There are many free and paid services and programs available on the web that can greatly simplify and speed up the work of a UX/UI designer. Specialized software helps the designer combine visuals, navigation and interaction elements, which gives a visualization of what the final result will look like. This is also an essential tool in any UI/UX designer’s arsenal. If you haven’t found the right program that suits your needs yet, in this review, we will present a selection of the top prototyping programs used by top professionals in the industry.
Sketch is a simple vector design and development tool, used by professional front-end developers to create UX/UI components. The sketch is quite simple and very easy to learn, has an intuitive interface, and also offers cross-platform design tools. There is a quick preview feature that allows you to see how the project will look on different devices. Sketch runs on macOS, so it’s not surprising that its toolbar is similar to the one on Mac. It has a considerable number of good plugins and resources, as well as several useful features for working in the cloud. The standard package costs $9 per month with a 30-day free trial.
Figma is an application used to do all kinds of graphic tasks: from creating site layouts to designing mobile application interfaces and prototyping. In addition to supporting macOS and Windows operating systems, Figma can run just in the browser, allowing access to projects from any computer or platform without the need to purchase multiple licenses or install the software. Another advantage of the software is its collaboration feature, which allows many users to make changes to the design of a project at the same time without having to upload files locally. The program has a generous free plan: 3 active files, one team project and unlimited cloud storage. If you need more features, you need to pay $12/month for the subscription.
3) Adobe XD
XD is designed from scratch with modern UX/UI in mind, and many features never seen before in other graphics applications. It solves the main problem that competitors cannot cope with: it provides interaction with non-static elements and allows you to create thoughtful dynamics on the page. Adobe XD is perfect for vector UI design, wireframing, prototyping, and creating high-quality web applications. When using the Adobe XD alone, the payment will be $9.99 per month. If you require the whole Creative Cloud package containing Photoshop, illustrator and After Effects, you will have to pay $54.99 per month.
Marvel is an all-in-one design app that offers tools for wireframing, prototyping, and testing. This is the ideal solution for developing simple and responsive user interfaces. This app has tools for different project stages, but the main specialization is prototyping. It also has alternative functions, which every pro will enjoy. Marvel is a perfect solution for developers and designers searching for a tool that is quick to set up and easy to launch. The program works in the browser, but there are also applications for iOS and Android. One client with one project can use the software for free. If you need more features, the subscription costs $12 per month.
Balsamiq is a UX/UI designer tool for developing app wireframes (sometimes called low fidelity mockups or prototypes). It is known as one of the easiest to use, even for a beginner without specific technical skills. With Balsamiq, you can quickly create layouts. The program has enough tools to bring any bold idea to life, and the hand-drawn design allows you to fully focus on functionality and user flow, minimizing visual aspects. Balsamiq works in the browser, on macOS and Windows. The subscription fee for using this software begins from $9 per month.
Summing up our mini-review, it is important to remind you once again that there is no perfect solution that suits all designers for any project. Master different programs and select the right ones, starting from the technical requirements for a particular project and the wishes of the customer. Alternatively, hire a professional team of UI/UX designers to implement your project.
How to Choose the UX/UI designer?
If you have to look for and choose the UX/UI designer shortly for your product (service, marketplace, mobile or web application, etc.), then these 3 tips will allow avoiding mistakes when selecting a contractor:
1) Check what the designer focuses on
If you see landing pages, corporate sites, banners, and promo sites in his portfolio, alongside a couple of IT products, then you can conclude that the designer is not deeply immersed in the design of products. If, for example, you need to design a mobile application, then a good option would be a person who focuses only on the designs of mobile applications. And the most ideal one is someone who has already done something in your niche. But remember, the more you filter specialists according to different criteria, the fewer of them remain.
2) Check the portfolio
Beautiful pictures in a designer’s portfolio do not mean that the result for your product will be of high quality. Perhaps the design will be beautiful and stylish, but it will be incomprehensible and not convenient for people. The reason for this inconvenience is simple – such a designer has learned to make “beauty”, but in other skills, he may have gaps.
3) Analyze the work plan
After the contractor sent you a work plan, your task is to evaluate what this plan consists of. Your work plan should include at least three things: analysis, prototyping, and design. If the work plan does not contain any of the above items, then this is a reason to think about the competence of the designer, since these are three integral elements when working on a design.
When you call for the first time, try to find out whether he can help you specifically with your task. You will understand whether you are on the same page or not.