens and layouts – whether they're in JPGs, PNGs, or GIFs – onto the Marvel canvas, and watch the magic happen.

Experiment by adding transitions, interactions, and gestures to sculpt prototypes for multiple screens, such as desktop, iPad, Apple TV, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Android devices.

Testing the mobile app prototype or web prototype doesn’t require any effort either: you can preview your new digital wonder on any device with a shareable link and use its built-in user testing tools to validate it.

Similarly to the above-mentioned prototype tools, you can get started for free. Once you're hooked (because, trust us, you’ll be), you can snag their paid plans starting at just $12/month billed annually, or request your special quote for larger teams.

Marvel app prototype tool
Source: marvelapp.com

+1 Uizard

Time is pressing, and you need to speed up your design process? 

Uizard will save your day! 

This powerful AI-powered design and prototype tool isn't just for designers – it's a wizard for everyone, working up top-notch web and app designs in the blink of an eye.

Sure, AI-based prototype tools will never be able to completely replace human emotions and the value that designers add. However, this cloud-based platform can help you zoom through routine tasks, spitting out wireframes from simple text descriptions and turning screenshots into editable designs!

It’s your partner in crime for automatic layout alignment and color palette generation as well. Oh, and did we mention it whips up a style guide too? That means your design will stay consistent across the board.

And if you’re stuck staring at a blank canvas, there’s no reason to panic, either: just take a quick look at Uizard’s library of design templates to kick-start your creativity and get ideas flowing!

Ending note

Prototyping is that magical bridge between imagination and reality, allowing you to validate your ideas through user testing before writing a single line of code. With the right prototype tools, you’ll have the power to iterate, refine, and release a product your customers crave!

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Györgyi Rapai-Csáki

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