An effective UI design changes the way people interact with the product. It is no less than an art, and the amount of creativity required can burn out even the best of us. If “an artist is only as good as their tools.” really does hold true, While you’re making sketches of your wireframes, you can only do so much with a pen and paper. And let’s not forget the mess it makes on your desk. Good design tools for UI designers do wonder for the design process.
With this blog, we aim to tell you about the 8 best design tools for UI designers out there, so the artist in you can get everything they need for the next masterpiece.
Figma is a collaborative design tool, which means multiple designers, copywriters, and even stakeholders can all work on the same project together in real-time. It reduces the hassle of sending files back and forth, which results in designers spending more time finding the files than actually working on them.
One of the most attractive things about the tool is that it runs on any OS since it runs on a web browser, making it all the more accessible for everyone to collaborate with the project. You can even see who’s doing what since their cursor will be hovering over their activity. If you ever feel the features don’t suffice your design needs, you can always access the 2 million+ WordPress plugins Figma can incorporate. Millions of designers trust Figma for their needs, and with that trust, it safely secures the top spot in our list.
Figma has a very useful free individual version, but it’s just limited to one project. The professional version is 15$ a month.
Launched in 2010, it immediately became the go-to tool for many designers. The library of plugins paired with Sketch’s lightness appealed to many.
Sketch offers many attractive features like being a vector-based app, which means your designs won’t lose sharpness when resized. The ease of use makes sure you won’t spend weeks googling “how to use Sketch.” However, Sketch is primarily a Mac OS app, which means the developers using Microsoft will be missing out.
Sketch’s pricing entices many as at 9$ per month, it is one of the efficient and affordable UI tools. If you’re looking for an affordable UI tool and have a mac, look no further than Sketch.
3. Adobe XD
Introduced as project Comet, it came as a welcome change for the masses of UI designers still relying on photoshop. It introduced new features for UI designers like prototyping, animations, plugins, among others. No doubt, it is one of the best design tools for UI designers out there.
Adobe XD‘s popularity shows no signs of slowing down, which can be credited to its features like repeat grid, responsive design tools, and perhaps its most eye-catching feature: auto-animate.
A potential drawback for AdobeXD is its price. Apart from its free trial, which is limited to one active product, you’ll have to pay 50$+ a month to get access to all of Adobe’s apps, including Illustrator, Aftereffects, and Photoshop.
4. InVision Studio
InVision launched itself into the UI design scene with promises to be the world’s most powerful screen design tool. Whether it deserves that tag is still up for debate, but designers unanimously agree that no other tool handles prototyping, as well as InVision Studio, does.
Their drag and drop feature makes for a seamless transition between different tools, you can shift all of your projects to InVision with ease.
Vector-based screen designs, intuitive user experience, and creating responsive prototypes without any coding, there’s little InVision studio gets wrong. InVision boasts a high-profile user base with names like HBO, Netflix, and Spotify.
The free version of InVision studio limits you to three projects. The “pro” membership at 9.95$ billed monthly gives you unlimited projects with up to 15 active members.
Zeplin is a cloud-based design tool whose interface will make you feel like you’ve been using it forever. You can effortlessly import your projects from other tools like Figma and Sketch.
What makes Zeplin stand out is how easy they make the handover of your designs to the developers. Give your developers detailed specifications they need to get to work, with code snippets that will help get the job done faster. Zeplin connects with third-party apps like Slack and Jira, sealing its reputation as one of the best collaborative tools out there.
If your developers are tired of receiving infinite canvases and always have to ask which one the final design is, your collaboration will skyrocket with Zeplin.
Zeplin offers a free version, limited to one project. The “team” version is available for 6$ per person, per month. If you want unlimited projects, the “organization” membership offers that at 12$ monthly.
Lucidchart is a web-based collaborative tool that prides itself on BPMN diagrams. It is perhaps the most accessible platform to use if you’re looking to make user flows, user journeys, and wireframes.
Since it’s web-based and multiple people can work on a project at once, its usefulness shines when you’re working with stakeholders who might not have the most UI knowledge. You can receive feedback, share your process through flowcharts, and use their library of free templates.
The basic version of Lucidchart is free, and the “teams” option starts at 7.95$ a month per user.
Put briefly, Miro is precisely what it claims to be, an online collaborative whiteboard platform. It allows designers to collaborate and work together on an infinite canvas, so remote designing becomes a lot easier than ever.
Staying true to its collaborative nature, Miro works on a web browser that has apps for mac, windows, android, and iOS. In times like these, when getting within 6 feet of someone else just isn’t possible, designing collaboration can be achieved with Miro.
Miro offers a free plan, and their monthly fee for the “team” membership costs 10$ per month, per person.
Webflow is a website-building tool for designers. It makes designing, customizing, and launching your website incredibly easy. Designers often use this tool for wireframing and building prototypes. It adds considerable skill up the sleeve of designers since they can now build a website without even working with a developer.
Webflow makes things like custom design possible without having to set up the whole website beforehand. You won’t even need plugins or hosting services since Webflow will host your website with SSL security; often with better loading times thanks to its non-bloated code.
This platform makes it possible for designers to prototype, design, and go live with the website all in one place.
Webflow lets you get started for free. But, you need to purchase a site plan ranging from 15-45$ monthly if you want to make the website live.
The importance of design tools for UI designers
No longer do designers have to rely on only Photoshop and learn a bunch of code to make their prototypes come to life. UI professionals now are enriched with tools that constantly seem to be improving, changing the way we approach design. Remember the early days, when creating design assets were tedious; but, with platforms like Iconscout and others, it is much easier.
Great new tools make sure that screen design isn’t the only thing designers spend their time doing. Keep your stakeholders impressed right from the very beginning when they see the quality of the tools you’re using.