We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Graphic design & publishing software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

WireframeSketcher review

$75

Manufacturer: WireframeSketcher

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

WireframeSketcher is a quick and simple way to demonstrate designs.

These days, I’m busy creating a new online store, a process that involves quite a bit of user interface design. To make matters more complicated, my colleagues are spread all over the globe, so we can’t just walk up to the office whiteboard and quickly flesh out ideas. It used to be that to show them a new UI layout, I had to draw it from scratch using CorelDRAW (and even MS Paint, just that one time). WireframeSketcher changes that, and lets me present slicker UI designs much faster.

See all: PC Advisor software downloads

A wireframe is a non-working mockup of an interface, much like a sketch on a napkin. While there are online tools for creating wireframes (such as Mockup Builder), some situations call for a downloadable application that can be used offline.WireframeSketcher starts you off with a blank canvas, on which you can drag and drop any number of widgets. Some of these widgets can be as simple as a button or a label, while others can be as complex as “cover flow” (à la iTunes) or a video player. You can also customize them: For example, the table widget lets you control the number of columns, their width and their contents, and you can even add icons into cells (not just text).

There is no dedicated user interface for customizing a table’s contents; instead, you are presented with a text area into which you must type the desired layout and contents, using specialized syntax. WireframeSketcher's syntax isn’t very complex, but doesn’t adhere to any widespread standard (it’s a form of CSV, basically). It is mentioned in the online manual, but the documentation mainly consists of a few quick examples. I was eventually able to get the table to show the information I wanted in the correct format, but it did require a bit of fiddling.

When you drag or resize widgets, guidelines automatically pop up when they line up with other widgets. This makes it very easy to create a polished design without having to keep using the dedicated alignment tools such as “center selection” (which are also available).

By default, WireframeSketcher draws your design using squiggly-looking lines, as if you drew it with a Sharpie. This may seem a bit gimmicky at first, but it’s really a great way to communicate “this is just a concept design.” You can also toggle the squiggly lines off, to display your design with crisp, straight lines.

Most user interfaces take up more than one screen, so WireframeSketcher lets you draw multiple screens for any project, and even create interactive links between screens. For example, you could have a “Next” button that can actually be clicked (within WireframeSketcher) and then flips over to the next screen in a Wizard interface mock-up.

When you feel your design is ready to communicate, you can present it using WireframeSketcher itself: Hit F5, and WireframeSketcher switches to full-screen mode; all the linked buttons start working, and you can cruise through your interface almost as if it were the real thing. Alternatively, the application can also output to PNG and PDF files.

The seven-day trial of WireframeSketcher will output watermarked images only. Versions for Mac and Linux are also available.

WireframeSketcher Expert Verdict »

Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
Java SE 5
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

At the end of the day, WireframeSketcher still feels a bit like drawing on a napkin, but with more oomph. It certainly makes for better-looking meeting handouts. I wish some of the widgets were easier to customize, but I can definitely see myself using it to communicate interface ideas in the future.

  • Balsamiq Mockups for Desktop review

    Balsamiq Mockups for Desktop

    Balsamiq Mockups is a rapid wireframing tool that lets designers, developers, and other stakeholders all take part in the design process of a new application or website.

  • Balsamiq Mockups review

    Balsamiq Mockups

    Balsamiq Mockups is a fast and functional prototyping for apps and web sites, Balsamiq works on your desktop or in a web browser. Read our full review to find out more.

  • Lumzy review

    Lumzy

    Lumzy is a free, web-based wireframing tool to help with web design.

  • FotoSketcher 1.12 review

    FotoSketcher 1.12

    Convert your photographs into high-quality, realistic artworks for free using FotoSketcher.

  • Dreamweaver CS3

    Dreamweaver CS3

    Dreamweaver CS3 offers useful new tools for designers and provides a preview of how integration with the other programs in Adobe's Creative Suite can benefit Dreamweaver users. Adobe claims that its customers persuaded the company to replace its GoLive web editor application with Dreamweaver (formerly produced by Macromedia) in the latest version of its Creative Suite collection of programs. Adobe claims that it will, however, maintain GoLive as a standalone product.


IDG UK Sites

Best Black Friday 2014 tech deals: Get bargains on smartphones, tablets, laptops and more

IDG UK Sites

What the Internet of Things will look like in 2015: homes will get smarter, people might get fitter

IDG UK Sites

See how Trunk's animated ad helped Ade Edmondson plug The Car Buying Service

IDG UK Sites

Yosemite tips: Complete Guide to OS X Yosemite