The best wireframe tools enable you to nail the design of your website or app right from the outset. By getting all stakeholders to agree on how your UI will function, buy-in gets baked in, early on. And that's vital for streamlining your process, and preventing wrong turns and reversals along the way.
Some of the best wireframe tools made specifically made with wireframing in mind. Which of these you choose largely depends on whether you’re looking to create something quick and rough, or something closer to a fully functioning prototype.
On the other side of the coin, some people don’t want the fuss of exporting their designs from a dedicated wireframing app to a full design app. Instead, they prefer to build their wireframes within general-purpose design software, so they can develop everything on one platform from start to finish. (Remember, you can develop a site with minimum fuss using a website builder.)
We've got recommendations in both camps. We've narrowed it down to 10 of the best wireframing tools out there. For more handy tools, see our web design tools roundup, this list of top UI design tools or our best laptops for programming.
The best wireframe tools
UXPin is a dedicated wireframing tool that has a beautifully intuitive interface, with clear icons, and a solid library of UI elements you can drag and drop into your wireframes, as well as components for Bootstrap, Foundation, iOS and Android. You can import and export files to Sketch and Photoshop, which gives you the option to develop your wireframes into full prototypes further on down the line.
There also some great collaboration features for working on your wireframes with others, and top-notch live presentation tools for showing off your designs to stakeholders. Easy to pick up for beginners, and packed with advanced tools for the more experienced, UXPin is our best wireframe tool overall.
Launched as a direct competitor to Sketch, Adobe XD is a vector-based design tool that’s available for both Mac and Windows. It’s fully interoperable with other Adobe tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as services such as Adobe Fonts and Adobe Stock. And it’s strongly focused on making the process of sketching wireframes easy for designers; from creating site maps, flowcharts and storyboards to building functional prototypes.
Notable features include a ‘Repeat Grid’ for fast designing, auto-animation, voice triggers and strong collaboration tools. You can try Adobe XD out for free, but you need a Creative Cloud subscription to access the full range of features.
Axure allows you not only to create low-fi wireframes, but to add extra functionality and build high-fidelity ones too. You can use it to craft interactive HTML mockups for both websites and apps, and view your app design on your phone with a built-in share function.
Used by organisations including Microsoft, Amazon and the BBC, this software includes symbol override features, a developer inspect mode, animation effects, cloud storage and sharing, CSS exporting and documentation. A great choice for experienced UX professionals looking to hand off their designs to developers.
Balsamiq Mockups makes it very easy to pick up and start creating wireframes, even if you have no previous experience. We’d recommend it for anyone looking to put to get together a quick and low-fi wireframe, as opposed to a polished prototype.
The software features several drag-and-drop elements, from buttons to lists, each styled as a hand-drawing, and you can see what your wireframe will look like across various screen sizes. With collaboration tools and user testing nicely integrated, this is a great choice for both non-techies and lean UX teams.
While Sketch isn’t available for Windows, if you’re a Mac user it’s definitely worth considering. Since its launch in 2010 it’s revolutionised the whole market for wireframing and prototyping tools, and it remains laser focused on UI and icon vector design today. Lightweight and easy to use, its interface is beautifully simple and intuitive.
Sketch is a great tool for making simple wireframes, with its Symbol feature allowing you to repeat elements automatically across your layout. There are countless third-party UI kits to download if you want to build a full prototype. And unlike Adobe apps, it’s available for a one-off fee with no subscription.
Photoshop is the industry standard when it comes to design software in general. There aren't any specific wireframing features; it doesn’t offer libraries of interface elements, for example. But there’s no reason you can’t use it for wireframing. Indeed, because it’s so nicely integrated with other Adobe tools, and services such as Adobe Fonts and Adobe Stock, you may well find Photoshop the best wireframe tool for you. Particularly if you’re already familiar with the software. And it’s packed with so many features that you’re able to do everything from sketching out quick ideas, to grouping various elements and layers to build a robust wireframe.
Justinmind is another tool that lets you build everything from rough wireframes to working prototypes, but is more suitable for non-techies than Axure RP. It includes a library of UI elements, from buttons and forms to generic shapes and a range of widgets for iOS, SAP and Android.
Custom styling is included, so you can add rounded corners, cropped images or colour gradients, or import graphics by dragging them into the browser. Prototypes can be exported as HTML. There’s even a limited version which is free, forever.
There’s a popular saying in business known as the KISS principle: ‘Keep it simple, stupid’. And if you’re taking that approach to wireframing, Wireframe.cc may be the best choice for you.
This browser-based tool offers a simple interface for sketching your wireframes and eschews the toolbars and icons of a typical app, so there’s nothing to slow you down. There's a limited colour palette to help you avoid that particular avenue of procrastination, and UI elements are context-sensitive and only appear when you need them.
Invision Studio may not be as feature-rich as Adobe XD, but for creating wireframes it has everything you need. It’s particularly strong on responsive design features, and it integrates nicely with Invision Freehand for real-time collaboration with others.
The interface is pretty easy to learn, and the preloaded icons are very sleek and nicely designed. With handy features like comments, transitions, and desktop syncing, this is a very capable tool for building everything from low-fi wireframes to full-featured prototypes.
Adobe InDesign has long been the most popular desktop publishing software around. But these days, it’s no longer just focused on print design. The latest version can be used to create some pretty zippy interactive PDFs too, including animations, video and object states. And while the digital functions of InDesign are mainly used for creating e-books, e-brochures and e-magazines, they're just as capable of crafting wireframes and mockups. The software also includes the ability to create libraries of page elements, so you can create collections of reusable UI graphics too.