It’s not enough for a product to work correctly; it must also give the user an enjoyable experience. The more the customer likes the products or services, the more likely they will choose that company’s offerings over those of the competition. And since there’s a lot of competition, an intelligent company must get things right first and provide customers with a fantastic user experience.
Businesses can increase the chances of a great customer experience by giving their app and webpage designers the best UX design tools. This article gives a comprehensive list of the top UX design tools available in 2023.
We will define UX design, list the best UX tools, and even devote some time to UI design tools, since UI and UX are one in the same..
So, what’s UX/UI design, anyway?
What is UX/UI Design?
UX (short for User Experience) design creates extremely user-friendly interfaces that enhance user satisfaction and real-time usability. The UX design process is entirely based on users’ needs. So, any UX designer creating these interfaces should first shape their work based on the user’s needs and perceptions. The designer should ask who will visit the website or use this app. What will they expect from it? How can we make the user’s experience smooth and enjoyable? After the designer does this research, they can create the best UX possible.
On the other hand, UI design involves the user interface. UI designers handle all the visual and interactive elements of the product’s interface, things like buttons, color schemes, icons, spacing, typography, and responsive design.
So, UX creates the product’s overall feel and experience, while UI handles how the product’s interfaces work. And yes, by this logic, UI falls under the UX umbrella. To use a horseback riding analogy, UX is the feeling you get riding a horse, while UI is the reins, saddle, and stirrups.
Let’s look at the best UX tools and design platforms.
Tools for UX Design
Here are some of the best UX design tools available to you in 2023.
Let’s begin with an all-time classic UX design tool. Adobe Photoshop is one of the oldest, most-used image manipulation tools accepted across many graphic design-focused disciplines and is available on Windows, Mac, and the iPad. Thanks to its status in the graphic design and photography industry, Photoshop is one of the finest image manipulation tools today.
Photoshop brings a lot of power and depth to image editing, and you can accomplish many UX-related tasks with it. However, versatility typically means complexity, and Photoshop has a steep learning curve. Luckily, many resources and tutorials are available for anyone wanting to learn how to use Photoshop better. It’s a time investment, but you will have a better command of the software and do more with it in the long run.
- Cost. Photoshop costs $31.49 monthly, $20.99 per month for an annual subscription, or $239.88 if you pay an entire year’s subscription upfront.
Here’s Adobe again. Adobe XD provides designers with vector-based user interface tools to create prototypes and mockups with an interface familiar to Adobe product users. This convenient familiarity and the ability to collaborate in real-time make AdobeXD the go-to for many UI/UX designers. Adobe XD offers designers many sophisticated tools and gives designers what they need to create interactions and other dynamic elements that can be integrated into their prototypes or mockups. AdobeXD appears on many “Top Application” lists because it’s one of the few design platforms that lets designers combine different disciplines without drawbacks or leaving anything out.
- Cost. AdobeXD Single app is $9.99 per month. AdobeXD for Teams is $22.99 per month.
Sketch is a UX design tool exclusively designed for macOS. It’s a vector-based design app used mainly for UI and UX design involving websites and mobile applications. Sketch enjoys great popularity among the UI/UX community, particularly because designers can make universal changes using many valuable tools such as the library of symbols, text styles, layer styles, or Sketch’s smooth resizing and alignment features. These conveniences save designers time and help them deliver timely, consistent prototypes. Furthermore, Sketch removes the tedious chores and frees the designers to immerse themselves in the project and create. Additionally, several third-party plugins seamlessly integrate with Sketch, ensuring there’s no shortage of tools available to use with Sketch.
- Cost. $9 per editor per month or $99 per editor per year. There is also a 30-day free trial.
Many of these listed tools combine UI and UX design, but FlowMapp is dedicated exclusively to UX design. UX relies heavily on building user flows and constructing visual sitemaps, two tasks that happen to be the foundations of FlowMapp’s UX design app.
- Cost. Pricing runs from Free to Pro ($18 per month), to Team ($59 per month), to Agency ($199 per month). If you pay annually instead of by the month, you get 40% off.
InVision is a prototyping tool that lets UX/UI designers create interactive prototypes and design mockups. Amazon, Spotify, HBO, and Netflix use InVision. It’s a cloud-based tool that works smoothly across multiple devices and operating systems and devices. InVision imports pre-existing designs and converts them into interactive prototypes. In addition, it helps designers create low- or medium-fidelity prototypes featuring basic animations at an early stage.
- Cost. InVision is free for up to 10 users and three documents. The Pro plan allows up to 15 users and unlimited documents for $9.95 per month per user, or if you decide to get billed annually, it’s $7.95 per month per user.
UXPin is a web-based design, wireframing, and prototyping UI/UX tool that creates applications, web interfaces, and more and is used by HBO, PayPal, Microsoft, and Netflix. UXPin is easy to learn, offers a complete set of features with considerable depth, and works across devices. Designers can take designs from wireframes to prototypes, then advance into the final development stages. Furthermore, UXPin features collaboration tools that let users share these prototypes and designs quickly. UXPin is an excellent choice for beginners and freelancers who want to become better acquainted with the whole UX design process, and learners can use the UXPin for free by submitting their learner IDs.
- Cost. Pricing ranges from a free limited version to Advanced for $39 per editor per month, Professional for $83 per editor per month, and Company for $149 per editor per month. If you opt for annual billing, you save 20%.
How about some free software? Origami Studio is a design tool created by Facebook for macOS users. It’s primarily used as a prototyping tool, allowing designers to build and share interactive interfaces quickly. Although it has a steep learning curve, it’s worth toughing it out.
Figma is a browser-based interface UX design tool and vector graphics editor that offers fast design and prototyping combined with a smooth, collaborative workflow. If you want an all-in-one tool that covers everything from interactive prototyping to ideation, presented in a highly intuitive interface, look no further. In addition, Figma has plugins for almost everything, simplifying those repetitive tasks.
- Cost. Pricing ranges from a free starter version to Figma Professional ($12 per editor per month), Figma Organization ($45 per editor per month), and Figma Enterprise ($75 per editor per month).
Balsamic boasts a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for even complete newbies to create low-fidelity wireframes. Balsamiq is both a UI and UX tool, and it’s not loaded with excessive features, making it perfect for the newcomer. However, it’s a valuable asset for developers of all experience and skill levels. It’s easy to learn and use and is the perfect tool for wireframing. For designers that want more features to work with, there’s a plethora of built-in and community-generated UI icons and controls.
- Cost. Balsamiq charges by the space. Two projects cost $9 per month or $90 per year; 20 projects cost $49 per month or $490 per year; 200 projects cost $199 per month or $1,990 per year. All plans offer unlimited wireframes and unlimited users.
Mural is an excellent whiteboard application, offering design teams a place to collaborate and hone their skills. It creates a shared workspace that keeps the team connected and allows them to create a plan, coordinate efforts and align the project’s goals. In addition, this application supplies sticky notes, mapping and diagramming, icons, images, and resizable canvases, a perfect tool for UX teams to coordinate and collaborate.
- Cost. Mural offers a free version, supporting three murals and with a scaled-down list of features. Team+ level costs $9.99 per member per month; Business level costs $17.00 per member per month; and Enterprise level pricing requires the customer to contact the company for information.
Axure RP allows UX designers to build realistic, functional prototypes using a series of unlimited combinations like conditions, event triggers, and actions to explore digital experiences. Additionally, designers can create customer journeys, diagrams, wireframes, and other UX documentation alongside rich, functional UX prototypes. Designers can use mouse, touch, and keyboard events to trigger interactions, then add conditions and variables to boost their prototypes. Axure has many widgets and adaptive views and lets you get instant feedback thanks to Microsoft Teams and Slack integrations.
- Cost. Axure offers Axure RP Pro, $25 per month per user, billed annually, or $29 month-to-month, and Axure RP Team, $42 per month per user, billed annually or $49 month-to-month.
Framer is a robust UX design tool that creates stunning interactive designs from beginning to end. Users can design realistic apps and websites in minutes, thanks to pre-made interactive components, polished assets, and layout tools, to name a few. In addition, designers can develop user interfaces for iPhones, Androids, MacOS, and more. Framer offers a range of time-saving, ready-to-use templates that jumpstart any design, project, or wireframe. These templates include UI kits, such as Landing Page Kits, Material Design Kits, and iOS Kits. Additionally, Framer includes app design templates, interactive design templates, project management design templates, and website design templates. Use Framer to create realistic UI/UX designs and collaborate with other designers, copywriters, and developers in real time.
- Cost. There’s a Free version, a Mini version ($5 per month per site), a Basic version ($15 per month per site), and a Pro version ($25 per month per site).
Marvel is a web-based tool that works from the browser, so there’s no need to download or install software or files. Marvel is built for simple, fast design, incorporating wireframing, UI design, and prototyping features. The platform boasts a massive collection of pre-made assets, icons, and images, to help users visualize their ideas and quickly get to their first design. In fact, you can go from your initial idea to wireframe within minutes, thanks to the hundreds of simple wireframe assets Marvel offers. Then, share your creations with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders at the simple click of a button. Marvel’s simple link sharing means users can access the wireframe from anywhere and open it on any device.
- Cost. Marvel has a Free version, a Pro version ($12 per month), and a Team version ($42 per month).
Proto.io is a full-featured, drag-and-drop web app that runs on any device with a web browser and creates high-fidelity prototypes and designs. This app is used to develop application prototypes, making it easy for designers to create interactive mockups with different standard UI elements and transitions. In addition, Proto.io saves designs in the cloud, making it convenient for easy access, updates, and collaboration. Although the application takes some getting used to, breaking through and mastering the program will reward you with the ability to create a great website or application prototypes. It’s worth the effort.
- Cost. There are four pricing levels: Freelancer ($24 per month), Startup ($40 per month), Agency ($80 per month), and Corporate ($160 per month).
Do You Want to Become a UI and UX Expert?
You need more than great UX design tools to become a great designer. You also require skills and talent. This amazing UI UX design bootcamp will equip you with the necessary tools to succeed in a UI or UX career (or both!). UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management will get you certified in just five short months.
You will learn how to use top design tools (Figma, Invision, Balsamiq, Mural & Sketch) and valuable UI/UX design-related skills such as:
- Clickstream Analysis
- Design Thinking
- Empathy mapping
- Gestalt principles
- Information and Interaction Design
- Persona mapping
- Product Designing
- UI and Visual Design
- Usability Testing
- User-centered design
- User Experience Design
According to Glassdoor.com, a UI/UX designer working in the United States makes a yearly average of $79,957, and the salary can go as high as $123K. So, if you’re looking for an exciting career that lets you turn your creativity into a fantastic way of making a living and becoming a part of today’s vibrant IT scene, sign up for this bootcamp, and get the ball rolling. Join up today!