Many designers still use Photoshop for literally everything. However, the market is full of increasingly better tools that focus on particular solutions. So I decided to compile a list of the most common tools that a UX designer should know about. In this list, you can find prototyping, UI and collaboration tools. Many of them will be familiar to you, but I hope you will find some interesting ones for specific tasks. My recommendation is to choose the appropriate tools for the task and don’t restrict yourself to one product. This list might also prove useful for comparing them with each other. So here comes our list of UX design tools.

ux design tools

Wireframing and prototyping tools

wireframe tools

Every UX designer needs a wireframing tool, but not everyone uses the right one for their requirements. Let’s see what you can find on the market…

Invision

Invision is one of the best choices when we are talking about prototyping tools. And it’s not just a prototyping tool, it’s also a collaboration and workflow platform. InVision is ideal for creating fast click-through prototypes of web, desktop and mobile applications that can be easily shared.

Pros:

  • Markable screens
  • Clean UI
  • Realtime sharing and commenting functions
  • Easy to use, simple and fast
  • Integration with other services. Craft and Inspect

Cons:

  • Limited customer support
  • No responsive features
  • Limited interactions

Price: starts from $15 / month

 

Axure

Axure is the most used prototyping tool at UX studio. So it’s no question that we highly recommend it. You can do literally anything with Axure. The complexity gives you many possibilities to expand your mind.

Pros:

  • Great interactions
  • Drag and drops
  • Multiple platforms
  • Master elements

Cons:

  • Too complicated for newbies
  • Quite expensive
  • Limited functions in the standard edition
  • Mobile views need to be improved
  • Complex prototypes tend to be slow

Price: $29 / user / mo

 

UXpin

Many designers and product teams use UXpin. Perfect choice for a collaborative UX design tool.

Pros:

  • Clean UI
  • Supports other UX deliverables aside from prototypes

Cons:

  • No master elements
  • Moderate learning curve
  • No desktop app

Price: starts from $19 / month

Mockplus

Mockplus is a fast, easy and smart way for prototyping. It works on multiple platforms and has multiple export options. Definitely has to be on this list.

Pros:

  • Multiple platforms
  • Drag and drop interactive functions
  • Multiple export options

Cons:

  • Lack of responsive design features
  • Team collaboration feature needs to be improved

Price: $10 / month

Proto.io

With Proto.io you can create fully interactive hi-fidelity prototypes. And it will work exactly like a real application. Give it a try!

Pros:

  • Allows a timer to be integrated into screen transitions
  • UI libraries
  • Advanced capabilities including animations, transitions, screen states, scrollable containers

Cons:

  • Long learning curve
  • Too many features
  • Hotspot indicators only on web view

Price: starts from $12 / month

Balsamiq

“Life’s too short for bad software! With Balsamiq Mockups, anyone can design great” – One of my favourite sentences from Balsamiq. 🙂

Pros:

  • Impressive for nontechnical users
  • Fast
  • Inbuilt collaboration function
  • Gives you the feeling of paper sketching

Cons:

  • Limited canvas size
  • Limited quantity of elements

Price: starts from $12 / month

JustinMind

JustinMind is designed for web and mobile app prototyping. To be honest we haven’t tried it, but we read positive feedback about it. If you have any experience regarding JustinMind please share it with us in the comment section!

Pros:

  • Multi-platform
  • HTML export
  • Clean UI

Cons:

  • Small storage
  • Customer support

Price: starts from $19 / month

 

Adobe experience design

Don’t need to waste a lot of words on it. One of the perfect, all-in-one UX design tools approaches from Adobe. If you have’t tried it, then it’s time to download!

Pros:

  • Beautiful UI
  • Multiple functions (not just prototyping)
  • Drag and drop masking

Cons:

  • No leading adjustment
  • Limited prototyping features

Price: N/A

Marvel

Marvel is a simply designed prototyping and collaboration UX design tool.

Pros:

  • Quickly create prototypes
  • Edit mode on mobile
  • Hotspot indicators on mobile

Cons:

  • Limited transactions and animations
  • No integrated client feedback
  • Does not resize to fit prototype in viewport for web viewer

Price: starts from $12 / month

Principle

Principle is one of our favorite ones when we would like to test animations in the prototyping phase.

Pros:

  • Animations and interactions
  • Timelines
  • Works seamlessly with Sketch

Cons:

  • Only for mac
  • Works only for small interactions, not for complex prototypes
  • Works only with Sketch

Price: $129

Origami

Origami is a new tool for designing modern interfaces, built and used by designers at Facebook.

Pros:

  • Very active user community
  • Perfect for mobile and tablet prototypes

Cons:

  • It can be hard to find out how to do things and which (of the many) patches to use

Price: N/A

Pen and paper

“Big ideas often start with a simple drawing. Whether it’s a new business idea or the solution to a problem. The same is also true for great User Experiences.” We at UX studio deeply believe in that. We start every design project on paper. Do you use a pen and a paper at the beginning of the design?

Pros:

  • Quick
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • No animations
  • Many limitations

Price: from $1

 

UI design tools

ux design tools

When you have to create a pixel perfect UI design then you need a perfect tool. But hold on. For decades PS has been the industry standard for UI design, but in the past years many challengers have appeared on the market. Let’s see them!

Adobe Photoshop

We still use Adobe Photoshop even though there are many better, faster and cheaper options on the market. The reason is that Photoshop is still the industry standard. You can do everything with it and many developers only accept projects in .psd files.

Pros:

  • You can do anything with it
  • Photo corrections and manipulations
  • Integrated stock library
  • Still the industry standard

Cons:

  • Many useless features for UI.
  • Expensive
  • Overwhelming interface

Price: $19.99 / month

Sketch

It’s no secret. Sketch is our favorite. It’s fast and flexible. Designed for UI designers. Unfortunately it just works on Mac.

Pros:

  • Made for UI / web / mobile designers
  • 100% digital focus
  • Large community
  • Free plugins and resources

Cons:

  • Only for mac users
  • Difficult to manage layers
  • Still has some bugs

Price: $99

Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is a professional graphic design software with perfect UI and a cheap price. Take a look!

Pros:

  • Cheap solution
  • Lovable UI
  • Million percent zoom

Cons:

  • No custom grids

Price: €39.99

Adobe Illustrator

The twin of Photoshop. Illustrator is the industry-standard tool for vector graphics. Don’t need to introduce it if you have been in the business for a while.

Pros:

  • Mac and Windows users
  • Drawing anything
  • Extensive feature list
  • Great for designing logos and icons
  • Still the industry standard for vector design

Cons:

  • Subscription only
  • No pixel preview mode on retina
  • 100 artboard limit
  • No customizable grids

Price: $19.99 / mo

Collaboration / communication tools

trello board

When you have to work together with other teams you need collaboration tools. We’ve recently written a blogpost about remote work and recommended many tools there. Here are some more:

Zeplin

We use Zeplin for handing over our design projects to developers. I’d say this is the best option.

Pros:

  • Sketch and Photoshop integrations
  • You can use it as a prototyping tool

Cons:

  • No cons we love it 🙂

Price: starts from $0 (only 1 project / month)   

Avocode

A competitor of Zeplin. We tried it as well but we found Zeplin was better. But maybe you’ll like it. Or have you tried it? What was your impression?

Pros:

  • Mac, Windows and Linux
  • CSS export

Cons:

  • Only 14 days free trial

Price: starts from $6.75 / month

Inspect

Inspect is a pixel-perfect handsoffs and engineering collaboration tool. It’s new and very promising. Do you have any experince with Inspect?

Pros:

  • If you already use Invision then you don’t need to subscribe to another service for collaboration.

Cons:

  • Since it is very fresh we don’t know much about that

Price: from $15 / month combined with Invision

Slack

“A messaging app for teams who put robots on Mars.” Slack is the most common used messaging app nowdays. If you haven’t used it, now is the time to start. 

Pros:

  • Channels
  • Teams
  • Fast and easy

Cons:

  • No history available for disappeared messages
  • A bit expensive if you don’t want limitations

Price: starts from $0 (limitations)

Trello

Trello is a free, flexible and visual way to organize anything. We use Trello in almost all of our projects. And clients love it. 

Pros:

  • Free
  • Real time updates
  • A board for a project and you can see all the items on one page

Cons:

  • No gantt
  • No calendar
  • Can’t write documents or wiki about boards, only simple description

Price: $0

Basecamp

Basecamp is one of the most common web-based project management tools.

Pros:

  • You can create similar projects from templates that you create, it will save you hours.
  • Multi-language.
  • Commenting on just about anything.

Cons:

  • Quite expensive

Price: $99 / month

Prevue

Prevue is a stunning design presentation tool. You can get fast client feedback through it. Get familiar with Prevue.

Pros:

  • Fast
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • 14 days trial

Price: $5 / month

Concept inbox

It’s a visual collaboration tool for creative works. You can discuss design and video pieces visually, track changes and prototype together with your team and your clients.

Pros:

  • 30 days free trial
  • Designed for designers
  • Real-time collaboration

Cons:

  • Expensive

Price: $14 / month

Red Pen

This is just great. Red Pen is the fastest feedback tool for visual teams.

Pros:

  • Great idea
  • Clean UI

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • 14 days free trial

Price: $20 / month

RealtimeBoard

RealtimeBoard is an online whiteboard tool. It’s very easy to use and is a  fast collaboration platform for agile product teams, UX/UI designers, project leaders, marketers and creatives.

Pros:

  • Designed for agile products, UI and UX teams
  • Slack integration

Cons:

  • Customer support

Price: starts from $0 / 3 team member

 

Have I missed something? I am interested in finding out what you use for particular cases, so leave us a comment down below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn and share this list!