10 Cloud Based Prototyping Tools
So, you have an idea that you want to bring into the world – it’s a work in progress, and you want to be able to take these items with you wherever you go. In the age of tablets and super computers that fit in your briefcase, there is still nothing that can compete with the power of a desktop computer. Because of this, too many people feel that they must be chained to their desktop computer to get the maximum efficiency out of their programs and process workflow. In this article, I will show you 10 ideas for website based tools that you can use at just about any computer, anywhere. Since they don’t require a huge amount of bandwidth, you can work from your favorite coffee shop. From Wireframes to Bug Reports, these tools will help you develop the idea in your brain into a living, breathing compilation of diagrams, and workflows. If you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, just wait, it will all make sense.
Below, I have listed some tools to assist you to work smarter, not harder.
With Gliffy, you can create a myriad of diagrams, workflows, process flows, and flow charts. They have every shape and flow process imaginable. Since it is flash based, and intensive, the ideal scenario is to use this on a laptop or desktop pc, rather than a tablet, but it can be done either way. Since this web app integrates with Google Apps, WordPress and Chrome, it’s got potential to explode with third party applications, if not already.
Cacoo is a powerhouse for companies dealing with multiple languages to collaborate diagrams and workflows online. It supports 22 languages plus real time collaboration. Of course, you can make your projects private or public depending on your need, and their group pricing is fairly reasonable. While only having 5 output Vector formats to export to even with the paid version, this tool can be invaluable for a collaboration project across the world.
Invision has taken the art of collaboration and made it into a drag and drop art form. Their interface makes it extremely easy for even the most technically challenged to start a project. They even have a demo right on their front page so that you can test drive the interface. The pricing is based on the number of projects, not collaborators, although most plans only allow 5 collaborators per person, and quite frankly, that’s enough.
Mockingbird is a wireframe tool that allows unlimited collaborators, and the pricing is based on the number of projects. While there is no free plan, it is still worth it to use this tool to get the most out of your online wireframe collaboration.
While it’s not the language powerhouse that is Cacoo, Creately has a scaleable pricing structure that is handy for the number of users on your team. It also has some desktop software available that may further your development needs. Since they sell this software by the license, it’s cheaper if you need it for a short while.
This integrates a wireframe AND prototype generator all in one. It boasts an auto-save feature and backups as well. A feature that most do not consider.
You can use ProtoShare for Mockups, Wireframes or Prototypes. They have online webinars for training and instruction, and a very handy and instructional blog.
While the name may be silly, its power to create custom templates, real time collaboration, and mobile prototyping makes this a powerhouse not to be ignored. Their integrated API and specification export allows you to travel further than you ever thought possible.
Most people don’t understand the difference between mockup and prototype (that’s a whole other article), but Lumzy does. They allow TRUE prototyping – an art form which most websites seem to lack. Plus, the integrated discussion tool makes for a nice collaboration.
Starting with unlimited projects, unlimited wireframe pages, and 1GB of storage space all for the $15/month plan, this web application is by far the most economical. If you are a desktop fan, this site also has a desktop version for $75 – a reasonable price. Whether your idea started out on a cocktail napkin or as an item on your to-do list, these tools, either all or only one – will be able to assist you with what you and your team needs to develop that idea. Whatever your needs with regards to prototyping, wire framing, mockups, and collaboration, these 10 tools will allow you to thrive.
By Jason Phillips,
Jason is an avid reader of technology blogs and publications and has started to get more involved in writing side of technology. Currently he focuses on marketing with cloud hosting company http://www.crucial.com.au