Although this market is still maturing, using a software-based tool to do your mock-up can be quite beneficial for several reasons:

  • It's easy to get feedback. Collecting feedback on your mock-up is easy when you use online or web-based tools. Most applications provide multiple options that allow you to export mock-ups in the form of PDF or image files. You can send these files to your users electronically to get their feedback.

  • Inviting collaborators is simple on the web. Knowledge sharing and collaboration are vital parts of the mock-up process. By hosting mock-ups on the web, you can invite co-workers and other team members to provide their input or feedback.

    Be very careful about giving other people permission to modify your mock-ups directly. Not knowing who did what can lead to chaos.

  • You save time when making modifications. The beauty of using software is that you can easily save old and new versions of your model for comparison purposes. Then it's easy to incorporate users' feedback and present updated mock-ups.

  • You can build a reusable library. One much-overlooked benefit is the ability to create a library of template mocks-ups that you can save and then reuse for future products. Templates save time, and it's much easier to start with a previous mock-up than it is to start with a blank canvas.

  • Most software tools are free or inexpensive. Most tools on the market today are free to individual users for a specified number of mock-ups. If you want to invite more collaborators or have multiple projects running at the same time, the most sophisticated web tools cost anywhere from $5 to $100 per month for use by an entire team.

As the market for software that allows users to design prototypes rapidly continues to evolve, do an Internet search for online mock-up tools to get an updated list of software choices.