To a lot of people, UX design still means creating beautiful interfaces. But that's not even 1/10th of what UX designers do. From prototyping, wireframing to user testing and collaboration, a UX designer does it all alone.
Back in the day, when the competition was less, UX designers could take their sweet time managing every aspect of design. But now, when there are new design trends every second day, it's impossible to deliver quality work without the help of specialized tools.
Its usability and accessibility have made UX design tools a designer's best friend. These tools can make your work infinitely easier and more enjoyable.
However, there are so many design tools on the market that it can be difficult for designers to decide which one to use. And, if you are just starting to build your design team, these tools will be your holy grail.
At Ruttl, we have a team of excellent designers that have helped us filter out the best UX design tools available on the internet. And, trust us, we have used many design tools.
So, let's get started.
How to select the best UX design tools?
UX designers use UX tools at different stages of work for brainstorming ideas, developing mockups, creating interactive prototypes, and design testing for creating websites and apps.
That's why it's super important that you select the right design tools for yourself and your team to build flawless designs and provide an excellent customer experience.
Here are some features that you should never miss out on when choosing a UX designer tool:
Gels well with your objective: UX tools are mere instruments and not a guarantee of a successful design. As a designer, it's your job to find the tools that help you achieve your goal. Start by highlighting your purpose and then selecting a design tool, not the other way around. Otherwise, you will frame your vision according to the capacity of the design tool and ignore the user's needs.
New features and updates: UX design trends are constantly evolving. Choose a design tool that is updated with the current design trends and is eager to bring new features to its audience. So, instead of changing software with every update, choose the one that will keep evolving.
Know your tool well- Before hitting the payment button, ensure you know your design tools well. Due to intense competition, most design tools come with free trials and extremely detailed, easy-to-use walkthroughs to help users understand the product. You can make use of it when choosing your design tool.
Integrations- Every designer today has a tech stack that they use to build digital products. These tools and your UX design tool should work well in a single ecosystem. and carry out other collaborative tasks as needed for your team
Value for money- Lastly, the design tool should yield value for the money spent. You don't always need expensive tools to create good designs. Many of the UX design tools in this list are super cheap and will be excellent for small and large teams.
Best UX designer tools for UX designers
Here are some of our favorite tools for UX designers that offer amazing features and are the best at what they provide.
If you have just created a brand new website and want validation on the idea, then ruttl is what you need. With this user feedback tool, you can get precise and detailed reviews from users so you can give them the best experience possible. You can easily send shareable links to web pages to your team and let them give their honest feedback.
Collaborate and communicate with customers by addressing their comments and building meaningful relationships. Plus, you don't have to manually track all the comments; instead, you can create a new project for direct user feedback and integrate it with Asana or Trello.
Features of ruttl:
The easiest way to get unfiltered user feedback for your yet-to-be-launched project.
ruttl is one of the best bug tracking tools on the market, with advanced issue tracking features that let you identify bugs in seconds.apps
Integrate with 3000+ apps using Zapier.
No signup is needed for client comments.
You can perform user testing to review web pages, images, and PDFs.
Get feedback on your web apps on ruttl with absolutely no logins needed.
Get instant notifications about client feedback through Slack.
Do instant real-time changes on your webpage through ruttl.
You can create unlimited projects and check all your website edits, comments made, and content changed on web pages from the activity panel.
ruttl can reduce web review time by half, which means quicker feedback, and a better user experience on the site. It is the only solution that allows your customer to participate in customer feedback.
ruttl offers three paid plans: Standard, Pro, and Teams, starting at $13/month. ruttl also offers a completely free plan to try before committing.
Signup and join the 9500+ teams and freelancers that use ruttl daily as their website feedback tool. Click here to get started.
XD is part of the Adobe family dedicated to helping UX/UI designers create high-fidelity prototypes and interactive frameworks. Its drag-and-drop functionality will let you create realistic designs without having to code a thing. Adobe XD works excellently with other Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketch. So, you can easily collaborate with your favorite tools to create flawless designs.
Features of Adobe XD:
Adobe XD allows you to design websites, apps, brands, and games on a no-code interface.
Not only can you add animations and interactions, Adobe XD allows video prototyping to create video commands and integrate voice enabled features.
Preview and test your design with Adobe XD apps on iOS and Android.
XD's content-aware layout lets you automate small edits like resizing or moving objects.
Showcase your work in 3D. Add dimensions to your designs to make them more interactive.
Easily automate your tasks by using over 200+ XD plugins.
Adobe XD offers two plans starting at $9.99/month. You can take their free trial to learn more about the product.
3. Invision- Best for collaboration and design thinking
Invision is a collection of three UX/UI design tools: freehand, spaces, and integrations. Freehand provides a blank canvas for teams to discuss design ideas and further create wireframes and prototypes. Invision spaces lets you collaborate at all stages of the design process, so there is no wasting of time exchanging links or working on different versions. Lastly, integration lets you include your favorite tool directly on your dashboard to speed up the UX design process.
Features of Invision:
Offers vector-based drawings that let you create quick prototypes and responsive designs for all screens.
Invision lets you integrate your favorite tools and media libraries through API integrations.
InVision Design System Manager (DSM) is a content management library that lets you store all your digital assets in one place.
Use Invison's 100+ templates to streamline your workflow and easily collaborate with your team at every stage of making.
Invision offers two paid plans starting at $4.95/user/month. It also has a free plan with many features and would work excellently for individual UX designers.
There is no UX designer that doesn't know about Figma. It is one of the best design and prototyping tools that is useful for all stages of work, from brainstorming ideas to wireframing, diagramming, and creating actual designs. Figma's drag-and-drop user interface editor makes it easy to present ideas and collaborate with your team.
Features of Figma:
Figma allows multiplayer editing where multiple designers can edit at the same time or asynchronously. This means you don't have to create multiple versions and be on the same page with your team.
Figma's FigJam is an ideal place for developers, designers, and product managers to ideate and brainstorm together.
Figma offers robust UI design features with a vector drawing tool that lets you draw in any direction without connecting to the original point.
Automate repetitive tasks with Figma's plugins, widgets, and private extensions.
This prototyping tool lets you turn a static design into an interactive experience without coding. You can easily make UI elements, add subtle interactions, and test your designs on both iOS and Android.
Figma offers two paid plans starting at $15/user/month. It also has a free plan with many features and would work excellently for individual UX designers.
FigJam for whiteboarding is priced individually at $3/user/month.
Sketch is an all-in-one UI design tool that helps you create high-fidelity prototypes, brainstorm new designs, and do real-time collaboration with your team for a seamless workflow. It's the favorite choice of UI designers starting to learn UX design because of its intuitive interface and low learning curve. Sketch offers vector editing with pixel-level precision to seamlessly create snappy designs.
Features of Sketch
Turn your symbols into a template and reuse them anywhere. You can also make a library of symbols, layer and text styles, and color variables that will automatically resize to fit the content.
Browse 700+ plugins, integrations, and extensions from Sketch to make designing accessible and easy to create.
The Sketch workspace lets designers store files, share ideas, get feedback, manage teams, and collaborate in real time.
You can invite developers to inspect and measure designs or download production-ready assets.
Unlimited artboards with customizable grids, design presets, and resizing tools to control the look of your design.
Sketch offers two paid plans starting at $9/user/month. You can also take a 30-day free trial before committing.
Proto.io is another excellent prototyping tool for doing UX and UI design. It is favored by UX designers, product managers, marketers or anyone with a design idea. Its drag and drop user-friendly interface makes it easy for anyone to start designing without having to code. On Proto.io, designers can easily plan, create, and even test their designs while collaborating with their team.
Features of Proto.io
Proto.io offers hundreds of customizable and interactive UI components, an icon library, and an array of sound effects for creating functional prototypes.
Use the masking tool to mask, crop, or create animations without having to leave the editor.
Keep all of your digital assets (images, videos, audio) or links to resources organized in a folder. They are accessible across projects and super-easy to find and use.
Proto.io offers integrations for Sketch, Figma, AdobeXD, Adobe Photoshop, Google fonts, and Adobe fonts.
UI designers can add multiple actions, gestures, mouse events, drag and rotate, interactive UI elements, and variables into your designs.
Proto.io offers four paid plans for individuals, startups, agencies, and corporates, starting at $29/month. You can take their 15-day free trial to learn more about the product.
7. Talebook- Best for UX research
Before starting with designing, UX people spend a significant amount of time on user research and ideation, and the best tool we recommend is the Talebook.
The online tool will help you conduct comprehensive user research, understand the user journey, conduct online surveys, and analyze competitors to identify patterns and turn insights into actionable steps. You can also create personas and paper prototypes from the feedback you collect.
Features of Talebook:
Get inspired by customizable templates on stakeholder interviews, user interviews, competitor analysis, problem valuation, personas, flows, and prototypes.
From ideation to creating prototypes, Talebook works best for all.
You can organize your data by creating tags and segregating them into folders to easily re-access the information.
Takebook lets you create unlimited projects to salvage your user research requirements.
Talebook offers three paid plans starting at $6 per month. You can take their 7-days trial period to learn more.
8. Slack- Best collaboration tool
We are pretty sure that many of you have used Slack before. If not, then you should definitely start using it to seamlessly collaborate with your team members. The platform offers real-time communication and works best for remote teams to conduct a centralized conversation. Many UX/UI design tools offer integration to Slack (including ruttl) to get instant notifications directly from the app.
Features of Slack:
Organize your conversation by creating separate channels to stir certain conversations and share information.
You can collaborate with teams at other companies and join channels as you normally do with your team.
Slack offers integrations with Google Drive, Office 365, and other 2200+ tools.
Channel owners have complete control over the visibility and access of their conversation. They can keep the chat group private, and only people in the channel will have access to information.
Automate repetitive tasks such as sharing updates, gathering feedback, welcoming new members, or sending answers when identifying certain keywords. There is so much more to automate in Slack.
Slack offers one-free and three paid plans starting at $8.75/user/month. If you are a small team, then Slack's free plan would be ideal.
Origami Studio is an open-source UI/UX design tool created by Facebook. It was dedicatedly created for Facebook designers to simplify their design process but is now available for free. It's a prototyping tool enabling designers to create and share interactive interfaces. Origami Studio is an all-in-one tool that lets you design, animate, and create interactive prototypes all at once.
Features of Origami Studio:
Origami Studio's drag and drop editor lets you draw and edit UI design components like shapes, text, and images, which you have downloaded from Sketch and Figma.
You can use the patch editor to add interactions and animations to your prototypes through "blocks" called patches.
Easily edit dynamic prototypes on direction, alignment, spacing, padding, and margin.
Create audio and position maps and integrate motion into your UI design.
Integrate Figma and Sketch to pull in vector shapes and text layers.
It's a free tool. No charges are involved.
One of the best UX tools for making websites, web apps, and other digital products is FlowMapp. You can create sitemaps, build flowcharts, do UX research, manage content, and share it with your clients. Flowmapp works best for teams, product designers, project managers, developers, and UX strategists to build extraordinary sitemaps, user flows, and flowcharts.
Features of FlowMapp:
FlowMapp offers real-time collaboration with your team from any place at any time. You can easily collaborate to share UX strategy and design ideas.
FlowMapp allows you to share, transfer, and export projects for offline and online usage. You can also track changes made to your project and keep everyone notified with Slack.
In FlowMapp, you can add diagrams, add images, and customize UI design elements.
You can create unlimited sitemaps, user flows, and user flow elements even in the lowest paid plan.
FlowMapp has a pre-existing library of icons and shapes with the ability to add images and make changes quickly.
FlowMapp offers free, and three paid plans starting at just $9/month. The free plan would work excellently for individual UX designers.
11. Axure- Best prototyping tool to build functional prototypes
Axure is your go-to platform for creating wireframes, customer journeys, UX documentation, and low-fidelity prototypes that are realistic and easy to use. The platform has a low learning curve with no-code functions that lets you create quick prototypes, which usually take a while. You can add animations, dynamic panels, and graphic interactions to your UI design.
Features of Axure:
Create unlimited prototypes with combinations of multiple interaction events and conditional logic.
The Axure Cloud feature lets you share prototypes across the organization for quick feedback. You can include comments directly on the prototype and get instant notifications through Slack and Microsoft teams.
Integrate your favorite UX/UI tools like Figma, AdobeXD, Sketch, Jira, Confluence, Microsoft teams, and Slack into your Axure dashboard.
Streamline designer-to-developer handoffs by including prototypes and documentation when uploading files to the Axure cloud.
Axure offers robust support through widget libraries, training, and documentation to help you learn about the platform.
Axure offers three paid plans starting at $29/month/user. You can also take their free trial to learn more.
12. Balsamiq- Best wireframing tool
Balsamiq is one of the best wireframing tools used by product managers, developers, agencies, business owners, or anyone who wants to create UX design. UX professionals prefer Balsamiq because it's the fastest low-fidelity wireframing tool that allows users and testers to focus on usability and user flow. It has a low learning curve, so anyone with no-code knowledge can use it to create wireframes.
Features of Balsamiq:
Balsamiq offers a drag-and-drop functionality that lets you quickly assemble design components on the interface. UX designers can make wireframes with the help of hundreds of built-in and community-made UI design components.
Create reusable templates, symbols, and customizable component libraries.
Balsamiq is among the collaboration tools that offer real-time communication with UX designers, UI designers, developers, consultants, and clients.
Get immediate and honest feedback from designers or developers. Use the sketch style or clean wireframe option to present your work.
Balsamiq can be accessed through browsers, Windows or macOS, and Google Drive.
Balsamiq offers three paid plans, starting at $9/month. The basic plan only includes two projects, which we feel are quite less. Balsamiq also offers a 30-day trial period, which you can use to understand the product and purchase a premium plan.
13. Marvel- Best for designing, prototyping, and user testing.
Marvel is an all-in-one tool that offers all the functionalities for a seamless product development process, including prototyping, designing, user testing, and design specs for handoffs. It is one of the best UX tools to create lo-fi and hi-fi wireframes and prototypes. Marvel has an intuitive user interface that makes it easier for beginner designers to learn UX/UI design.
Features of Marvel:
Ballpark's user testing tool makes capturing feedback on questions, design, Figma prototypes, and marketing copy easy and fast through surveys, audio, and voice feedback.
Marvel offers integrations to various powerful apps like Ballpark, Jira, Confluence, Sketch, Microsoft Teams, Keynote, BotBot, Niice, Smartmockups, Youtube, and Dropbox Paper.
A library of images, icons, and pre-made assets to help visualize your designs.
Robust design handoff tool to turn designs into codes, assets, and specs for developers to use.
Marvel prototype supports all screens, including desktop and mobile apps (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Android devices).
Marvel offers one free and three paid plans starting at $10/month. The free plan doesn't have many features. Instead, you can take a 7-day trial of the premium plan.
14. Maze- Best for UX research
Maze is amongst the best user testing tools to validate ideas and prototypes. Users can easily conduct usability, prototype, remote, and A/B testing. You can create user tests for every project and collect actionable insights on what's worth moving forward. Within minutes, you will have beautiful, shareable reports that turn tests into insightful data.
Features of Maze:
Validate your ideas with 5-second tests, gather user responses through A/B testing, ask open-ended questions, or identify trends by users to rate your ideas.
Conduct robust usability testing by analyzing their sessions. Maze automatically generates quantifiable reports with informative insights.
You can download your design prototypes from InVision, Figma, Marvel, and AdobeXD.
Keep a single source of truth for user insights through centralized and accessible reports of user surveys.
Integrate Maze with Slack to get instant notifications on tasks generated or user reviews.
Maze offers one free and two paid plans starting at $99.
Wondering which of these UX tools should you include in your tech stack? The answer is whatever helps you achieve your goals faster.
There is no single UX/UI tool on the market that will help you with all your design needs. You need to select the best one from UX research, prototyping, wireframing, designing, animation, or user testing. That's why it's important to understand your needs and then evaluate your options.
You can check out these awesome UX Design Examples to get inspiration for your next UX design.