Your next big analytics project depends on accessible data visualizations. Here is a list of some of our favorite wireframing/mockup tools to help you build killer mockups in half the time. The outcome is better user experience, faster implementation, and higher user adoption.
At the BI Brainz Academy, our personal favorite is #12 Balsamic. We’ve used it to build 100’s of enterprise dashboards.
1. Canva (our favorite free tool + free training)
This web-based tool was made for the designer with no design skills. Not only is it disrupting the social media space, but it’s free to use. Watch out photoshop. We absolutely love it. Their iPad app also kicks butt!
2. Pencil Project (free)
We love this prototyping tool because it’s free and open-source. The straightforward user interface is great for targeting iOS and Android devices. You can also link items between drawings, and its user community is very supportive.
3. Evernote Penultimate (free)
This natural sketching app is only for iPad. It enables pressure-sensitive recording of notes, handwriting, and storyboards for export to Evernote.
4. Frame Box (free)
This web-based BI project tool lets you dive right in, sketch and share. It’s good for quick storyboards and simple BI mock-ups, but it’s image-oriented, so forget about advanced charts.
5. Justinmind (free)
This tool can build high-fidelity BI project components, like BI dashboards and mock-ups. It lets you annotate behaviors and simulate app features, and it caters to a range of device screen sizes.
6. Protoshare ($29-59/mth)
Protoshare is a collaborative web UI design app that can also build BI wireframes and storyboards. Its drag-and-drop interface is browser based, and while it doesn’t seem to support charts, it’s nice for prototyping data visualization implementations with clients. Subscriptions are between $29 and $59 monthly and include a 30-day free trial.
7. Gliffy ($10/mth)
Gliffy’s HTML5 user interface supports quick-and-dirty analytics project conceptualization. While it excludes charts, it’s simple, effective and less than $10 per month.
8. MockFlow Wireframe Pro ($29/mth)
MockFlow Wireframe Pro is great for making low-fidelity BI wireframes and collaborating in real time. It exports to numerous formats, features a range of components, and even includes sitemap functionality for more useful data visualization. For $29 monthly, you also gain access to all of MockFlow’s apps.
9. HotGloo ($54/mth)
For up to $54 monthly, you can wireframe BI dashboards and tools that deliver a well-planned UX. Templates, collaboration, smart elements and feedback gathering make this perfect for projects that need to be user-friendly.
10. Lucidchart ($20/mth)
This economic BI dashboard solution is cloud-based, collaborative, customizable and cheap. Team licenses cost $20 per month, and integration with Atlassian, Google and MS Office make Lucidchart popular with many big companies.
PREMIUM (MEDIUM to HIGH COST)
11. Pidoco Usability Suite ($15 – $200/mth)
This browser tool includes perks like editing, prototyping, screen sharing, VoIP and session recording. You can complete BI mock-ups in collaborative teams, although there are only a few charts to choose from. Pidoco’s graduated SaaS pricing costs between $15 and $200 each month.
12. OmniGraffle ($200)
OmniGraffle’s free-form workflows revolve around customizable stencils, templates, inspectors, and canvasses. It’s ubiquitous in the world of UX design, and its Apple-exclusive, perpetual licenses include Xcode, Visio, AppleScript and subgraph support for around $200.
13. Balsamiq (starts at $89/pp one-time license fee)
Balsamiq is a web-based tool. Its prototyping workflows use a drag-and-drop editor, and it offers plugins for multiple platforms including Google Drive. Licenses cost $89 per person with volume discounts and free trial options. Get started with one of our templates.
14. MockupTiger ($97/pp one-time license fee)
MockupTiger focuses on web and BI wireframes, and it’s built entirely with HTML5. This app offers an intuitive UI and a smooth user experience centered around sketch-based BI mock-ups. There are numerous extensible chart options, and perpetual licenses cost $97.
15. Mockplus ($79 annual license fee)
Mockplus is a quick way to create UIs and share functional ideas on mobile phones or other devices. Add markup, link pages and define interactive behaviors for just $79 a year, or check out the free trial.
16. iPlotz ($99 annual license fee)
While it’s hindered by an old, clunky interface and Flash technology, iPlotz may be good for those just getting started with storyboards. It supports exporting projects to HTML, PDF and other formats, and single-user licenses cost $99 annually.
17. Antetype ($189 license fee)
Antetype supports responsive design, reusable widgets, component states, property binding, automatic CSS generation, annotations, nested UIs and Retina displays. Digital copies of this Mac-only app cost $189.
18. PowerMockup ($59 – $2,099 for high end)
PowerMockup integrates into PowerPoint for convenient wireframing. This facilitates easier data integration, custom shapes, and simple drag-and-drop functionality. Licenses cost from $59 to $2,099, but the high-end option permits up to 50 users.
19. Axure RP ($589 license fee)
Axure RP tools are popular for their drag-and-drop user interface creation, online training support and web design features. Users can work with BI wireframes, forms, lists, custom widgets, touch gestures and mouse events. Try the 30-day trial, or pay $589 for a license.
20. iRise ($99/mth license fee)
iRise is designed for BI project collaboration and straightforward software prototyping. It doesn’t focus exclusively on BI dashboards, but that may make it a bit better for companies that want to create more versatile apps, and business users only pay $99 per month.
21. MockupScreens ($99.95)
MockupScreens licenses run at least $99.95, but they let you realize BI dashboards and wireframes in minutes. You can also rapidly populate tables, build reusable templates and create shareable specs or presentations.
22. Mockingbird ($85/mth)
Mockingbird lets you collaborate live with team members to create web and BI mock-ups that focus on UX. An $85 monthly subscription permits unlimited projects.
23. Microsoft Visio ($20 – $600 depending on subscription type)
This is a tried-and-true data visualization standard among Microsoft Office users, and it connects a range of datagrams and charts to real-world sources. Licenses cost $300 or $600, but you can use Visio for under $20 a month with an Office 365 subscription.
24. Adobe InDesign ($49.99/mth)
InDesign’s print-layout workflow makes it easy to go from BI mock-ups to web-aware BI dashboards or hard copies of BI project assets. Cool features include simple storyboards, crisp text flow and seamless integration with other Adobe products. Get a monthly subscription that also includes Illustrator, Photoshop and all of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps for $49.99.
25. ForeUI ($150/pp)
The BI dashboards you create in ForeUI can be skinned, exported to wireframes, saved as PDFs and simulated using HTML5. Reviewers say the app has a low learning curve too. Licenses are $150 per user, although group discounts are available.
26. Caretta GUI Design Studio ($499 per license)
GUI Design Studio creates Windows-oriented BI dashboards around standard components, custom elements, and templates. You can even make your own icons, and professional licenses cost $499.