Prototyping tools turn your vision into reality. Whether you’re designing websites or apps, prototyping tools help you and your clients see what your creation will feel and look like. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth millions because it saves you countless hours of describing features and user experiences.
Having the right tools during the design phase can help you iterate and fix potential problems before the production phase. Successful designers and studios use state-of-the-art prototyping tools, but if you’re just starting out and don’t want to invest in a costly solution, there are plenty of free software you can use.
Read my review to discover the best free prototyping tools for product design in 2023. The review includes a short description of every solution that made my list, along with screenshots and a helpful comparison chart so you can determine which would be a fit for your current needs.
What do I look for when I select the best free prototyping solution? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): I look for prototyping tools with clean interfaces. You should be able to find the solution’s functions and features even if you’re a beginner.
- Usability: I look for tools that are easy to use. You should be able to start designing after going over the software’s online documentation or video tutorials.
- Integrations: I look for tools that integrate with other software, such as other prototyping platforms, project management, communication, team collaboration, and testing solutions.
Free Prototyping Platform Key Features
- Fidelity: The software should provide the fidelity you need for every project, whether you’re wireframing, creating a mockup, or developing an interactive prototype.
- Testing: Testing and receiving feedback help you create prototypes people love to use. You should be able to share the prototype in order to test it.
- Templates: You don’t have to come up with something innovative every time, so starting with flexible templates can help you save time.
- Drag and drop editor - The drag and drop editor can be a huge time-saver, so it’s a must.
- Collaboration and communication: The tool should enable you, your team, and your clients to leave notes and offer feedback.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Free Prototyping Tools
Here’s a brief description of each free prototyping app to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the user interface.
inVision is a powerful prototyping solution that’s renowned for its innovative features. The platform was regarded as one of the best prototyping tools and dominated the industry until its competitors offered similar features.
Even though it’s a great all-around prototyping tool inVision excels at interaction design. Its interface makes it easy to design UIs for various mobile devices, whether they use Android, Windows, macOS, or iOS. This allows you to experiment with the front-end UI of your prototypes before implementation.
Another good thing about this solution is that it enables you to share your mockups and prototypes with your team members. You can share designs and workflows and simulate the user’s journey on your digital product.
You can receive comments and feedback, so it’s easy to make all the necessary changes before development. inVision integrates with Asana, Adobe XD, Microsoft Teams, Sketch, Slack, Dropbox, and more. inVision is free for up to 100 active users.
The free plan includes 3 freehands and unlimited public and private spaces.
UXPin is a powerful prototyping tool that helps multiple design team members to work on the same project. The platform has a clean interface and it enables you to create high-fidelity prototypes of that tool and act as the finished project.
One of the things that make UXPin stand out is the way it constructs the designs. The designs rely on a lot of code, so the development team can implement them with ease. On the other hand, this means that the designer has to be a good coder in order to customize the prototypes.
UXPin integrates with a variety of tools, including JIRA, Slack, Storybook, and more.
UXPin offers a free, limited version that includes the design editor, prototyping, merge integration, and collaboration.
Vectr is a free graphics editor platform that helps design teams to create low-fidelity prototypes, wireframes, and mockups. The solution offers a wide variety of free tools, and you can export your creation to high-resolution image formats, such as PNG, JPG, or SVG. While this tool is not helpful for those looking for UI design or UX design solutions, it’s good for those who are looking for a simple web app wireframing tool.
The platform offers all the tools you need to create vector images, from canvas options to grids, vector pens, background removal, and freehand pencil tools. The main advantage of using this tool is that it’s completely free.
While you can’t create complex prototypes with it, it can still work as a great tool for wireframes, mockups, and simple web design prototypes.
Vectr is a free platform, with no hidden fees or costs.
Mockflow is a product design platform with good prototyping features. The software has a bit of a learning curve, but it comes with helpful documentation and tutorials to ease the accommodation process. The great thing about this solution is that it helps you organize your workspace. You can create different spaces for the different processes involved in prototyping, from ideation to feedback and execution.
There are a lot of templates and presets to choose from, so you can build a wireframe or a prototype in good time. You can mock-up user changes in a matter of minutes, and generate HTML to help your developers with the implementation.
Mockflow integrates with multiple tools, including Slack, Google Workspace, JIRA, Trello, Microsoft Teams, and more.
Mockflow is free for one user managing one project of up to three pages.
Justinmind is a prototyping tool that helps you create high-fidelity designs. The software’s extensive library of animations, transitions, and effects, along with its drag and drop editor, enable you to save time when adding real-life elements to your prototype. One of the things that make this prototyping tool stand out from its competition is its interface.
With Justinmind, you can create professional prototypes without writing a line of code. The platform offers a convenient layout and its built-in design elements make it easy and fun to build prototypes. Thanks to its simple interface, templates, and built-in elements, I recommend Justinmind to designers who are just starting out and are looking for a prototyping tool that doesn’t take weeks to learn.
Justinmind integrates with Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, Hotjar, UserTesting, Crazyegg, UserZoom, and more.
Justmind’s free plan includes unlimited projects and viewers, vector design tools, and basic UI widgets.
Proto.io is a prototyping tool that has a smooth learning curve and is easy to use. The solution offers an extensive library of templates and UI elements, making it ideal for rapid prototyping. This tool helps design teams to present their prototype to stakeholders and make changes in real-time.
The platform creates a shareable live preview of the prototype, so you can show off your website or mobile app while implementing feedback and recommendations. Thanks to the variety of tools included in the free version, you can display all sorts of interactions, create events or dependencies, and offer guidance to programmers during the development phase handoff.
Proto.io integrates with Figma, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD, Sketch, Google Fonts, Trello, JIRA, and more.
Proto.io is free for one user with one active project and five prototype screens.
Figma is a design platform that helps you conceptualize, create, test, and deliver prototypes. The solution offers a variety of useful plugins and its collaboration features make it easy to share your workload with your team. One of the highlights of using this app is its community.
You can browse Figma’s community support and find open-source, pre-built components to include in your project file, speeding up your design process. But another advantage of following Figma’s community is that it makes it easy to stay on top of design trends.
There are several threads dedicated to the latest trending components, such as glassmorphism components. Figma integrates with a lot of apps, including Maze, Zeplin, Maker, Axure RP, GitLab, Slack, Notion, Asana, and more.
Figma’s free plan includes 3 Figma and 3 FigJam files, unlimited personal files, plugins, and templates.
Origami Studio is a free prototyping tool available for Mac users only. The tool is great at creating micro and macro interactions, and it enables you to wire up flows in a visual manner, by connecting different patches with cables.
One of the great things about this tool is that it offers great support for mobile operating systems, such as device orientation, camera, vibration, gyroscope, microphone, and haptic feedback for iOS.
With the help of Origami Live, you can test the prototype you built on a Mac directly on your mobile device, so you can see how it performs before the development stage. Origami Studio integrates with UserTesting, Validately, Lookback, and more.
Origami Studio is a free tool, with no added costs.
Framer is a prototyping tool that helps design teams come together and work on the same prototype. The solution is great at wireframing and prototyping, and it enables you to wire up screens and frames for designs you created on other platforms.
With Framer, you can create realistic animations from scratch, or you can browse the support community to find elements that would fit perfectly into your prototype. The solution makes it easy to edit your HTML and CSS codes, so you can customize your UI and UX to perfection.
Every change you make has a direct impact on the live project, so you can make changes in real-time. The prototyping platform has a slight learning curve and designers who are not good coders may find it more difficult to use.
Framer integrates with a lot of tools, including Mailchimp, Hubspot, Typeform, Calendly, Google Optimize, and more.
Framer is free for up to 2 editors, handing up to three projects.
Webflow is a visual web development and prototyping platform that enables you to design, animate, and launch apps and websites. With Webflow, you can switch and mix code-heavy and no-code elements to create the perfect prototype. The highlight of using this software is that it has a clean interface.
This makes the solution friendly toward inexperienced users. And if you want to customize your prototype with code-dependent elements, you can contact the platform’s community where users answer questions and offer advice.
Webflow offers a vast set of features that can help you build a prototype in good time. Their templates have complex layouts and animations, and you can customize them to ensure quick turnaround times.
Webflow integrates with a lot of tools, including Shopify, Zapier, Arengu, Shippo, Google Analytics, Drift, and more.
Webflow is free for one user managing two projects.
The 10 Best Free Prototyping Tools Summary
Free version available
|From $4.95/user/month||Visit Website|
|Free Limited Version||Visit Website|
|Free Platform||Visit Website|
|Free For One User||Visit Website|
Free version available
|From $19/user/month||Visit Website|
15-days free trial
|From $24/user/month||Visit Website|
Free version available
|From $15/user/month||Visit Website|
|Free Tool||Visit Website|
|From $20/editor/month||Visit Website|
|From $12/user/month||Visit Website|
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Here are some more options if the above reviews didn’t catch your eye.
- Marvel - No-code design and prototyping tool that uses preloaded backgrounds to speed up the wireframing process.
- Moqups - Visual collaboration tool that’s great for mockups, wireframes, and low-fidelity prototypes.
What are prototyping tools?
Prototyping tools are solutions that enable you to turn your ideas into a product. They help you create interactive samples of what your website or app would look like, so you can test your ideas and receive feedback before implementing them.
Turn your ideas into reality with prototyping tools
“A prototype is worth a thousand meetings”. This is the motto of FirstBuild, a state-of-the-art microfactory and co-creation community that’s changing the way products come to market.
A good prototype simulates the future digital product, so it can help you attract customers and investors. In addition, prototyping results in a faster design cycle, making it easier to identify and avoid potential problems.
You can read more about product design software on our blog. If you want to receive tips on prototyping and product design from industry leaders directly in your inbox, subscribe to The Product Manager newsletter.