I’ve been using Protoshare – a reasonably good wireframing tool that nobody seems to be talking about

I was introduced to Protoshare when starting my current job, which is a wireframing tool that is quite powerful, and allows you to knock up a decent wireframe for a website quite quickly.

Protoshare is surprisingly powerful, but weirdly I haven’t heard anyone talk about it, ever. Which is a shame really, because tools like Sketch, UXpin & Adobe XD have got a lot of press recently about being great places to build prototypes.

I have some theories about Protoshare isn’t popular though:

  • It’s quite old now – People seem to flock to the newest & most exciting thing, even if it’s immature.
  • The website looks like it was made in the 90s. I best most designers turn their noses up before they’ve even tried it. Seriously, first impressions do make a big impact! Which is a shame because my first impression of Protoshare’s was “meh”, but over time I realised how powerful it was.
  • It’s got a lot of good competition – Even way back in 2012 it had good competition, and couldn’t win this Wireframing tool showdown by UXmag.

Using Protoshare

I’ve always used Balsamiq, which is rough, quick and has a sketchy feel (ideal so the client knows this is only a sketch – not what the final thing will look like!).

Protoshare is clean, and woreframes you create look sort of nice. Clean edges, angles, it even allows a lot more control over fonts styles and even colours – although I think that’s dangerous, as we probably shouldn’t even be thinking about colours in the wireframe stage.

Protoshare exports to a normal HTML, so you can show your client in the browser – if you dare.

The reason I say that is because showing a client something that looks like a website, but doesn’t work like a website in a browser seems dangerous to me. Protoshare allows you to make something that looks nice on your screen, but how can you guarantee what sort of screen they’ll see it on? What will it look like? Will the screen be too small for the content? Will the client get confused? Will it look disappointing because they’re seeing it in a browser so expect it to be responsive?

They might be like…

not sure if design or wireframe

At least with Balsamiq, it looks so outrageously bad to start with, the client will be able to appreciate it’s just an idea.

It allows you to show interactivity

I wasn’t really sold on Protoshare until I saw how easy it was to create simple interactivity. Something that allows it to win easily over Balsamiq.

Interactions are limited to “states”, so think of the simplest being on/off, allowing you to hide or show a modal. You can add many more than that, allowing you to get a bit more complicated, although it’s just nice being able to keep it dead simple.

It allows you to show animation

Well, limited motion really. Like things that slide in or slide out. This is all controlled by the states I mentioned above.

I’ve been working on a website project where the client have asked for motion to make it look “fun”. I thought I’d have to use a different wireframe tool to show this, but I was happy that Protoshare has these transitions to at least demonstrate some movement when things appear and disappear.