Best UX Design Tools for UX/UI Designers [2020]

Looking to optimize your workflow with the best UX design tools around? Here is a compilation of tools that can help you get started from wireframes all the way to interactive prototypes:

Best UX tools for mockup:

1. Figma

figma mockup and ui ux design tool

Figma is relatively a new-comer with multiplayer co-editing features. This means you can collaborate with other designers in real-time. Figma is a browser-based tool since it is built upon electronjs. Hence, it can run on any platform including Linux. Also, all your files are saved on the cloud.

  • Collaborate with other designers with multiplayer features
  • Browser-based so can be used with any Windows PC, Linux, ChromeOS, and Mac
  • Robust Pen tool
  • Has a design mirroring app for mobile devices: Figma Mirror
  • Built-in support for prototyping and developer handoff
  • Can Import sketch files flawlessly
  • Freemium model is really good to get started whereas design system only available for paid models
  • [Update] Plugin support

2. Sketch

sketch mockup and ui ux design tool

Sketch is one of the most popular tool used by designers. In combination with InVision and plethora of plugins available, Sketch provides a complete solution from wireframe to prototype to developer handoff.

  • Mac only
  • Extensive Plugin support (Anima, Craft, Material, etc.)
  • Good selection of free resources such as UI Kits, libraries, templates, etc.
  • Integration with tools like Principle and Invision
  • Collaboration with other designers is a bit complicated since it natively doesn’t support multiplayer co-editing.
  • Mirroring sketch artboards to multiple devices is a bit clunky at the moment.

3. InVision Studio

invision studio mockup and ui ux design tool

InVision Studio is a great alternative if you are heavily invested in InVision’s cloud features. If making complex animations and responsive design is your priority, this is the tool for you.

  • Supports timeline animations which makes this a great tool for prototyping UIs.
  • Has a built-in adaptive layout engine to make responsive designs much easier.
  • Works well with Invision’s cloud features (prototype, communicate, handoffs, DSM)
  • InVision Studio is free but the InVision cloud has a pricing model that limits the cloud-based free model to 1 prototype.
  • Currently, the software is a bit slow to use.

4. Adobe XD

adobe xd mockup and ui ux design tool

Adobe XD’s interface is straight forward and easy to use. The repeat grids feature in Adobe XD is a much better implementation for creating lists and grids quickly. If you have used Craft plugin for Sketch to repeat grids and recurring elements, this feature very similar to that.

  • Available for both mac and windows.
  • Intuitive lists and grids creation with repeat grid feature.
  • Support for live prototype view across devices.
  • Components can only get text overrides. Components are not as robust as other tools in this list. They are limited by factors such as not being able to resize them and only basic text overrides feature.

5. Framer X

framer x mockup and animation design tool

Framer X is built on top of framer.js, which makes it unique in a case where users can write React components and view it in Framer X UI.

  • Mac only
  • Can import sketch files
  • Allows writing of React components
  • Allows custom advanced animations for prototyping with custom code overrides
  • Steep learning curve

Best UX tools for wireframing:

1. Balsamiq Wireframes

balsamiq wireframe tool

Balsamiq is more of a traditional pen and paper wireframing tool which focuses more on the basic structure and content rather than the aesthetic. If creating rapid wireframes to test your ideas is your top priority, Balsamiq is one of the best tools for it.

  • Good for creating wireframes quickly with support for prototyping features
  • Balsamiq cloud has support for multiplayer co-editing and cloud saving which is best suited for large teams.

2. Just in mind

just in mind wireframe and ui ux design tool

Just in mind is a great alternative tool for wireframing. It is really easy to get started with and also supports advanced mockups creation.

  • Integration with sketch and photoshop
  • Free UI Kits for prototyping
  • Support for Design System
  • Easy to create wireframes with prototyping support similar to Sketch and Figma

3. MockFlow

mock flow wireframe and ui ux design tool

Mockflow is great for wireframing but what makes it stand out is its ability to add powerups to add more features.

  • Free for 1 UI project
  • Intuitive tools for creating wireframes.
  • More features can be added using powerups.

4. Visio

visio wireframe and ui ux design tool

If you are more comfortable with Microsoft Office Suite, you can use Visio’s Wireframe template for creating wireframes.

  • For creating prototypes, you can add add-ons to create HTML files.
  • Visio is primarily used for figures and diagrams rather than wireframing. This may make the app feel a bit out of place for wireframe creation.

Best UX tools for prototyping:

1. Principle

principle prototype and animation tool

Principle makes animating prototypes and UI elements a breeze. With support for importing Sketch and Figma artboards, this is a great tool for giving your mockups an extra oomph.

  • Mac only
  • Supports integration with Figma(mac only) and Sketch
  • Easy to get started for creating smooth looking animations and transitions in prototyping.

2. InVision

invision prototype and ui ux design tool

InVision provides a good set of features to help designers create interactive prototypes. With support for Sketch and Invision Studio, this might be a great addition to your design tool arsenal.

  • Seamless integration with Invision Studio and Sketch (via Craft plugin).
  • Robust communication tools with designers and clients able to comment on the prototype itself. It also includes a KANBAN board to facilitate design progress.
  • Easy developer handoff with code inspector and asset management.

3. UXPin

ux pin prototype and ui ux design tool

UXPin allows for detailed prototype creation with support for javascript components and conditional interactions. You can create HTML prototypes with complete HTML features like text fields.

  • Supports keyframe animation for prototyping.
  • Collaborate with other designers with multiplayer features
  • Design system portal for easy collaboration.

4. Origami Studio

origami studio prototype and ui ux design tool

Origami studio was created by Facebook to help designers and developers create, iterate and build products like Instagram, Messenger, etc. Now it is available for us to tinker with.

  • Sketch Import
  • Allows creation of detailed prototypes including adding rules and logic.
  • The learning curve is a bit steep.

Bonus:

Canva

canva design tool

Canva is a great tool to quickly create design and visual elements such as templates, banners, logo, etc. It has a simple drag and drop UI. You can easily get started with thousands of templates.

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