Uizard Screenshot: Convert screenshots to editable mockups with AI

Uizard Screenshot: Convert screenshots to editable mockups with AI

What comes to mind when you think of exceptional user experience? If you’re a designer or a product owner, you probably have an idea of what makes great design; you might even have your own UI design playbook for crafting the perfect apps or websites every time you start a new project.

The truth is, refining your UI design to ensure you give your audience the best possible experience is a tricky task. Great UI design isn’t just about how your design looks, what colors you use, or the tone of voice you employ across your content; it’s also about the underlying psychological principles that determine how (and if) you are able to help your users achieve their desired goals.

Make no mistake about it, the competition is tough out there. Regardless of what niche you’re in, your competitors will have likely spent thousands of design dollars perfecting the user experience for their product. The only way you are ever going to compete is by carrying out mountains of expensive iteration and testing of your own right? Wrong.

Uizard's brand-new, AI-powered screenshot editor, Uizard Screenshot,  is here to change the way you approach app, web, and software design tasks. Whether you are starting with a blank screen or iterating on one of your existing designs, with Uizard you can now transform screenshots into editable mockups with the click of a button — enabling you to iterate quickly and cheaply.

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Screenshots into editable mockups, with the power of AI

How does Uizard Screenshot work?

Challenges with Uizard Screenshot

How to convert screenshots to mockups in 4 easy steps

Screenshots into editable mockups, with the power of AI

Maybe you’re redesigning your app home screen to better onboard new users, or maybe you have a great new idea for a home rental app to rival the market leaders out there. Whatever project you’re working on, with the awesome power of AI, the Uizard Screenshot feature now allows you to import screenshots of digital products, UIs, and design components and transform them into editable mockups in a matter of seconds.

In other words, with our screenshot editor, you can grab an image of an app, a website, or even of your own software, upload them to Uizard’s easy-to-use editor, and adapt them to kick-start a new project or fast-track the design and iteration of an existing project. Essentially, there’s no need to worry about getting stuck staring at a blank screen ever again!

Want to find out how this groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting AI feature works? We invited Uizard AI research engineer Mariana Oliveira Prazeres to discuss Uizard’s amazing new AI screenshot editor feature in more detail…

How does Uizard Screenshot work?

Images are hard for computers. They are essentially just a bunch of pixels with no inherent structure to them. A human can easily spot a line, a rectangle, or even a brand logo in an image but this is much more difficult for a computer to do.

The field of computer vision (aka teaching computers how to see) has existed for a long time. Initially, though, researchers were just trying to come up with a set of rules; the field really took off around 10 years ago with the use of deep learning.

With Uizard Screenshot, to turn a screenshot into an editable UI, we deal with a problem called object recognition, where we want to find a bunch of components in a given screenshot (buttons, input fields, icons etc.). This is the same problem solved by self-driving cars or tracking algorithms that monitor the health of the coral reef.

Images with object recognition labels (left to right): self-driving, coral reef, app screenshot

How do we find design elements in a screenshot?

Neural networks learn by copying what they see, so they are extremely data-hungry and need a lot of examples. So, to turn screenshots into editable UI mockups, we need a lot of UI design examples. Luckily for us, Uizard has over half a million users, so our system has plenty of mockup examples to work with.

We need a fancy mathematical model (aka a neural network)

Once we have a lot of data, we need to build a neural network that we can train to detect design elements in screenshots. There are also parameters and tweaks to the model formulation or training that usually needs to be done which can take quite a few days to work well (and even longer to squeeze the best performance out of).

As for “tweaks” here, we are referring to standard hyperparameter tuning, augmentations suitable to the structure of UI images, and heuristics to improve outputs drawing from old-fashioned computer vision, by observing the neural network errors, or by training other neural networks (Yes, we train neural networks to help other neural networks be better at their task; it's a complete neural network inception).

A final touch of magic

The main issue with AI is how it can do things really really well, but the outputs are never flawless. So, we use our human skills (aka our designer-asking capabilities) to simplify a design.

What do we mean by simplification? Well, there are only so many ways to design a set of buttons on a screen while keeping everything consistent. We use clever statistics to tidy things up and ensure that we replicate everything in a screenshot as faithfully as possible while maintaining a sense of design simplicity that's pleasing to the eye and that follows design best practices.

Using Uizard Screenshot on a popular house rental site

Challenges with Uizard Screenshot

Screenshots of webpages/apps are quite different from regular images in two ways. Firstly, screenshot images are extremely well-structured and logical – there is usually quite a lot of free space, components do not tend to overlap, and there is information being conveyed in location.

Screenshot components can’t be all over the place or it becomes senseless

Secondly, it is easy to confuse UI components. One reason is that there is a lot of so-called “inner class variance”. In everyday language, that means that, for example,  two slider components can look very different from each other. Another reason is “class overlaps”, for example, an input field designed in a certain way can be very difficult to distinguish from a button or an empty input field that looks like a card.

Some design components exhibit high variance: switches (left) and sliders (right)

Achieving perfection

It is unlikely that turning a screenshot into a UI design will ever be completely perfect. Turning a screenshot into an editable design as faithfully as possible is a really hard task. There is no “thought process” in neural networks that we can analyze to understand the decisions made by our AI designer when redesigning your screenshot.

Intuition-guided experimentation followed by careful result tweaking is what enables us to get as close as possible to perfection. As with a human designer, mistakes can sometimes happen, but luckily, you can always modify and tweak anything with Uizard's easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editor.

The Uizard behind the magic, Mariana Oliveira Prazeres: Hey! I’m Mariana and I have a background in applied mathematics. In 2017, I started working with neural networks for deep learning, aka AI, which led to my first full-time role as an AI engineer with Uizard. During my time at Uizard, I worked as the lead Research Engineer for Uizard Screenshot (screenshot to editable mockup), and I also improved Uizard’s Theme Generator. Outside work, I like learning languages, traveling, and doing 1000-piece puzzles.

How to convert screenshots to mockups with Uizard's screenshot editor in 4 easy steps

Are you tired of sitting in front of a blank screen? Do you want to make difficult app and website design a thing of the past? Are you looking to iterate, adapt, or duplicate one of your current designs? Here is how to convert screenshots to mockups in 4 easy steps with Uizard:

1. Sign up to Uizard for free

Uizard is completely free! Simply sign up here to get access to our intuitive, easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editor as well as a whole range of AI design features.

2. Start a new project

Once you’ve signed up, you can either start a new project or get a head start with one of our premade, UI design templates.

3. Upload your screenshot

Once you’ve opened your new project, navigate to the ‘Magic’ tab, and select the ‘Scan Screenshot’ feature. Click to upload your image and be sure to select the appropriate device for your design.

4. Bring your design to life

Once your image has been transformed into an editable mockup, the floor is yours. Update text, move elements, add new content blocks, or upload more screens!

If you want to know more about how you can use our screenshot editor for your design projects, then check out our dedicated guide for using Uizard Screenshot to design an app from a screenshot.

Getting started with your web or app design project is easy with Uizard. Simply sign up for free and navigate to the magic features menu in the side navigation bar where you can find all our AI design features. Want to learn more about the world of UI design? Head over to the Uizard blog now.