We are living in such a design world now that are offering an abundance of tools. These can fit every design process out there and meet your objectives. You’ll find a solution out there for every designer out there, no matter he’s a noob, intermediate or pro.
This opens the sea of possibilities for everyone to create something. It’s such a wonderful and appropriate time to explore new tools and see what’s available to design so that you can add new dimensions in your work and showcase your projects.
But the enormous number of tools creates a big challenge as well, and that is which ones should you use for what purpose?
For quite some time, the combination of InVision and Sketch has been a popular choice for many of the web designers out there, but few other tools are now offering competitive features and options.
There has never been a better collection of wireframing and prototyping tools out there as it is now. So we’ve compiled this list here to guide you through so that you can pick the best-suited tool for your needs.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- 1 Wireframing Tools
- 2 UI design and prototyping
- 3 Hand-offs
MockFlow is a collection of applications that prove to be very useful for a good number of tasks in the typical project process. If you’re testing out some new ideas, Mockflow could be a great alternative prototyping tool for you to use.
Take a look at MockFlow for you wireframe creation needs. The great thing about Mockflow is that it enables you to build basic layouts quickly when you’re working on initial ideas.
This could help you a lot to get thoughts into a presentable form.
Balsamiq is a strong suggestion from me if rapid wireframing is what you want to do. It is great for quickly developing layouts and structure for your projects with ease.
The drag-and-drop elements that Balsamiq offers can surely make life easier and you can also link buttons to other pages. So that means you can be quick to start to plan your design interfaces and then share those interfaces with your clients or other team members.
The two I talked above is great from simple wireframing needs. But when it comes to more complex projects that require dynamic data, Axure has undoubtedly one of the best wireframing tools available on the market.
When projects are more technical and require extra attention regarding structure and data, Axure can help you a great deal.
So for a little more complex projects, look nowhere else that Axure, while considering MockFlow and Balsamiq for simpler ones.
Looking to wireframe on the go? Adobe Comp is a must for you then.
People that find themselves conceptualizing and creating on the go, Adobe Comp is a nice addition for them. with this awesome tool, all you need is a tablet with a smart pencil.
Just in case if you get the inspiration striking for developing a brand new concept for a layout when you are away from your mother workspace, this tool could prove to be a lifesaver for you.
Okay, we’ve seen some great wireframing tools, now let’s have a look at some UI designing and prototyping tools.
UI design and prototyping
Sketch is the first choice for tons of designers for the awesome features it offers. It is such a popular tool in the designers’ community that has kept its place for years. Sketch lets you create hi-fi interfaces and prototypes with it.
One of the best features Sketch offers is the Symbols, where you can design elements and UI assets that you can reuse. This little feature helps you to create design systems and keep your interfaces consistent throughout.
From there, you can effortlessly export the design you’ve created into a clickable prototype. However, If you use InVision, don’t forget to check out the Craft plugin.
InVision Studio is such a tool that lets you create a responsive design on a single artboard.
The tool has the potential to make many UI designers’ dreams come true, considering that it is still in its early release. InVision Studio has a bucket load of features that will help you create beautiful interactive interfaces.
You can think about creating custom transitions and animations from a number of gestures and interactions with InVision Studio.
On top of that, you can now stop worrying about creating numerous artboards for multiple devices as InVision studio lets you achieve responsive design within a single artboard. This saves you a great deal of time that you can use to think of more ideas.
Proto.io is an amazing tool to take you from rough sketch to lifelike prototype. This tool is extremely good at creating lifelike prototypes from rough ideas right through to fully fledged designs.
The tool also helps you out with a lot of possibilities for your projects, which includes custom vector animations and detailed animations too. You can get started with developing initial ideas with a hand-drawn style, then later convert them into wireframes and finally finishing off with a high-fidelity prototype.
The Photoshop and Sketch plugins help a lot in case if you want to design using other tools but this tool Proto.io does handle the end-to-end design process well.
There are also other features included in this tool like user testing which can help to validate your designs. This tool can be considered as an all-in-one place solution that already has a user base consisting of a great number of trusted brands.
Adobe XD could be a great option for you if you’re locked into an Adobe workflow. This tool offers the best possible environment for internet projects under the Adobe Creative Cloud collection of design tools.
Now, you probably will not find the user interface very Adobe-like to begin with, if you have a keen Adobe user for some time but new to Adobe XD. It is like a jump if you’re a photoshop user for designing for a while.
However, this tool does stack up to the other leading designing tools out in the market, and I’ll say this tool is worth a try it if you have been a big Adobe fanboy.
When you talk about producing quick ideas and refining an interface, the prototyping tool Marvel is a great choice according to me.
Like many other applications of similar type, Marvel provides you with a really neat way to build pages and also enables you to simulate your design through a prototype.
Marvel also offers you some wonderful integrations that let you insert your designs into your project workflow. It’s all in all a great tool that makes building pages sublimely straightforward.
Figma is a great tool for quickly composing and designing interfaces. The specialty of Figma over many other similar tools is that it is a collaborative design tool whereby more than one user can work simultaneously on a project.
This amazing feature could prove to be very effective when you have multiple stakeholders in a project who contributes to shaping the outcome.
This is a tool for team operation to build something in whole, not a single part at a time. A developer, designer, and a copywriter or some other guy could work simultaneously on a live project with Figma. This enables to create things as a whole together.
You gotta try Framer X If you’re a React user as it works brilliantly alongside that. Framer X is an amazing and fabulous new design tool that I certainly will recommend to experienced UI designers who are always looking for more from their tools.
Prototyping and creating interactions with Framer X is quite easy. You don’t want to look any further if you’re a big React fan as you can design and code in sync.
Alongside being an amazing designing tool, you’ll find a strong community of designers behind Framer X that is offering UI assets and kits.
If you’re looking for a nice and simple design tool that’ll enable you to create unique interactions within your designs, then Flinto could be a great choice for you.
It has a number of gestures that you can utilize and create easy & simple transitions by designing the before and after states. Flinto will simply work out the differences by itself and then animate for you.
Another for building great-looking animated interactions is Principle. Principle mainly excels at interaction design, especially for the case of mobile applications. This tool makes getting animated interactions by tweaking a breeze.
You get the option to look at individual assets and how those assets animate independently, right down to timings and easing.
Talking about interactive designing tools, Atomic is another great name. Over the other interactive tools, what sets Atomic apart is the ability to create such form elements that you can type into actually.
Another very useful feature atomic offers is that it lets you import data and populate your designs. This saves a good amount of time of the designers!
If you have a large project in hand, UXPin is a top solution for you. While UXPin is described as the ‘end-to-end’ UX platform, it is basically another designing tool that has a powerful ability to create design systems.
Just like Figma which a talked about above, UXPin also serves larger design teams with a good number of members that need to work off the same guide and styles. This saves a lot of time with product development when collaboration is a significant factor for the project.
So, when you’re looking to create quite complex interactions and get pretty close to how you might want your design to work, ProtoPie is something that you can’t avoid. There are other interactive tools out there, but ProtoPie sets itself apart when it comes to creating complex interactions
The most standout feature of ProtoPie is that it gives you the ability to control the sensors of smart devices in your prototypes, such as compass, tilt, sound, and 3D Touch sensors as well like ones in MacBook touchpads.
ProtoPie is an amazing tool indeed for encompassing native app features, depending on your project. And as the name suggests, it’s easy as pie to use ProtoPie with no code required.
Just in mind
Justinmind is such a tool that helps with integrating and prototyping hand-in-hand with other tools like Photoshop and Sketch, the one I talked about above. You have the freedom to choose your gestures and interactions to help put your prototype together.
There are also UI kits in it, which enables you to put together screens quickly.
Origami studio is a feature-packed designing tool having features like custom rules and logic for interactions.
You’d want to know that this tool is built and used by designers at Facebook. Now you are probably assuming that this must be a great tool, you’re absolutely right. As I said about it, there are a large number of useful features that Origami has which includes adding rules and logic to your interactions.
You probably have wished many times to make a button display or behave differently because of something else? With Origami, you have the opportunity to create a true-to-form prototype.
However, Origami is not a very simple tool to be honest, as you know – with great power, comes great responsibility So it’s your responsibility to learn this tool well if you want to utilize the great power of it.
For the bottom line, origami studio is perfect for designers and developers working together.
Fluid is a good intuitive designing tool that comes with some excellent UI assets to build rapid prototypes and work up designs. Fluid has some nice assets out of the box that helps you to get going with rapid prototypes. After you’ve upgraded, it’s quite easy and straightforward to assemble your own symbols with your preferred UI assets.
Zeplin is not quite a prototyping tool, but it very much fits in between the pre-development and post-design stage alongside prototyping. Zeplin basically helps you to take your prototypes and designs, hand them over to your developers and make sure that the ideas get well executed.
You get the ability to upload your Photoshop, Sketch, Adobe XD and Figma files to Zeplin and then this tool will create such an environment for designers and developers to hand over the project, without the hectic task of creating guidelines.
However, you want to make sure if you’re in a scenario where you actually need this tool.
So, did I miss your favorite tool? What’s that? Let me know in the comments below. Also, tell me which of these tools you’re going to try right away!