Once you’ve got an idea for a website and did some market research, your next steps are to buy a domain and choose your monthly web hosting. Armed with the foundation to build your business, you’re faced with one of the most difficult tasks in today’s digital business landscape: designing a website.
Despite immense technological progress, many new business owners and entrepreneurs are still relying on pen and paper methods for planning out websites. While this might work during the early draft stages, it’s not very sustainable.
The following four software companies have built products that aim to make website design–one of the most crucial investments for any company–much more streamlined and manageable. With the aid of mockup design software, anyone from novice business owners looking to experienced web designers can plan out their website accordingly.
Moqups is a web app that allows users to collaborate and create mockups, wireframes, and prototypes for various types of projects. Newbies can benefit from their intuitive platforms, while professionals take advantage of a simple concept with advanced features tailored to them. There’s no need for coding or programming knowledge, and one of its best features is that you can design mockups for desktop and mobile devices.
With the collaboration tool, you can build momentum with your team as the design is fleshed out. Once you can visualize your concept, you can start to shape your ideas with professional diagramming tools that make it easy sitemaps, flowcharts, and storyboards. Lastly, you can further simulate the user experience by incorporating interactivity to your designs.To date, it has been used by several well-known companies, like Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco.
Slickplan is a unique platform because it comes equipped with integration features that make it an ideal place to start a Web project. You can integrate it with WordPress, Slack, GitHub, and Basecamp among others. Use a feature-rich sitemap builder to plan your website’s page architecture. You can even plan content through a CMS portal that allows you to structure your content first, and then export it. Lastly, pair your visual elements with your sitemap and content plans to get a bird’s eye overview of your overall plan.
Framer is one of the best prototyping tool on the market, although currently, it’s only available on Mac operating systems. This software allows you to design mockups for iOS, Android, and Web applications. It has a unique feature that automatically resizes your mockups based on the screen size–much like responsive design. A smart layout tool will set your hierarchy automatically, and you can export projects to better aid the website design building process.
Little design features make the mockup as realistic as possible. You can also add interactive elements, native interactions like tapping and swiping, and collaborate with your team. The app library features hundreds of different icons, and you can edit the path of those icons. Lastly, there are hundreds of effects you can create, from creating shadows to blurs to borders.
Canva makes it simple to create wireframes for your website with a series of effective tools. It features a large collection of drag-and-drop widgets, and although it isn’t as complex as some of the other tools, it does allow users to seamlessly build outlines. If you want feedback on your wireframe, you can share it by email and social media directly from within the platform.
With a hearty collection of images and stock photos, you’ll can add placeholders that are most relevant to your real front-end design. You can also incorporate buttons, menus, image carousels, and several other widget placeholders. Lastly, when you search wireframes in the dashboard, you’re able to drag and drop entire layouts and common features. For example, you might drop a “sign up” box into the grid to accurately replicate how users would sign up. Or, you can create a “Contact Us” box where users would contact you. This means you won’t have to spend more time creating lookalikes when they’re already in your reservoir.
Among the freemium mockup tools, Balasmiq is one of the best. Once you’re inside the application, you can begin to create the mock up of your website, using drag-and-drop ready-made elements to spearhead your early efforts. This cloud-based platforms allows you to focus on the more complex UI issues without worrying about the minute details you can fix later on. It utilizes a sketch-based hand drawn aesthetic to complete the mockup look, which makes the process feel more natural. You can maintain the free version, or sign up for a 30-day trial of the premium version