Choosing a design tool is quite similar to selecting a car! You must consider multiple use cases, price, and your current skill level. Sometimes, you might even need more than one. 😏 We collected our favorite design and prototyping tools that you should absolutely check out. Enjoy!
Balsamiq Studio has its unique sketchy style that is hard to mistake with anything else. If you're searching for a rapid low-fidelity prototyping tool that you can learn in no time, explore no more. The first version of Balsamiq was released in June 2008, and now the tool comes in 3 versions — as a plugin and web and desktop apps.
Balsamiq Studio offers 75 UI components and 180+ icons that designers can arrange with a drag&drop editor to build basic wireframes. More importantly, you can link screens and present a simple live prototype to your team before rushing into development. Balsamiq Studio doesn't have a free version but offers a free 1-month trial.
Axure is an interaction-centered tool, heavy-loaded with capabilities. Despite its substantial price ($300-504 yearly), many designers consider Axure unparallel when it comes to wireframing and prototyping.
In contrast with Balsamiq and other prototyping tools, Axure handles even the tiniest interactions that make the experience delightful for users. It allows you to create everything in one place: user flows, customer journey maps, storyboards, sitemaps, information architecture, wireframes, and complex prototypes.
When Figma came along, the battle for the title of the best graphics editor between Sketch or Adobe XD started to heat up. At first glance, Figma simply looks like another alternative design and prototyping desktop and cloud-based tool. However, it's one step ahead of others in terms of grid flexibility, a vector tool, symbol library, or style guide.
Moreover, Figma offers a seamless experience when prototyping, presenting designs, and gathering feedback from teammates and clients. With its collaboration features, it's an ideal design tool for remote teams.
Released in the year 2013, the Marvel app is a counterpart of the Invision App and has already attracted over 2 million users worldwide. How does it work? After you upload or integrate designs from Photoshop or Sketch, you can build micro and screen interactions to create real-life desktop and mobile prototypes for user testing.
Marvel is a top choice of startups that need to coordinate their processes fast and easy. User experience shows that Marvel requires less effort and thought in contrast to InVision.
With UXPin, you get the best of two worlds - powerful interaction and collaborative capabilities. First off, it provides regularly updated libraries of iOS, Material Design, and Bootstrap components and icons and allows importing designs from Photoshop or Sketch. You can animate states and page transitions and add rules for conditional interactions.
Second, UXPin is an overall fantastic real-time collaboration tool that allows co-designing, leaving notes and feedback, and assigning comments to teammates.
Framer is a spanking new tool for designers who believe static screens don't provide developers with the whole picture of how the app should actually work. Originally, Framer is a code-based tool for creating prototypes, but it's been growing design capabilities. It allows creating intricate high-fidelity prototypes that go beyond simple screen transitions and animates data inputs or media player.
With its seamless usability, collaboration and design features, and short learning curve, Framer has everything it takes to become the leading design tool.