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 review the top UI/UX design tools available to help developers create software that meets user expectations.
Here’s the list of the best UI/UX design software I’ll cover in this article.
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. 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, and Google Drive.
Balsamiq costs from $7.50/user/month. A free 30-day trial is available.
Based in the cloud, Figma is a popular UI/UX design platform. The software includes features such as content management, team libraries, audio conversations, overlays, and version history. Figma supports AB user testing and includes a pen tool for generating arc designs.
Another popular feature is FigJam, an online whiteboard designed to make collaboration easy.
You can also add notes, pin files, track contributors and work with other team members in real-time. This tool is well suited to building interactive prototype designs, defining interactions, and creating design transitions.
This tool integrates with major third-party applications such as Maze, Confluence, Zeplin, and Pendo.
Figma costs from $12/user/month. A free plan with limited features is also available.
3. Webflow – Best for designing websites with a visual canvas
Features include editing tools that leverage custom templates to create original designs. Using the design module, you can work with cascading style sheets (CSS) and make styling changes from existing elements. Webflow enables web design without the need for domain setup, cPanel, or FTP.
This tool integrates with many business apps, including Shopify, Google Analytics, MailChimp, SoundCloud, and Zapier.
Webflow costs from $12/user/month. A free trial is available.
4. Sketch – Best for a fully-collaborative design process
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.
Features include facilities for data export, project management, and detailed reporting. Symbols or layer styles can be stored in a centralized repository for future use. Sketch is optimized for Mac 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.
Sketch costs from $9/user/month. A free trial is available.
5. ProtoPie – Creates realistic prototypes that include interactions
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.
ProtoPie costs from $11/user/month. A 30-day free trial is available.
6. Proto.io – A wealth of building blocks for rapid prototyping
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.
These include over 1000 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.
Proto.io costs from $24/user/month. A free 15-day trial is available.
7. Lucidchart – An intelligent diagramming tool for better design decisions
Lucidchart is a UI/UX design solution focused on diagramming and data visualization. Using this tool, you can create simple visual diagrams of required flows. You can share process maps with colleagues to get feedback. Features include feedback management, data import, and customizable templates.
Lucidchart is well-suited to sketching and sharing professional flowchart diagrams. A common visual language is used across the platform to improve teamwork and enhance communication.
This tool integrates with major business applications such as Slack, GitHub, Salesforce, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Lucidchart costs from $7.95/user/month. A free plan with limited features is available.
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.
InVision costs from $7.95/user/month. A free trial is available.
10. Adobe XD – Great for creating highly-realistic UI/UX designs
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.
Adobe XD costs from $9.99/user/month. A free 7-day trial is available.
Wireframe.cc – A simple but effective wireframing and interaction design tool
KonceptApp – A one-stop solution for prototyping and usability testing
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 prototypes, mockups, and wireframes that demonstrate the intended look and feel. These are then handed over to developers who turn the design concepts into a finished software product.