5 of the Best Free Online Wireframing Applications

Many successful web designers and developers can visualize interfaces in their head. It’s a skill few others possess. Consider your clients. If you were lucky enough to receive a specification, did they re-evaluate their interface the minute they tried your lovingly-crafted application?

Wireframing helps minimize these issues. Clients can be provided with a series of sketched screenshots or a mock interface they can try before they’re coded. There are some good commercial products — Balsamiq is one of the better known — but there are several free online applications you can consider. As a bonus, some offer collaboration and demonstration URLs which can be shared…

Moqups1. Moqups.com

Moqups is my current favorite. It’s fast, easy to use and works without a browser plug-in. Screens and buttons can be linked so you can publish a demonstration for your clients to view and use. Images can also be exported for specification diagrams.

Moqups has been created in standard HTML5 and JavaScript which makes it more impressive. Highly recommended.

Lumzy2. Lumzy.com

I’ve used Lumzy for several projects. It’s a Flash application and, while the interface isn’t the prettiest, it’s fast, provides collaboration options and offers a wide range of controls which are easy to edit and configure.

Screens can have pop-up notes and controls can be linked to other screens for online demonstrations. Lumzy can become a little slow for very large projects but it’s a great application nonetheless.

Gliffy3. Gliffy.com

Gliffy is another Flash offering. It’s a little slicker, prettier and easier to use than Lumzy. It also offers further diagrams types such as flowcharts, floor plans, Venn diagrams, networks, processes and UML with export to SVG, JPEG and PNG.

The only drawback is that Gliffy is primarily designed for single-page diagrams. Control shapes are more limited and you cannot create a series of linked wireframed screens.

Lovely Charts4. Lovely Charts (web)

Lovely Charts is a Flash version of the company’s desktop and tablet application. Functionally, it’s similar to Gliffy with a range of diagram types and export options, but you must sign-up prior to use.

Again, it offers fewer control shapes than Moqups or Lumzy and cannot output a viewable demonstration. However, you may prefer it if you’re creating written documentation.

Google Drive Drawings5. Google Drive Drawings

While Google Drawings is not a wireframing application, it can be used for simple screen mock-ups. The tool is fast, offers collaboration and is an absolute joy to use. Diagrams can be output to a range of file types and embedded within other Google Drive documents.

Have I missed your favorite online wireframing application?

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  • http://lauhakari.com Lauhakari [mikko]

    I think MockFlow should be on this list. It does have a “pro” version which costs but the free version only has limitation in number of projects (1) :)

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      That’s quite a big limitation. The pro version costs $69 per year (it took me a while to find that on their site!)

  • Bubba

    Thanks, these are awesome. I’ve been wanting to use a wireframe app, but the ones I looked at were not free. As I can’t afford to pay for one right now, this article came out at the right time!

  • http://ajbatac.com AJ Batac

    Cacoo and Mockflow should be in this list.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Perhaps, although the free Cacoo account is quite limited.
      Mockflow looks good, but isn’t it primarily a desktop app rather than online?

      • http://www.appgen.com.au/songcat Pete Januarius

        Craig – many thanks for the review. I will check out the ones I haven’t heard of!

        I agree with AJ. I used Cacoo to design the UI for a whole bunch of apps for a major financial institution in Oz.

        You don’t need anything complex no matter how complex the app. You just need something simple that plays well and quick that can give you a starter for 10.

        These things should never be loaded with functionality – they don’t need it.

      • http://illuminea.com Miriam Schwab

        We have been using Mockflow happily for a few years now. It offers a browser-based app and a desktop app. This is great because users can choose to use either, depending on their preference or location.

  • Theo

    The two best I found are iplotz.com and hotgloo.com. They both have free and paid plans. But I am still not convinced that such tools are better than just using paper and then Photoshop.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      They’re important for showing functionality rather than design. A Photoshop mock-up may be required at some point, but these tools allow your client to play with a “working” application before you commit to colors, layouts, etc.

      Paper’s great too, but it’s only practical if you’re sitting with them.

  • https://moqups.com moqups

    Woohoo! Thanks for all the karma folks!!! We’re really ecstatic to see our app on your favorites list.

    We’re hashing out the last details and bugs for many other exciting features like Master Pages, design grids and other really big surprises. Look forward to an awesome autumn!

    (All the folks behind Moqups are now doing the “Numa Numa” dancing!)

  • http://Www.devol.co.nz Rochelle Alder

    There’s also mockingbird which I’ve found to very easy to use. For mobile app dev proto.io and fluidiu.com. I like proto because you can have a very realistic app sitting on ur phone by the end of it to show ur clients.

  • http://esd.wa.gov M Varela

    I use Mockingbird. It limits me to one project for the free version but I usually only do one project at a time. Since I work for the government the TOS and Privacy policy are big factors.
    Thanks for the info on Moqups, I will look into it more closely, the interface looks somewhat like Mockingbird.

  • http://www.johnmanoah.com John Manoah

    http://www.balsamiq.com/ – I use it and is my personal favorite. Let me try the ones you have recommended.

    • Adam Bauerle

      +1 here. Use Balsamiq all the time. Has a lot of prebuilt controls that are used all the time in software. Haven’t tried the other ones, but I’d highly recommend Balsamiq if you haven’t tried it yet!

  • Erin

    Moqup is sweet! Thanks so much for the list.

  • http://www.caroclarke.com Carolyn Clarke

    I tried your first one, but the Moqups site I arrived at said my browser, an older version of Firefox, wasn’t supported. I use older browsers (IE, FF, etc) because my clients do, and I have to work in their world. Just thought I’d flag up that Moqups serves another market.

  • http://www.Stackify.com Matt Watson (Stackify DevOps)

    Another one that is just coming out allows you to do mock ups in true HTML that is support responsive design layouts. It is pretty cool stuff. Check out divshot http://divshot.com