by anthony on 06/17/14 at 9:56 am
What’s the best tool for wireframing? This is a common question among designers. It’s hard to answer because each designer has different needs. What makes it harder is that there are too many tools to choose from. Understanding your workflow is the first step in finding the best tool that works for you.
Vector is a Must Because Design is an Iterative Process
Design is an iterative process that needs constant tweaking and fine-tuning. Vector tools allow you to make changes to your design at a fast speed with minimal effort. Just by clicking on an element you can resize or restyle it. You can even make changes to more than one object at the same time.
Raster tools (e.g. Photoshop) don’t give you as much efficiency. Making changes to an object takes many clicks and you can only do it one-by-one. Revisions happen often in wireframing. That’s why it’s important to use a vector tool, so that you can revise your wireframes on the fly.
Vector is a Must for Pixel-Perfection
Vector tools allow you to scale and zoom in on your graphics without losing pixel quality. Doing this with a raster tool will give you pixelated bitmap images. The blurriness will make it hard to view your designs the way you intended.
Raster tools don’t allow you to export your graphics in vector format. This means they’ll only look crisp in certain resolutions. If you enlarge a bitmap image, it’ll look blurry because it doesn’t have enough pixels. But if you enlarge a vector image, it’ll stay crisp and clear at any resolution.
Top 3 Tools for Wireframe-Only Designers
Are you a wireframe-only designer, or do you also design visual mockups? If all you do is wireframe, you don’t need a tool that’s heavy in graphical editing. A basic web-based wireframing tool should suit your needs.
These tools won’t let you create stunning graphics, but they’re enough to make wireframes. What sets these tools apart are their smart guides, pattern libraries, grids and pages feature.
Top 3 Tools for the Complete Designer
A basic web-based wireframing tool isn’t enough for the complete designer. Complete designers who design both wireframes and visual mockups need a tool more advanced. These tools allow them to add dynamic color, typography, gradients and shadows to objects.
Not only that, but they offer more wireframing features that web-based tools don’t have. These include custom symbols, layer styles, export slices and precise pixel alignment. When it comes to creating wireframes and visual mockups, these tools are a cut above the rest.
A tool can’t help you make better design decisions. The purpose of wireframing is to find the best order, structure and layout for your content. That comes from wireframing in an iterative process. Vector tools help you do that faster and easier. Designers may have different needs, but one thing they all need in a tool is for it to support their workflow. The best tool is the one that supports yours.