How to Embed Interactive Prototypes in UX Design PortfolioMarch 30, 2020
It’s 2020, and the competition in the UI/UX design industry is harsh. With $581.9 billion in revenue expected from mobile apps (Statista), designers yearn for better online presence with their portfolios.
At the same time, there are businesses having their eyes on unique user interface design solutions. To occupy and secure a market niche, they’re seeking designers willing to meet their expectations.
If you’re only starting to tread the path of UX prototyping, we can’t stress enough how important having a portfolio is for your career! Most seasoned UI/UX designers set up their portfolios on websites like Dribbble or Behance.
Are you a UI/UX designer looking for a way to create, collaborate, and add interactive prototypes in your UX design portfolio? In this post, we’ll tell you about popular and alternative tools used to build and showcase your UI prototyping at best.
Basics of UX Prototyping
In UX design, a prototype is a simulation meant for testing the appearance and functionality of an app and getting feedback before the launch. In other words, a prototype is a ‘draft’ of a product that can be tweaked until you’re satisfied with the result.
With the help of UI/UX prototyping, it’s possible to not only introduce the UI elements but also show their visual representation. Do you always need special UX prototyping tools to build a prototype? Not necessarily. A basic prototype is easy to put together with just a few pieces of office stationery! Let’s briefly review the kinds of prototypes:
Sketches and Paper Prototypes
When there’s no time for going into detail, sketching is the perfect way to illustrate what your future site or app will look like. All you need is to quickly outline the elements of your would-be app on a piece of paper!
Paper prototyping, on the other hand, will require more effort. To bring all the elements of a paper prototype together, you will need a set of cardboard, paper, scissors, glue and other stationery. Despite looking a bit raw, a paper cutout of a future design will help better visualize your ideas. And, you can always ditch the elements you’re unhappy with.
Click-through prototypes demonstrate the web page elements and app screens linked via hotspots. Clickable prototypes can be called a transition from sketches and paper prototypes to more advanced interactive prototypes. Compared to low-fidelity paper prototypes, click-through prototypes simulate a real user experience a lot better.
Interactive prototypes will take your rough sketches to the next level. Clickable and responsive, they allow interacting with them and see what the finished app will look and feel like. Interactive prototypes let you test the product flow on early stages of the design process, making it more cost-effective. That’s one of the reasons why interactive prototyping is preferred by designers, developers and stakeholders likewise.
To create interactive prototypes, UX designers use special ux prototyping tools. These are not limited to prototype creation only, allowing to share, collaborate and tweak the projects.
How can businesses benefit from using interactive UX prototyping?
As mentioned above, interactive prototyping is highly preferred by all of the parties involved in the process of an app creation. That’s due to the benefits it provides:
- Interactive prototypes serve as references for developers
At some point, developers will need references for how a specific UI element or microinteraction should work. Sketches and paper prototypes are not illustrative enough to demonstrate the functionality in action. So, interactive prototypes address these types of issues.
- Interactive prototypes minimize development time
Making changes to a prototype is easier and less costly compared to fixing post-production usability issues in a finished app.
- Interactive prototypes allow for valuable user feedback
An interactive prototype is quite similar to a working app, so it’s easier to conduct user testing. Since the prototype scenarios are clear, the user feedback is helpful and on-point.
- Interactive prototypes unify the project vision for stakeholders and users
Thanks to the interactive nature of prototypes, key decision makers can fully grasp the way end-users see their app. This is beneficial for the buy-in and support process.
5 Best Prototype Tools for UI/UX Designers in 2020
Apart from the numerous benefits of interactive prototyping, the main reason why appeals to most UI/UX designers is simple – no coding skills are required. Modern UI prototyping tools have extensive drag-and-drop functionality to make the process of prototype creation pleasant and easy. UI prototyping software allows making digital prototypes that function similarly to the way a finished app would. And now it’s time to review the best user interface prototype tools 2020:
InVision is a popular UI prototyping tool for creating interactive prototypes.
- Sketch and Photoshop file import
- Communication and gathering feedback
- Extensive collaboration features
- Digital whiteboard for sharing with the team
- Mobile prototypes creation (iOS, Android)
- 1 project – free
- 15$/mo for 3 projects
- 25$/mo for unlimited projects
- 99$/mo for teams
Marvel App is a comprehensive prototyping tool for UX design. The app provides a powerful toolset to ensure smooth wireframing and prototyping experience.
- Fast design and wireframe creation
- All stages supported – from design to development
- Extensive in-app testing functionality
- Allows collaboration, gathering feedback, and ideas
- Free – 1 user, 1 project
- Pro – $16/mo – 1 user, unlimited projects
- Team – $48/mo – 3 users, unlimited projects
- Team+ – $96/mo – 6 users, unlimited projets
In recent years, Adobe XD (Adobe Experience Design CC), managed to take its place among the in-demand website prototype tools.
All of the action within Adobe XD is centered around two tabs – “Design” and “Prototype”:
- Within the ‘Design’ tab, you can use vector and text tools.
- Within the ‘Prototype’ tab, you can preview and share your design.
Adobe XD allows file import from Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
Figma is a one of the powerful, yet affordable website prototype tools to date. Apart from extensive functionality, it offers a sensible pricing policy.
- Impressive selection of design tools, plugins, and libraries
- Prototyping environment optimized for mobile view
- Collaboration features for design teams
- Allows creating a design system
- Starter – Free – for up to 2 editors and 3 projects
- Professional – $12 per editor/annually or $15/month-to-month
- Organization – $45 per editor/month (annual billing)
Sketch is an all-time favorite tool for UX prototyping used by many designers, and it’s not for nothing. With Sketch, you can engage in interactive prototypes creating, wireframing, and more.
- Multiple libraries, templates, and assets
- Sketch has a cloud platform for collaboration
- Workflow customization, extensive plugin integration
- Free trial
- Personal License: $99/year (one-time payment with Optional renewal for $69 per year)
- Team License: $9/mo per person or $99/year (if billed yearly)
This is not nearly a half of the list, since the market supply of UX prototyping tools is huge. All of the apps on the list can be used to build captivating interactive prototypes as well as share and collaborate with other team members.
UIGiants Let You Embed UX Prototypes in Your Portfolio
Still, there’s one major drawback which can be really disappointing in case you’re looking to create a portfolio showing your UX prototypes in action. Popular platforms that host design portfolios allow adding gifs, videos and high-quality images, but not showcasing the real prototypes.
Luckily, UIGiants – a new web service on the market – allows designers to create and showcase ready prototypes created in-app as well as embedded from Invision, Marvel, Figma, XD. Besides the ability to build and add prototypes to portfolios, UIGiants has a set of other useful features, such as advanced comment mode with annotations to collect more meaningful feedback, feed divided according to device type and many others.
Already intrigued? Go ahead and check UIGiants out!
That’s all for now! Hopefully, you’ve got lots of valuable insights on UX prototyping. If you’re seeking a platform to get the word out there, make sure to check our review of 8 Best Alternatives to Dribbble compared in detail!
Is it possible to become a UX designer just by taking a UX design course? Do you need a UX certification to be qualified for the job? Or maybe, you need to pursue a UX design degree? If you’re new to the field of digital design, chances are these questions have popped up in your head at some point.