Best 5 UX/UI Tools for web design prototypes in 2021

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When it comes to user experience and user interface design there are some things we need to keep in mind, and one of them are the tools we use in order to deliver good results, improve productivity, and speed. In this article, I’ll show what are the 5 best UX/UI design tools that can help you to succeed in your design projects in 2021.

I’ve been using design tools since 2017 when I properly started in the field as a UX/UI designer. By that time Adobe XD was in its beta version and rapidly started to gain some followers around the globe. Today there are many options that you can try, based on your OS platform and wallet. Hopefully almost all of them are FREE.

No more talking and let’s take a look!

Table of content

1) XD

Adobe XD Interface

Price: FREE / Paid plans

Platforms: Windows 10 / Mac OS

Is a vector-based tool developed by Adobe. It helps you to rapidly create web design mockups and prototypes to display connections between the views that you design. You can create UI designs for both desktop and mobile screens.

Between 2019-2020 they launched and improved the collaborative option (only for paid plans) which allows you to work on documents along with other designers in your team in real time.

On the other hand, as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, you can also edit images directly from Photoshop, import and edit vectors from Adobe Illustrator and handle SVG files easily. 

Wait is that it? No, there’s also a bit more! You can also integrate with other platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello, Jira, and more!

If you are looking to extend its functionalities, there’s an option to install plugins. For example, in my case I use a plugin to fill with “Lorem ipsum” text when I’m creating my designs.

Plans and pricing

XD Plans and Pricing

Are you beginner in the UX/UI world? Here you can find some Cool and FREE XD templates to work on.

Pros

Cons

2) Figma

Price: FREE / Paid plans

Platforms: Windows 10 / macOS / Linux (Using a web browser)

Figma is another great prototype tool for UX/UI designers. It is mainly web browser focused, which means you can use it in different operating systems like Windows, MacOS or any other Linux based machine, great for designers who usually work on the go! The only thing you need is a browser with internet connection, preferably Google Chrome.

It also has desktop apps for both Windows and macOS systems.

Another cool feature on Figma is that can import files from Sketch, which is also another tool we will describe in this post.

Talking about usability, compared to the other competitors on this list, the learning curve tends to be a bit more complex specially if you are unfamiliar with some UX/UI concepts. But yet, it has a community with tutorials and resources so you can get most of your answers solved.

On the integration side, you are able to install plugins to extend its main functionalities as well and connect with a bunch prototyping and user testing tools (some of them developer oriented) and productivity tools like Slack, Jira, Dropbox, Coda, among others. Keep also in mind that some of these integrations may required to have a paid subscription.

Plans and pricing

Pros

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3) InVision App & Studio

Price: FREE / Paid plans

Platforms: Studio (Windows 10 / macOS), Freehand and InVision (Cross browser platform)

InvisionApp is one of the big players in the prototyping tools field. It was (if not the first) one of the pioneers to launch a tool that helped UX designers and agencies to connect interfaces and display a real user flow of websites and apps.

In my early days as a designer, in 2017, it used to be very limited. In order to create app flows, you needed to upload all the screenshots created in Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch and then finally create a connected prototype.

Now in 2020, they have Studio, a strong desktop based app that will help you to design and create your prototypes directly like if you were using any other design tool, also you will be able to publish your projects from the Studio diectly into InVision and share with your clients.

If you still use Photoshop for UI design you’re able to sync your files by using a plugin called Craft for Photoshop, it will allow you to send your design directly into Invision.

The learning curve with Studio doesn’t seem to be very complicated, its user interface it’s like mix between Figma and Adobe XD so if you have used any of those before, for sure it won’t be an issue. 

It also comes with the ability to install apps (plugins) from their own marketplace called App Store

Like the other tools in this category, it allows you to integrate with some productivity tools and platforms, also has its own libray of assets.

And last but not least, one of the coolest features that I enjoy when I give feedback or create quick wireframes, is the InVision Free hand tool. It will give you the sense of actually being using a paper to draw the first draft of a website or app.

Plans and pricing

Pros

Cons

4) Sketch

Sketch user interface in dark mode. Source: Sketch.com

Price: Paid / $99 one-time payment

Platforms: macOS

It is considered one of the strongest competitors in everything related to user interface design, and also have a big community of Mac users. Sketch is another vector graphic and design-focused tool. 

It was released for the first time in 2010 and have won several awards, some of them like Apple Design Award in 2012. Since that time it’s been getting more and more fans inside the Mac OS community.

As the other tools in this article, it comes with a bunch of features like the ability install extensions, create and reuse components, OpenType fonts, grids, preset layouts, boolean and math operators, and also a pixel-level precision which will works beautifully on a Mac computer screen.

It also comes with a strong prototyping feature with the ability to share with collaborators and developers.

Since it’s a native macOS app you will have all the operating features from the OS giving you a fully native experience if you are a Mac lover.

One negative thing is that only can be used on a Mac computer, which make it very limited to a huge portion of users from other platforms like Windows.

Plans and pricing

Sketch plans & pricing. Source: Sketch.com

Pros

Cons

5) Axure RP and Axure Cloud

Axure RP 9 Interface. Source: XDTemplates.co

Price: Paid / Starting $25 per user per month

Platforms: Windows / macOS

Last but not least, we have AxureRP. 

Plans and pricing

Axure RP 9 plans & pricing. Source: www.axure.com

Pros

Cons

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