Today’s Best Tools for UI/UX Design

by | Mar 22, 2016 | Web design

There’s no debating that the design profession continues to ebb, flow, and change rapidly. The modern designer’s clients (and their clients) have become accustomed to, and fully expect, a rich, high-end, user-friendly experience across all platforms. As a designer in a competitive, noisy industry, failure to deliver on that essential expectation of the best in user experience can quickly leave you without customers. Which UI/UX design tools should you use with your clients, then, to ensure you produce a first-rate experience, every time?

Let’s browse through some of the most popular in the 2016 market. We begin with one of the most well-known design tools in today’s designer circle, UXPin. This particular tool allows you to create wireframes and complete designs using a series of pre-made elements and UI templates. UXPin also makes it simple for designers and developers to work together within its platform. With just a few clicks, you can turn wireframes into functional prototypes.

You can even import designs from Photoshop to the UXPin platform, with the same rapid prototyping feature available there, as well. The only downside, perhaps, is its SaaS model – not for them, but for the designer! UXPin is a “service”, so it requires you to sign up for a plan before you can utilize the full version. However, to get the gist, there’s a free trial available – sans full features.

InVision is an additional web-based prototyping tool that designers say gives you high-fidelity in under five minutes. Simply upload you design files and then add animations, gestures, and transitions to transform static screens into clickable, interactive prototypes. Animations and transitions can be made into true to life interactions by incorporating customizable “hotspots” that link your screens together. What’s more, it’s cross-platform compatible, displays your ideas in any resolution, and allows for collaboration for seamless design communication with your project team and/or stakeholders.

For all you speed demons out there, Sketch is the tool that moves quickly like Illustrator. Out of all its easy-to-use features, its strength is in its speed – even when you have a lot of screens up, and a lot of layers. When you’re ready to save, the file is compressed, making it easier to share and to store. It’s not an all-purpose tool by any means, but it is light, efficient, and it has everything you need to build a gorgeous interface.

If you’re focused on mobile and web app designs, you may want to try Justinmind. The “all-in-one prototyping tool for web and mobile apps” can be used to develop effective, user-centered designs for any app style, and allows even the novice designer to create a beautiful user experience. Once the wireframe is complete, you can turn it into a prototype and test it immediately. It’s also a really useful tool for creating mockups for client presentations. Instead of relying on generic app elements or kits, you can create real, unique mockups that allow the client to envision the app in action.

All four above are great tools – but we’re sure you already know that! There’s, however, a new player in the market:  Adobe XD – as fresh as a daisy, and it seems to be fantastic! Its name even looks like a big smile! Adobe XD is meant to be everything a web or mobile app designer needs, from wireframing and visual design to interaction and previewing of content. Adobe XD is all about high speed and high performance; and what we call “the total package”.

As an example, you have the option to utilize a UI kit within the program, or alternatively, you can choose to create it completely custom. In addition, all of the screens in your project will appear as artboards on a large canvas, and adding interaction between them is as easy as drawing lines from one screen to another. It’s powerful, it’s easy to use, and it’s just as fun to use as the experience you will create with it for your clients.

Designers: Which of these tools is your favorite? Do you prefer one that is not on this list? Which tool is the least designer-friendly, in your experience?

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92101 CA, San Diego