- 1. Lucidchart — Best diagramming tool with integrations and collaboration for design thinking
- 2. Invision — Best for a real-time, collaborative design interface
- 3. Mockplus — Best prototyping tool for collaborative UX design
- 4. Balsamiq — Best for low-fidelity wireframing
- 5. Bubble — Best for no-code web app product design
- 6. Adobe XD — Best for creating highly-realistic UI/UX designs
- 7. Sketch — Best for a fully-collaborative design process
- 8. Webflow — Best for designing websites with a visual canvas
- 9. Proto.io — Best for a wealth of building blocks for rapid prototyping
- 10. ProtoPie — Best for creating realistic prototypes that include interactions
UX/UI design software systems are the building blocks of any good product. Back in the day, software products were accompanied by hefty instruction manuals. Users had to spend hours thumbing through the pages, figuring out how to use even the most basic features.
In today’s world, that approach simply wouldn’t fly. People demand software that’s intuitive and easy to use, so they can use apps productively from the get-go. This has made user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design a critical element in software development.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the top UI/UX design tools available to help developers create software that meets user expectations.
What is UI/UX Design Software?
User interface and user experience design software helps with the development of apps that are easy and pleasant to use. User interface (UI) design is concerned with how people interact with the software, while user experience (UX) design focuses on the overall customer experience of using the app.
Using UI/UX design tools, creators can build functional prototypes, mockups, and wireframes that demonstrate the intended look and feel of their product's user flows. These are then handed over to developers who turn the design concepts into a finished software product.
Detailed Overviews of the 10 Best UI/UX Design Software Solutions
Here are brief descriptions of my top 10 UI/UX design platforms that showcase each tool’s best use case and noteworthy features. Plus, I've included a screenshot for each system to give you a snapshot of their user interface. I've also included 12 more bonus options below if you'd like more choices to consider.
Used by BP, L’Oréal, and BMW, Lucidchart simplifies UI/UX design with a large library of templates, drag-and-drop functionality across an infinite canvas, real-time collaboration, in-app chat, automatic sync and save, and more. Being a web-based app, there are no downloads or installations needed and it works on any device, browser, or operating system, including Windows or macOS.
Usability and value are two of Lucidchart’s biggest strengths. The low per-month cost combined with intelligent features, and an intuitive interface make it one of the easiest wireframing tools to get started with. Features like comments, tasks, sharing, revision history, and embedding make collaboration simpler for remote and hybrid teams.
Lucidchart has free add-ons for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and integrates with Microsoft Office, Atlassian, Salesforce, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Slack, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Jive, GitHub, BambooHR, Quip, and more—including many apps through Zapier.
Lucidchart also works perfectly with Lucid's virtual whiteboarding product, Lucidspark, to boost collaboration throughout the entirety of your workflow.
InVision is an advanced UI/UX design platform for creating software products. From a single dashboard, UX UI designers can create designs, experiment, test, and collaborate. Features include digital whiteboards, prototype creation, planning, wireframing, and feedback management.
Using this software, you can style layers, animate drawings, and edit vectors. You can also make use of features such as editing timelines, instant playback, and mobile device mirroring. The software also includes shared design libraries, version rollback, and push/pull changes.
This tool integrates with popular platforms such as Confluence, Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Slack.
Mockplus offers a comprehensive solution for UX designers to quickly create sketches, wireframes, or high-fidelity prototypes. This web-based software is equipped with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy to create even complex designs.
What makes it shine is that its collaborative feature allows each of your UX design team members to work together and build things faster. Plus, designers can easily get feedback from teammates, stakeholders, clients, and even real users via a single link. To further collaborate with your team, just simply sync your design to the cloud for instant review, comments, and developer handoff.
You can use Mockplus to create user interface designs for various platforms, including iOS, Android, or the web.
Integrations include Adobe XD, Axure, Confluence, Figma, Jira, Lark, Photoshop, Sketch, and Slack.
Balsamiq helps a designer create advanced wireframes rapidly. It offers the simple clarity of paper sketches, combined with the more sophisticated features that software can offer.
Ideal for creating sketch-style mockups, Balsamiq includes collaboration tools for gathering feedback from other team members. You can drag and drop graphic design elements, as well as resize or rearrange them.
Balsamiq allows teams to work on up to 200 active projects at one time, and is available for both Windows and MacOS.
Features include revision history, software prototyping, survey tools, presentation tools, and data linking. The software is available in both desktop and cloud-based versions.
This UI tool integrates with major software platforms such as Confluence, Jira, Shift, Trello, and Google Drive.
Bubble is a no-code platform for creating digital products. By eliminating time-consuming coding, it allows you to cut development time down from months to hours. Bubble empowers anyone on the team to make changes, even if they have no design experience.
Using Bubble, you can create interactive, multi-user apps for desktop and mobile web browsers. Anyone using the software can create polished products without knowledge of HTML or CSS. Deployment and hosting are handled within the platform for unlimited users.
This tool integrates with popular services such as ActiveCampaign, Google Contacts, Quickbooks, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey.
Worth noting, Bubble offers discounts for user groups of 100+ and requires a one-time deployment fee.
Adobe XD is a powerful UI design tool for high-end development work. The software allows you to build original designs, configure layouts and add special effects. Created assets are saved in a cloud repository, from where they can be shared with other stakeholders. Other features include navigation menus, animations, audio, user flows, and custom passwords.
A range of input devices can be used in prototypes, from keyboards to game controllers. You can preview designs on both iOS and Android devices. Adobe XD also makes it easy to draw lines, shapes, and paths.
This tool integrates with popular design and business tools such as Zeplin, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, as well as all other applications within Adobe's Creative Cloud Suite.
Sketch is a popular UI/UX design tool. Using this software, you can design vector graphics, share designs with other team members, and manage your designs within a single platform. It’s easy to get feedback on designs, automate workflows, share prototypes, and conduct user research.
Symbols or layer styles can be stored in a centralized repository for future use. Other features include facilities for data export, project management, and detailed reporting.
Sketch is optimized for MacOS users, with support for P3 color profiles and native font rendering.
This UI UX design tool integrates with many different applications, including Flinto, ProtoPie, Maze, and Abstract.
Using the design module, you can work with cascading style sheets (CSS) and make styling changes from existing elements. Webflow also supports reusable components, which is an extremely handy feature if you plan to create a series of websites under a common parent brand.
Other features include editing tools that leverage custom templates to create original designs, and scroll-based animations that help you breathe life into static websites to keep your users more engaged.
Integrations are available with many business apps, including Shopify, Google Analytics, Ideta, MailChimp, MightForms, Monto, Pixie, SendPulse, SoundCloud, and Zapier.
Proto.io is a prototyping solution designed to get rapid results. Using the intuitive drag-and-drop interface, anyone can create a design quickly and easily.
Proto.io includes an extensive range of pre-built components to accelerate design prototyping, including over 1,000 templates and a number of interface libraries. Proto.io also offers over 6,000 digital assets, including stock images, icons, and sound effects. You can add different levels of interactivity according to the needs of your project.
This tool integrates with design and business applications such as Adobe XD, Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, and Figma.
ProtoPie enables you to create realistic prototypes of apps for mobile, desktop, web, and IoT. By adding interactions to your designs, you can create the look and feel of the final product.
This no-code solution also allows you to reuse components through the Interaction Library. You can invite an unlimited number of people to view prototypes through sharable links.
Plus, you can create interaction specs to reduce misunderstandings with developers during handoff. The dashboard includes a choice of light and dark themes.
This web and mobile app design tool integrates with platforms such as Sketch, Adobe XD, and Figma.
Best diagramming tool with integrations and collaboration for design thinking
7-day free trial + free plan available
|From $7.95/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for a real-time, collaborative design interface
Free plan available
|From $7.95/user/month||Visit Website|
Best prototyping tool for collaborative UX design
Free plan available
|From $12.95/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for low-fidelity wireframing
30-day free trial
|From $9/month||Visit Website|
Best for no-code web app product design
From $45 user/month
|From $25/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for creating highly-realistic UI/UX designs
7-day free trial
|From $9.99/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for a fully-collaborative design process
30-day free trial
|From $9/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for designing websites with a visual canvas
Free trial + free plan available
|From $18/month||Visit Website|
Best for a wealth of building blocks for rapid prototyping
15-day free trial available
|From $29/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for creating realistic prototypes that include interactions
Free plan available
|From $79/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for online design collaboration
Best UI design tool for beginners, with a simple learning curve
Best for rapid prototyping
- Adobe Photoshop
Best for traditional raster image-based design using Adobe Creative Cloud
- Axure RP
Best for creating realistic, clickable prototype designs
A simple but effective wireframing and interaction design tool
A one-stop solution for prototyping and usability testing
An intuitive UX tool for web design and mockup
Best for auto-generating visual sitemaps
- Optimal Workshop
The original tree-test design solution
- Framer X
Best for creating prototypes with micro-interactions
- Adobe Illustrator
Ideal for conventional vector-based design
Selection Criteria For The Best UI/UX Design Software
Perhaps you’re wondering how I selected the best CI/CX design software for this list? To build this top 10 list, I evaluated and compared a wide range of UI/UX design software with positive user ratings.
After determining my long list of top choices, I further honed my list by using the selection criteria below to see how each platform stacked up against the next one. I also drew on my years of customer service experience to pinpoint the features that add a lot of value.
Here are the key features I assessed in detail when picking UI/UX design software for this list:
- Code-based prototyping: Going beyond simple images to create a realistic representation of the software in action.
- Collaboration tools: The ability for everyone in the design to contribute ideas, thoughts, and comments.
- Auto layout: Automatically resizing elements as required to give an accurate design visualization.
- Easy developer handoff: A built-in process for passing the completed design over to developers for implementation.
- Real sample data: The option to include realistic data in prototypes, bringing them to life as they will work in the real world.
- A design system: A communication tool that guides UI designers in using the right tools, adhering to brand guidelines, and deploying the correct assets.
- Availability: The ability to create prototypes for a range of different operating systems and software platforms.
- Security: Robust protection of IP rights and data privacy safeguards.
Template & Shapes Library
A template and shapes library can be important when selecting a UI/UX design software because they can save a significant amount of time and effort in the design process. Templates are pre-designed layouts that can be customized and used as a starting point for a design project. A shapes library, on the other hand, is a collection of pre-designed shapes and icons that can be used to create a variety of design elements.
Having a template and shapes library can help streamline the design process, increase efficiency, and ensure consistency in the design. When selecting a UI/UX design software, it can be beneficial to consider the availability and quality of these features.
Usability is an important consideration when picking a UI/UX design software because it directly impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of the design process. A software program with a user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation can make it easier for designers to create high-quality designs with fewer errors and less frustration.
A program that offers a range of usability features, such as keyboard shortcuts and customizable interface settings, can further improve efficiency and allow designers to tailor the software to their specific needs. A program that prioritizes usability can lead to a more positive and productive design experience for the user, resulting in higher quality designs and a more satisfying overall design process.
I expect UI/UX design tools to integrate natively with major design and business platforms, as well as user feedback tools like beta test management software. Software integrations are an important consideration when selecting UI/UX design software because they can greatly improve workflow efficiency and collaboration. Designers often use multiple tools in their workflow, such as project management tools, prototyping tools, and design collaboration platforms.
Integrations between these tools and the design software can enable designers to seamlessly switch between tools without having to switch between interfaces or manually transfer data. This can save time and increase productivity. Additionally, integrations with popular design collaboration platforms can facilitate communication and feedback between team members, leading to better collaboration and a higher-quality end product.
Pricing is an important factor to consider when deciding what UI/UX design software to use as it can impact the accessibility and affordability of the software. Some programs may be priced out of reach for individual designers or small design teams, while others may offer more budget-friendly options. Some software may offer a range of pricing plans with different features and capabilities, allowing users to choose the plan that best fits their needs and budget.
When considering pricing, it's important to also consider the value offered by the software in terms of its features, usability, and overall quality, as well as any potential cost savings that may result from increased efficiency and productivity.
People Also Ask
Here are some questions I thought of well I was writing this article. I thought they might be helpful for those just getting started or those looking for further resources.
What are the Benefits of Using UI/UX Design Software?
There are several benefits to using good UI/UX design software, including:
- Improved productivity: Good UI/UX design software can streamline the design process, providing designers with tools and features that increase efficiency and productivity.
- Consistency: Design software can help maintain consistency across designs by providing access to templates, libraries of design elements, and reusable assets.
- Collaboration: UI/UX design software can facilitate collaboration between designers, stakeholders, and other team members by enabling real-time feedback and design reviews.
- Improved user experience: By using good UI/UX design software, designers can create user-centered designs that prioritize usability and accessibility, leading to a more positive user experience.
- Cost savings: Using good UI/UX design software can result in cost savings by reducing the need for rework and improving overall design quality.
Using good UI/UX design software can help designers create high-quality, user-centered designs efficiently and effectively, leading to a more positive user experience and a more successful end product.
What Other Design & Customer Experience Resources Do I Need?
If you’re thinking about UI/UX design software to build the optimal customer experience, you might also enjoy these resources as a next step:
- 10 Best Design Thinking Tools
- 10 Best Prototyping Tools & Software
- 10 Best UX Software
- 10 Best Wireframing Software for CX Teams
- 10 Best Customer Review Management Software
- 10 Best Customer Onboarding Software
- 10 Best Web Design Software
- 10 Best Mockup Tools for Drafting Designs
- What Is Customer Experience Design And How Can You Approach It?
- 9 Ways To Improve Digital Customer Experience (with Examples)
- User Experience and Interaction Design: The Art of Making Contact
Stay in Touch
UI/UX design software can help you craft customer-centric product experiences that make the customer journey easy and satisfying.
Related read: Optimizing The Website Customer Journey