Best Tools for UX Design

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If you want to become a top UX designer, you need these tools in your toolbox. Carry out the same user experience processes as top UX designers with these must-have tools.

There are numerous UX design tools out there which can help you with your design process so it’s certainly confusing for newbies. In this article, I’ve put together a list of my favorite tools in the hopes of providing you with insight into some awesome UX programs to use when designing your next digital product.

Balsamiq

Balsamiq UX Tool Wireframe

Balsamiq is an amazing wireframe tool that’s focused on low-fidelity.

Balsamiq has consciously chosen a hand-drawn and cartoonist style of displaying elements. This takes the complexity out of the design and forces you to focus on the placement of elements. You won’t get the chance to “accidentally” create a full-fledged mock-up.

Availability: Web (cloud) / Windows / macOS

Pricing: Starts at $9/month

Figma

Figma Prototyping Tool

Figma is a collaborative prototyping tool.

The best thing about Figma is the ability to co-edit live with your colleagues. Besides that, the tool has a nice interface that allows for the insertion of elements, animations and code in order to create high-fidelity prototypes.

Availability: Windows / macOS. Figma also offers a mobile app to mirror prototypes

Pricing: Starts at $12 per editor, per month

Sketch

sketch interface

If you have any UI design experience, you’ve heard of Sketch. And there are quite a few reasons why it’s one of the design tools that’s so revered.

Being able to make universal changes — whether it’s through their library of symbols, layer styles, or text styles, or its smooth resizing and alignment features — saves designers time to deliver consistent prototypes. It takes out what’s tedious and lets designers jump in and create. And with a multitude of third-party plugins that integrate without problems, there’s no shortage of tools out there that can be used with Sketch.

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Popular readFrom Sketch to Webflow: how to turn mockups into live websites

Axure

Axure homepage

Axure functions in prototyping and keeping track of the workflow. It features a smooth interface to document as you go. High fidelity drives this app, resulting in prototypes full of details.

Axure offers many of the other features of popular prototyping and UI design tools. It allows for testing of functionality and puts everything together for an easy developer handoff. This, combined with an emphasis on communication, ensures that everyone on a project is kept up-to-date with progress and changes as they happen in real time, making Axure a solid choice for UI design.

Maze

Maze

Maze

Maze is a powerful rapid testing platform that allows designers to run in-depth tests with or without prototypes, and to test and validate ideas, concepts, or copy.

The range of testing available is hugely valuable to designers working in every stage of the process. Deep user insights can be garnered from usability tests with open-ended follow-up questions, which brings designers and real users more closely aligned than ever. Meanwhile, actionable quantitative metrics from A/B tests, success rates, misclick rates, and page heatmaps can directly inform designers on a direction to take.

Maze offers broad integration options, tying in third-party prototyping and wireframing tools like Figma, Adobe XD, InVision, Marvel, and Sketch. Pairing Maze’s testing features with these UI design tools means that good design decisions are constantly being justified, while poor ideas are scrapped early on.

The software continues to be useful even before or after designers move from the prototype stage to creating the actual product. Running research surveys and gathering user feedback ensures that the product never strays too far from what users want or expect. Running on assumptions is never a good idea—as Gabriel Kirmaier of UX Bites says, “When we learn from the user, we make better products.”

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Maze works on: Browsers
Pricing: Maze is free for individual projects, while paid plans are available at $25 per user/month

Adobe XD

Adobe XD

Adobe XD

XD is Adobe’s UI design software, focused on creating product prototypes, mobile apps, and websites. It provides designers with the tools they need to create fully-fledged prototypes, including workflows, element creation, animated transitions, other dynamic elements, and more.

A benefit of using a tool from a suite as impressive as Adobe’s is that they, unsurprisingly, integrate perfectly with each other. And while tools like Photoshop, in particular, do reach the high end of pricing, larger companies will find the Creative Cloud package enticing, since many products are made available together, such as Illustrator and InDesign.

Adobe XD works on: Windows and macOS
Pricing: A free plan is available for single documents, with $9.99/month as starting plan price.

InVision

InVision

InVision

InVision is a versatile design tool that has a strong focus on enabling a top user experience. Using Invision, a UX/UI designer can go from outlining the user journey to collaborating on early design, to wireframes and prototypes, and finally to its design handoff features. Having a single platform that takes users from early brainstorms to development is exceptionally useful.

Of all the above features, InVision’s prototyping tool leads the way. Users can create interactive prototypes, which automatically adjust according to the device and orientation, along with their colleagues. Alongside this is InVision Studio—the new standalone digital design and UX tool. InVision Studio offers an impressive suite of features, such as a vector-drawing tool, interactive designs, and built-in animations.

InVision works on: macOS, and Windows
Pricing: Free for up to 3 documents, paid plans start at $7.95 per user/month

Conclusion

Do you want to design the best user experience that will persuade your users and keep them coming back? You should follow these UX design tools that will help you improve your site’s UX and make it more attractive.

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You don’t need expensive equipment or abundant time and resources in order to conduct your own user experience (UX) studies: some pen and paper, a camera and some basic websites and apps will get you started. While this may seem like a fairly daunting list, all but one of the items on this page are entirely free of charge — the exception being Adobe’s Photoshop (which can be had for less than $10 on most platforms).

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