Stack OverflowBalsamiq mockups alternative for building wireframes?
[+148] [22] Thomaschaaf
[2008-10-01 10:04:03]
[ windows prototyping mockups wireframe ]

I am searching for something like .I like the program and would buy it if it were 20 bucks a licence.

Do you guys know something in the range from 0 to 20 bucks which can do what this thing can?

(3) balsamiq mockups looks awesome, I didn't know it was out there. Cheers! - Orion Edwards
I have Balsamiq Mockups and Serena Composer. I like Balsamiq for throwing something together, but I use Composer for things I plan to turn into software. - Robert S.
(4) Balsamiq is totally worth the price. Everyone I know loves it to bits. - Abie
(2) I'd use balsamiq (or even buy it) if it wouldn't use adobe air... It just doesn't install on my linux machine. :-( - hurikhan77
(2) Balsamiq is an awesome company! FYI: They give free licenses to do-gooders. - dotjoe
@Orion Edwards Woa, that's right, balsamiq seems like a pretty nice piece of software ! Thanks for the tips ! - FMaz008
I read "balsamiq" and I thought "vinegar?" - Mehrdad
balsamiq looks good, but IMHO it is quite frustrating to use becaues of a lot of small usability problems... - Guillaume
I evaluated around 30 programmes last week myself and recommend also looking at JustInMind Prototyper. It outputs clickable HTML mockups and comes with the common set of visual components. I also liked Tiggzi (which is listed already) but it did not fit into my requirements. - JJD
[+172] [2010-03-15 10:12:12] Jon Winstanley

Wireframe and Mockup Tools


Open source and Free, the Pencil Project is a great tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use. It runs as either a Firefox plugin or in a standalone XUL runner. It works on Linux, Windows and Mac and has a Firefox Extension


The Online Wireframe Application


Is an online tool that makes it easy for you to create, link together, preview, and share mockups of your website or application.

Balsamiq Mockups

Using Balsamiq Mockups feels like you are drawing, but it's digital, so you can tweak and rearrange controls easily, and the end result is much cleaner.


Moqups is a nifty HTML5 App used to create wireframes, mockups or UI concepts, prototypes depending on how you like to call them.


Online Real time collaboration

  • Cacoo is a user friendly online drawing tool that allows you to create a variety of diagrams such as site maps, wire frames, UML and network charts.
  • Cacoo can be used free of charge.

Mockup by Lextech

Mockup is an iPhone app prototyping tool that makes it incredibly easy to:

  • Think through design/usability concepts before you start coding,
  • Brainstorm with future and existing customers, and
  • Share your ideas and collaborate with the app development community.


Mockery enables you to create great UI mockups, quickly and easily.

  • Design great interfaces for the web or desktop.
  • Review your designs with Windows and Mac themes.
  • Annotate your mockups with detailed information.
  • Share your mockups with others.


ForeUI is a handy UI prototyping tool. It can rapidly create static or interactive, skinnable UI prototypes of your website or software. You can use ForeUI to:

  • Create mockup for the GUI in your mind and make others understand quickly.
  • Make working prototype of website or software to collect feedback from potential users.
  • Perform usability testing before releasing the beta version.
  • Generate the schematics that can be inserted in the design documents.

Naview by Volkside

Naview is a navigation preview tool for rapid information architecture prototyping from Volkside.

  • Design and visualise an IA or website navigation structure
  • Build prototypes quickly and get a feel for the navigation
  • Test your IA with users and iterate on the fly
  • Import your IA easily from a spreadsheet
  • No need for coding to simulate real website menu behaviour


A tool for information architecture testing C–Inspector is a web–based application that helps you to test the information architecture of your website. By analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data collected through the remote test, you can gain insight into the users' mental models and identify possible issues with labelling or grouping


A cross-platform prototyping tool that helps you create interactive wireframes & prototypes faster, easier and with better results. We put a strong emphase in interactivity as this is the best way to show your clients something closer to the real product.


What can I use MockApp for?

  • Brainstorm and refine a new app idea
  • Show what the app should do so that it’s easy for a developer to code it just right
  • Show-off your brilliant app ideas to your boss, potential business partners, investors, etc. (again, way more effective tan finger puppets!)


Creately is an easy to use and collaborative diagramming application that runs in your browser. With a powerful and intuitive interface, Creately is great for teams that need to work on designs together


Design, collaborate (in real-time) user interface mockups for your software and websites.


A GUI Design Software for clickable Wireframes. Fast and easy like rapid paper prototyping, but completely web-based and with many more features.


The first tool to create the prototypes of network and desktop applications!


Start with a strong foundation. Make planning architecture easier with Jumpchart. By creating pages, and subpages you can quickly sketch out the hierarchy of your site.


iPlotz allows you to rapidly create clickable, navigable mockups and wireframes for prototyping websites and software applications.


Historically, web-based applications haven't been able to match the speed and complexity of desktop apps—until now.


CogTool is a general purpose UI prototyping tool with a difference - it automatically evaluates your design with a predictive human performance model (a "cognitive crash dummy").

(3) Pencil (from works just fine on Windows now - don't know about older versions. - AJ.
@AJ - I have removed that comment, thanks for the update - Jon Winstanley
I think you should add MockFlow ( to this already great list of tools as well. - Ola Herrdahl
Thanks Ola, I've added Mockflow to the list. - Jon Winstanley
Thanks for the great list. Had only heard of mockingbird and balsamiq. - AieshaDot
HotGloo is excellent. I was using it when it was in beta. If you're the kind of person who uses wireframing a lot it's worth paying for, but not for the occasional 1 off project. - Ben Shelock
(1) Yes, but which one should I choose? This list is too much of a good thing!-( - Avi
Well, I feel completely paralyzed with indecision after reading this answer. - Kyralessa
Thanks for an awesome list! So many good choices. If you choose to improve or update it, it might be worth separating the desktop and browser-based clients. - AverageMarcus
+1 for providing such a complete answer! - Hugo
May I suggest ? It's completely browser based, powered by HTML5 and SVG. - Emil
[+121] [2009-02-11 22:42:56] pixeline [ACCEPTED]

There is another tool, completely free and very promising, built on the Gecko engine (read: Mozilla): Pencil [1].

UPDATE 3 There is an awesome online prototyping apps comparison chart [2] to help find the right tool for your case.

UPDATE 2 A new tool is available, both mac and windows, and is free (but requires user registration so expect some additional newsletters °-)): indigoStudio [3]

UPDATE 1 Also: Lumzy [4], which is completely free and boasts a nice list of features.


(1) +1 for pointing this out. Awesome tool! - Ruben Steins
+1 awesome tool. Easy to use and good quality icons. I wish there were some more collections to it, which I was unable to find anywhere.. - noob.spt
(10) if you're looking for pencil collections, check here: - pixeline
(2) +1 for Lumzy. Nice tool. - romaintaz
(2) pixeline, your link is broken. I found the following official repository for Pencil collections:‌​l - StockB
[+19] [2009-11-08 10:16:06] Pascal Thivent

There is mockingbird [1]:

Mockingbird is an online tool that makes it easy for you to create, link together, preview, and share mockups of your website or application.

alt text


Doesn't use IE. Bah. I'm stuck with IE. - Ralph Lavelle
[+10] [2008-10-01 19:02:58] Mackaaij

We use Mockup Screens [1] at work ("Quick and Easy Screen Prototypes").

Mockupscreens is not free but really not expensive, as the pricing page [2] shows. It's not 0-20 but $79 for a single user at the moment (01-10-2008; dd-mm-yyyy) and only $319 for a whole company.


(2) No savings over Balsamiq at $79, but the site license for Mockup Screens is nice. - Jerph
79USD is a fortune for a lot of undeveloped countries, and I'm saying this almost 4 years later. - Hugo
I am in US and it's still too much for me. - Susie
[+8] [2009-02-11 22:53:53] Yoni Samlan

Yahoo!'s design stencil kit [1] is free and pretty solid, especially for building Web UIs in OmniGraffle, Illustrator, Visio, etc. There's even iPhone UI elements. Doesn't have Balsamiq's workflow, of course, but a nice way to work with tools you may already be comfortable with.


(1) I don't even understand what I'm supposed to do with the ZIP files on their website. :/ - Hugo
[+5] [2009-02-28 07:38:06] Peter Severin

WireframeSketcher [1] is a tool that helps quickly create wireframes, mockups and prototypes for desktop, web and mobile applications. It comes both as a standalone version and as a plug-in for Eclipse IDEs. It has some distinctive features like storyboards, components, linking and vector PDF export. Among supported IDEs are are Aptana, Flash Builder, Zend Studio and Rational Application Developer.

Sample WireframeSketcher mockup [2]


Very professionally done and as a bonus works natively on Ubuntu! - Mendhak
Yes, but it has many issues on Ubuntu, e.g.: if you have more than one language in a system, like english and arabian. If you switch to arabian hotkeys won't work because of eclipse engine, also while you're switching languages you're losing focus if you were typing something in a text input etc. - Heihachi
Here's the Eclipse bug that you can vote for to encourage the fix for hotkeys: . The focus issue is a bug in Ubuntu/Gnome that is tracked here: - Peter Severin
[+5] [2009-03-06 15:59:18] Robert S.

Have a look at Serena Prototype Composer [1]. It's very powerful and free.


[+4] [2008-12-04 12:42:09] user20804

As mentioned above, you could use Visio with the stencils for wireframing (

I would also recommend Denim ( which is best used with a tablet PC or a Wacom Tablet [1].


[+4] [2010-01-29 00:54:14] Rose

You can try ForeUI [1], it's my favorite mockup tool.


[+4] [2011-01-18 20:21:16] Max Katz

Try Tiggr - . Tiggr is a rapid prototyping tool where you can create, share, preview (HTML) web and mobile prototypes. (Note: I work for the company behind Tiggr).

Tiggzi screenshot

  • Generates an Android project or an APK which can be installed on the device
  • Supports Apple platform too
  • Provides generalized UI components
  • Has no special Android or Apple stencils
  • Export for interactive presentation / clickable dummy
  • Allows creating and storing of custom templates
  • Allows to switch the theme of a UI element

[+3] [2009-02-28 09:41:02] Kim Reece

The online demo of balsamiq is quite usable for small tasks.

Blasamiq is in no way an alternative to balsamiq. - Hugo
[+3] [2009-03-31 04:01:00] Anurag Uniyal

Mockup Screens [1] seems to be the one, with there new improved version i think it is worth trial


[+3] [2009-11-05 11:02:10] MarkR

Im using JustProto and I must admitt that this tool suites me the most!it's reliable, fast and easy to learn- perfect for "non-tech" clients. It helps to create fully clickable and interactive wireframes working like a real site!

You can check it here:

[+3] [2010-02-22 09:03:53] WMaster

Try iPlotz [1] :

iPlotz allows you to rapidly create clickable, navigable mockups and wireframes 
for prototyping websites and software applications.

Create a project, add wireframe pages with design components and discuss 
your creations with others.

There is a free online demo use of 1 project, limited to 5 wireframe pages.


[+3] [2011-01-04 14:54:51] Mohan Arun
[+2] [2010-11-01 19:39:02] IgorJ

There is more or less complete list of both free and commercial prototyping tools here:

IMHO no serious help with free tools yet, but I'm probably not the most objective person here because I'm the author of Mockup :-)

If you need the tool for something non-commercial, drop me an e-mail.

[+2] [2011-01-14 17:29:33] nemophrost

You can also check out Lucid Chart [1] for wireframing.

They recently added a state/hotspot type system to make wireframes interactive although they do count this as a premium feature so it requires a paid subscription (which are quite reasonable I might add).


[0] [2008-10-01 19:06:35] Ilya Kochetov

Microsoft Visio does the work very nicely. Get an Enterprise Architect version for more software-related stencils

(3) Visio costs a lot more than $20. - Robert S.
(1) Visio is a nightmare, IMHO =( - Max Galkin
[0] [2009-02-11 22:51:32] Adam Taylor

If you fall within their set of specific categories you might be able to get balasamiq free or reduced price.

It's pretty ace to be fair.

[0] [2010-03-03 03:43:55] Dan

I've reviewed all of these. I think Pencil although a bit rough is very good for a free product. I don't understand the high price tag. $20 is a no brainer. But $80 is really getting up there, because all we're talking about is mockups. So, I support the Pencil and suggest balsamiq reduce their price I am sure they would have a much larger market at that price point as $80 to save something is quite steep.

[0] [2010-03-24 13:16:24] Penuel

Edraw MAX 5 [1] is also a good candidate. Checkout few mockups i made with it.


[0] [2011-08-08 20:46:04] Nilesh

You can try MockupTiger for free at

PS: I am also the developer of this application.