Software design has come a long way over the last decade. Now, designers have a wide assortment of tools. As a result, processes are easier, faster, and more efficient. These tools can help through the initial sketching and prototyping stages. Also, they can ease processes by creating specifications and code snippets. Here, we'll focus on the best software design tools. These include different features for different technical and financial needs.
5 Top-Notch Tools for User Interface Design
Figma for UI Design
Figma is an online platform for UI design, launched in 2016. Its original idea was first born, in 2011, with the question, “Could a tool for designers be on the web?” It turns out the answer was yes. As a result, Figma combines design, real-time collaborative editing, and prototyping. With it, it opens up a new world of possibilities.
The web platform has some powerful features. To name a few, it has instant art designs, modern pen tools, and plugins. Further, it has accessible libraries, flexible styles, and OpenType. Its primary focus is on collaboration, open-source ideals, and community. That's a massive part of what makes Figma a great tool to work with.
Recently, Figma introduced FigJam. This online whiteboard allows teams to come up with ideas and brainstorm together. With it, you can map user flows, processes, and systems. Also, you can access templates for diagramming, design sprints, and mood boards. Another great benefit is its very open and collaborative community. You can find many already-made files, wireframes, plugins, and widgets. Plugins include Unsplash and Anima, and among widgets encompass Poll or Timeline.
This software design tool offers three plans: Starter, Professional, and Organization. While it’s free, The Starter plan has some limits. It has up to three Figma and three FigJam files, unlimited files, plugins, and templates. On its part, The Figma Professional plan costs $12 per editor per month. This plan allows complete files and projects, team libraries, and private projects. It also adds unlimited version history, among other features. Finally, Figma Organization costs $45 per editor per month. It adds features like design system analytics, branching and merging, and private plugins.
AdobeXD for UI Design
Launched in 2016, AdobeXD usage includes web, app, branding, and gaming UX design. This software has some exciting features like 3D transforms and a content-aware layout. Also, the design tool has components, states, and repeat greed. Furthermore, it can import content from Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketch.
If that wasn't enough, it also has auto-animation, vice prototyping, and cloud documents. Moreover, it integrates with over 250 plugins. Another great perk of AdobeXD is that it's not only available in English. Instead, you can find French, German, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese versions.
If you aren’t quite sure, you can take advantage of Adobe XD’s free 7-day trial. Then, it costs $9.99 per month. Another option is to include the whole suite of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps, which starts at $52.99 per month. This suite contains apps like Photoshop, After Effects, and InDesign.
InVision for UI Design
InVision is web-based prototyping, collaboration, and workflow tool. It has over 7 million users worldwide, including most Fortune 100 companies. For instance, these include IBM, Netflix, and Slack. Among its offerings, it has various products. These depend on things like the stage of the software design project and the designers' needs. As a result, it has three categories: Freehand, Cloud, and Studio.
Freehand is an online whiteboard with pre-made and custom templates. It includes voting and exporting features, version history, and integrations. As well it has advanced features for enterprise users. It offers a free plan for individuals and a Pro Plan at $4-4.95/month per user. Cloud provides a collaborative prototype builder and a craft manager. It also has a specs designer and a freehand whiteboard.
Furthermore, it offers integrations with Photoshop, Jira, Storybook, and many more. Cloud offers a free plan for individuals and a Pro Plan at $7.95-9.95/month per user. Finally, Studio is free to download. It's used for design and animation with powerful vector editing. Moreover, it has an adaptive layout, interactive design, and built-in animation. In summary, InVision offers design models, handbooks, and podcasts. Those can help you through the whole design process. Also, it hosts webinars and virtual events for its users to learn and collaborate. Among these, some topics include visual collaborations and design systems.
Sketch for UI Design
Sketch is the most specific software design tool on this list. This is because its primary use is the design of native macOS apps. Moreover, it's both known for being simple and easy to use. It's an excellent UI and UX design tool for mobile, web, and desktop apps. Some companies that use it include Facebook, Google, and Xbox.
The platform offers amazing real-time collaboration. As well it's compatible with industry tools like ProtoPie and Maze. Furthermore, it has extensions for workflow customization, like Pexels and Plant. Other features include flexible vector editing combined with a pixel-level precision design. Also, it has Variable and OpenType fonts, reusable components, and testing options. You can find comprehensive documentation on Sketch’s site if you need it. Further, they held events and meetups for their community. This allows them to share experiences and learn from each other.
If in doubt, you can use Sketch's free trial. Then, you can choose between Standard and Business plans. At first, Standard Plan costs $9/month or $99/year per editor. This plan offers unlimited documents and projects, a work history, and shared libraries. Also, it has a native Mac editor, design inspection, asset download, and team comments. Yet, Business Plan has customizable prices according to different needs and priorities. It adds priority support, single sign-on, and customizable security reviews.
Axure RP for UI Design
Axure RP launched in 2019, so it's kind of new. Yet, it's a great tool for prototyping, including rich web apps. Yet, it's a great tool for prototyping, including rich web apps. Also, it's an excellent tool for team collaboration, as several people can work on the same file. Not to mention you can easily share your prototypes with Axure Cloud. Among its features, it has interaction events and conditional logic.
Also, it includes working forms, multi-state containers, and adaptive views. UX designers can create diagrams, customer journeys, and wireframes. This tool allows integration with some other software design tools. For instance, it integrates with Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD. Moreover, Jira, Confluence, and Slack are some of the other integrations it offers.
The platform has a lot of widget libraries, documentation, and its forum. It also offers a free 30-day trial, after which you can choose between its Pro and Team plans. Pro Plan costs $25-$29 per month per user. It includes unlimited prototypes and reviewers and up to 1,000 projects on Cloud. Also, it offers wireframes, diagrams, and documentation. Team Plan costs $42-49 per month/user. Pro features add co-authoring and team project hosting on Cloud. Its Enterprise Plan also has specialized features.
4 Alternatives for User Interface (UI) Design
UI/UX design doesn't stop there! While previous tools have better worldwide knowledge, some alternatives are emerging. Although they already have a user base, these are promising tools with chances of rising. They're worth catching up on, features, and pricing, so let's look at them!
MockPlus for UI Design
MockPlus is a UI design platform for interactive prototyping and unified collaborations. Among other features, it offers pre-built components, icons, and drag-and-drop functionalities. MockPlus Classic and MockPlus Cloud are part of its software design tools.
Its Cloud has constructive product flow, code snippets, and Figma and Sketch plugins. Since it’s pretty comprehensive, it’s helpful for PMs, designers, and front-end devs. Also, it offers a free basic plan with limited features and then plans to start at $71.4/year.
When it comes Classic, it offers a 15-free trial and then starts at $199/year for individuals. Moreover, MockPlus offers a design system manager for better teamwork. You can create scalable design systems and share visual languages with a team. As a result, the design-to-code workflow becomes much smoother and faster.
MockFlow for UI Design
MockFlow is an easy-to-use design solution focused on wireframing and product design. Its wireframing provides a digital whiteboard to visualize your UI. Also, it has thousands of pre-built components and preview and iteration capabilities. Further, you can add power-ups for prototyping, code snippets, and markups.
When it comes to its product design, it includes spaces for web design, mobile apps, SaaS apps, and branding. In this case, power-ups include site maps, personas, documentation, proposals, and prototypes. MockFlow also integrates with Windows, macOS, Slack, and Jira, among other software.
It offers four plans: Basic, Wireframing, Product Design, and Enterprise. First, Basic is free and simple: including 1 UI drawing project and five reviewers. Wireframing, at $14 per editor/month, allows five design files, embeds, and two power-ups. It also includes a revision history, a style guide, and various integrations. As a counterpart, Product Design's price is $16 per editor per month. While it has no restrictions, it also adds a Photoshop plugin and a prototype. If you want Enterprise, you'll need to request a note. But it comes with all the perks MockFlow has to offer.
Wondershare for UI Design
WonderShare Mockitt allows you to create interactive and animated prototypes. As well it includes flowcharts and graphic design. Also, it supports real-time comments, mind maps for brainstorming, team libraries, and specifications.
This tool is both quite comprehensive and easy to use. It has a limited-time free trial but offers several plans for different purposes. These include individuals, teams, and businesses. Moreover, it has plans that gaze at students and teachers.
In summary, teams and businesses can sign up for a $99/user yearly plan, and students get special offers. You can find a blog and a user guide on the website. Besides, its community is constantly collaborating with new components and resources.
Indigo.Design for UI Design
Infragistics built this software design tool for fast and code-free prototyping. With Indigo.Design, you can create static wireframes and clickable mockups. It also offers interactional design prototyping. As a powerful tool, it has some significant perks that set it apart from the rest. For instance, its user testing capabilities allow you to get feedback on your design. Also, you can generate code to develop apps.
Its platform comes with a free 30-day trial, after which you can opt for one of its paid subscriptions. Indigo.Design Essential includes cloud prototyping for web, mobile, and desktop projects. Also, it has remote user testing and analytics. Moreover, it allows video replays for user tests and group and team collaboration. Indigo.Design adds UI kits, the WYSIWYG Drag & Drop Web App Builder. Besides, it offers the CodeGen Plug-In for Visual Studio Code.
As you can see, there are plenty of software design tools to choose from, depending on your specific needs. Moreover, many are switchable and combinable through integrations and exporting features. As a result, you can take advantage of different design elements. We hope our list of best software design tools has given you an overview of what’s available. Which one's your favorite? Which one do you think fits the best with your team and your design workflow?