What Tools Do UI Designers Use?
To think about the tools that UI designers use, we must first review what a UI designer does. UI design establishes visual touchpoints and creates all of the screens that a user will experience when using a product or service.
A UI designer works closely with a UX designer. The UX designer uses research, creativity, and strategic thinking to make a plan for a website or app. Then, the UI designer translates that plan into interactive mockups and products.
For example, UI designers implement changes that help users transition between screens more easily. They also improve fonts and colors to make buttons and other elements easier to see. Let’s learn more about the most popular tools UI designers use!
12 Popular UI Design Tools
UI design tools exist to make this role more efficient and collaborative. Here are some of the most common tools UI designers use:
1. Adobe XD: Adobe XD is one of the many powerful apps in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. XD allows designers and teams to easily create experiences for websites, mobile apps, voice interfaces, games and more. Check out our free Adobe XD course to learn more! Designlab Student Perk: 1 year complementary single app subscription ($119 value).
2. Balsamiq: Made to quickly create website or app wireframes. Supplies a User Interface library with drag and drop design elements.
3. Figma: When it comes to design software, Figma is the cool new kid on the block. It combines the simplicity of Sketch with real-time collaboration features and powerful extra tools. Even better, it runs in your web browser (or as a downloadable app), meaning you can use it on any computer. Check out our free Figma course to learn more! Designlab Student Perk: Get one year of Professional for free ($144 value).
4. Flinto: Made for Mac users, this tool is perfect for creating screen transitions, dropping GIFs and videos into designs, creating micro-interactions, adding sound effects, and much more. You can also preview your mobile design in its iOS viewer. Designlab Student Perk: 50% off.
5. Framer X: Offers tools for creating and testing working prototypes. Also hosts plugins and offers UI kits, which you can use to add social media channels or media players to your designs. Designlab Student Perk: 50% off Yearly Pro.
6. Sketch: Since bursting onto the scene in 2010, Sketch has become an essential part of any modern UI designer’s toolkit. It's easier to use than Photoshop and Illustrator, and could help you to upskill fast. Check out our free Sketch course! Designlab Student Perk: 50% off ($50 value).
7. Marvel: Provides options to create basic, static wireframes or highly detailed, interactive wireframes and prototypes. Allows for product testing and includes the Handoff feature that generates code for developers.
8. InVision Studio: A suite of design tools used by both UX and UI designers to create working, dynamic prototypes, including animations. Has an online whiteboard where team members can work on shared ideas. Designlab Student Perk: 6 months free ($90 value).
9. Craft: This is a plugin for InVision Studio. As you work, it syncs to your other applications, such as Sketch or Photoshop. It also allows you to place popular stock photo assets and other information into your design.
10. Origami Studio: Used to create advanced, complex working prototypes of apps and web pages. Considered more complex than beginners’ tools, such as InVision.
11. Proto.io: Focused on helping UI designers make prototypes that appear to be real apps or websites. Equipped with feedback tools that allow both text and video comments. Also integrates with other software such as Sketch, Adobe XD, Adobe Photoshop, Google Fonts, and Adobe Fonts.
12. Zeplin: A collaboration tool for UI designers. Takes uploaded designs and converts them into guidelines and shareable specs, with the option of generating snippets of code. Also integrates with Slack.
What’s good to note is when you sign up for learning with Designlab, you get more than just rigorous coursework and 1-to1 mentorship. You also get access to the best tools in the industry, at a serious discount. Check out our Perks page for more information.