UI and UX design are two of the disciplines which have flourished in the information age. It’s a requirement for any company in the digital space to keep these essentials in mind at all times, in order to be competitive in what is a saturated space. UX designers with an eye for carefully curating experiences are valued now more than ever, and just like any other creative profession, there are tools required to achieve a finished product. For the budding designers and seasoned veterans alike, we are breaking down below the Top 5 UX UI software.
While it seemed like just a dream to be spoiled for choice when it came to software for UI design a decade ago, this has become a reality in the present. As designers, we always are deep diving within ourselves, we extract creativity from any and every aspect of our lives, and while the tools we use may not have an influence on the creative process necessarily, they are a vital part of the process.
UX UI Design Tool #1: Sketch
Over the past decade, Sketch has established itself as a powerful force in the design space, making it an obvious inclusion in our list of the top 5 UX UI software. So dominant has Sketch’s ten year long reign been that it has become near synonymous with the idea of UX UI design. Sketch was so successful in fact, that Apple granted it their coveted Design Award in the year 2012. To list all the architectures and interfaces which were created on Sketch would be nothing short of a herculean task, so we’ll just name a few. Facebook, Nintendo, and Porsche all possess products whose interfaces were wireframed on Sketch.
The major caveat that comes along with Sketch is the fact that it is only available on MacOS. This is a major sore point since it puts a major damper on collaboration between large teams, which surely would be using a diverse array of operating systems. However, for those in possession of an Apple device, Sketch should be up there, if not right at the top for best design tools. For all the budding UX designers out there, looking for a well-established application to do their UX UI design work on, Sketch is sure to not just satisfy, but inspire your work.
UX UI Design Tool #2: Adobe XD
Being decidedly the new kid on the block when it comes to the UI UX design software space, Adobe XD only just saw its first stable release in late 2017, so it may be shocking that it has made our list of the top 5 UX UI software so rapidly. Right off the bat, any product with the Adobe stamp on it deserves a deeper look, since they’ve been designing enterprise products for what seems like decades now. Not to mention, the likes of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro have all set the industry standard in their various disciplines. Despite being late to the party, XD can go toe to toe with the best UI design software in the world. In fact, there are countless designers which switched to Adobe XD from other UX UI design applications solely on the rationale that it’s far easier to integrate work on the Creative Cloud infrastructure, using an ecosystem like workflow.
XD has the power to import files directly from Adobe’s many other applications, allowing for seamless integration. Furthermore, as with other Adobe products, XD has a vast plugin support from third party developers, giving way to a near infinitely customizable application, so no two designers will have exactly the same functionality on their XD. For newer designers looking to integrate their Adobe ecosystem into a UX UI design app, XD is the one for you.
UX UI Design Tool #3: Figma
Figma was founded in the year 2016, and has essentially built it’s vast user base as a UX UI design tool on the tenet of providing as much flexibility as possible, which is what earns it a spot on our top 5 UX UI software list. Right off the bat, the USP of Figma is very much that it can be operated solely as a web based application. While other applications do require some kind of a download, Figma separates itself from the pack in that regard. This convenience allows for easy sharing, let’s say with a client, who may not possess the design tools, in order to show works in progress.
Another major benefit of Figma is that it allows for major collaboration between multiple UX UI designers at a time. Similarly to how Google Docs allows for simultaneous edits from multiple systems, Figma does it in a similar way with updates and changes being applied in real-time for all viewers. It goes without saying that any tool which so strongly supports collaboration makes the cut for one of the best in its segment, so Figma gets a major stamp of approval for use in larger design firms and organizations.
UX UI Design Tool #4: ProtoPie
ProtoPie takes the fourth spot on our list of the top 5 UX UI design software. Another one of the big hitters in the design space, ProtoPie has been used in wireframing applications for the likes of Microsoft and Google since the year 2014, when it was founded. Widely praised by independent designers and large corporations alike, ProtoPie prides itself on facilitating the creation of designs which are not just functional, but stunning at the same time. This is to be expected seeing as ProtoPie’s founder, Tony Kim is a former Google employee himself.
As if this app didn’t have enough clout as is, it received the Red Dot Award for communications design in the year 2017. Although decidedly less popular amongst designer circles than the likes of the aforementioned Sketch and Figma, ProtoPie does warrant a second glance for designers looking for an alternative to the most popular UI UX designing software. For anyone looking to hop over to ProtoPie, there’s no time like the present since as of June 2020, the 5.0 version of the app is due to launch, and bring about many unique features and benefits to all the enthusiasts which seek it.
UX UI Design Tool #5: Framer X
Lastly, we come onto Framer, which is yet another extremely popular tool, and one of the top 5 UX UI software in the design space. Somewhat marred by it’s relatively small size compared to its aforementioned competitors. Framer seems like an app for the people, and is clearly inspired by the adage ‘jack of all trades’, seeing as it includes some of the finest features found in other UX UI design apps, amalgamated into one. The remainder of the saying ‘master of none’, doesn’t seem nearly as fitting to describe Framer, since it is the preferred tool for thousands of designers worldwide.
Much like Figma, it is web-based, and was built with seamless, real time collaboration in mind first. What separates Framer from the pack is that instead of using competition in the attritive sense, it uses it positively, encouraging the use of multiple UX UI design tools, and recognizing the strengths which come with that process. In fact, Framer has published many blogs on their website on how to use their tool in collaboration with others effectively. To the designers out there looking for an inclusive, integrative tool which allows for limitless flexibility, Framer may just be the one for you.
That wraps up our list of the top 5 UX UI software out there. Evidently, there is no shortage of tools with which one can create intuitive and aesthetic interfaces and experiences. UX UI designers have more choices than ever before, and each tool provides its own value proposition and feature list. The choice of which tool to use for prototyping and wireframing is a big one, but also one which begs to be made, here’s hoping this list was helpful to all the designers out there, both new and old.
Frequently Asked Questions
Out of the entire Creative Cloud family, Adobe XD is probably the most suited to be a software for UI design. Undoubtedly, it is one of the newer solutions in this space, however, it goes without saying that Adobe are the masters of creating user-friendly products for creatives.
In order to create a UI design, you must first learn to use software for UI design. As mentioned in the article, experimenting with software such as Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch will give you a foundational understanding of what UI is, and how it is made, which can then be supplemented with further reading and studies.
Perhaps a decade ago yes, but in a modern context, no, UI does not require an understanding of coding. However, this is not to say that an understanding of coding cannot help a UI designer, because it certainly can. But with the power of modern software for UI design, one can easily excel as a UI designer without knowing much about coding.
The article above mentions some of the best software for UI design, but most UX designers would be using similar tools when constructing wireframes as well! Any of these will allow you to hone your UX design skills, no matter your level. To recap, our top 3 selections were;
2. Adobe XD