The need for wireframes is ever present in our dear business of web design. Being able to effectively diagram a site's information and navigation proves helpful in the beginning concept stages, especially when presenting to people outside the domain of UI, IA and design. But selecting the wireframe tool that's right for you can be challenging.
As more wireframe tools become available, the focus is shifting to include IA. Here is a selection of wireframes that are sure to prove useful. Whether you're a Mac or PC user, on a budget or with some financial freedom, these five wireframe tools offer creative and practical solutions, all with the main purpose of helping you build diagrams and organize information quickly, effectively and successfully.
For the Mac User
A diagramming application made by The Omni Group and built specifically and exclusively for Mac OS X. Users cans create simple and complex diagrams, flow charts, organization charts and illustrations, and features a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface.
Similar to Microsoft Visio, OmniGraffle Pro can both import and export Visio files created using Visio's XML export function. OmniGraffle 5 can also open Visio's native binary .vsd files.
OmniGraffle takes full advantage of Mac OS X's graphics layer, known as Quartz, and benefits from on-the-fly antialiasing, smooth scaling, transparent drop shadowing and other features. Features of the OmniGraffle Pro include:
- New Layout Engine
- Bézier Lines
- Bézier Shapes
- Mini Inspectors
- Style Tray
- Stencil Search
- Outline View
- Multiple Page Documents
- Diagram Styles
- Improved Import/Export: PDF, PICT, OmniOutliner
- Graphing Tools
- Smart Guides
- Auto Layout
OmniGraffle creates objects in the main window and automatically laying them out
Pricing ranges from US$ 99 to US$ 299. More information available at www.omnigroup.com
For the Non Designer
Sketch screen mockups of your application and organize them in scenarios. Users can experiment interactively with clients and quickly visualize scenarios of applications before the coding has started. MockupScreens is easy to use and makes you productive immediately. You don't have to know programming, and you don't have to be an artist to create great screens.
Features of Mockup Screens include:
- Screens and Scenarios
- Fast Screen Drawing
- Standard Set Of Screen Elements
- Additional Elements For Web Applications
- Integrated slideshow feature
- Export one or all scenarios to HTML
- “Mockup” Look And Feel
- Screen Annotations With Icons And Comments
You can also sketch web pages. Great time saver is collection of predefined 'dummy' images. Of course you can add your own images, too!
Pricing ranges from US$ 79 to US$ 349. More information at www.mockupscreens.com
For Advanced Budgets and Analysts
A single user, standalone visualization authoring tool, allows individual business analysts, interface designers and project managers to employ visualization techniques to get business critical software projects to market faster, with less cost and risk. iRise simulates the workflow and basic behavior of proposed business applications through direct communication with stakeholders via interactive requirements gathering sessions. Once these needs are captured in iRise, a high fidelity version of the simulation can be quickly created and shared with stakeholders through face-to-face or online meetings, where final feedback can be gathered and acted on.
iRise Enterprise Edition includes:
- Self-guided stakeholder walkthroughs
- Powerful comments management functions
- SmartView™ definition
- Export into self-contained files called iDocs
- Facilitated multi-user usability tests
- Check-in/Check-out for disconnected authoring
- Secure access to critical intellectual property through LDAP enabled user authentication
Used in synch with interactive simulations, iRise Manager is a requirements automation solution designed to help teams be productive quickly
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