User interface (UI) design software is a recent addition to a product manager’s staple technology stack. Forbes suggests that 88% of customers having a negative online experience simply won’t return. Be it a website, web application, mobile app, or even a vending machine, UI design plays a vital role in your customer experience.
The right UI design tools can help you better translate brilliant ideas into various design types like mockups, wireframes, and prototypes. If you’re looking for a UI design tool, read through my detailed summaries of the 10 best tools below.
What is user interface design software?
User interface (UI) design software helps you create different UI designs for various operating systems and devices. For instance, if you’re working on a mobile music streaming application, a UI design tool would help you design the now-playing screen, play-pause buttons, colors, layouts, album art positioning, and other aspects.
Figma has been plying its designing expertise for over a decade now. Figma strongly believes in real-time collaboration and advocates for cross-functional participation in the design process. As a result, Figma features excellent collaboration capabilities in addition to its state-of-the-art design platform.
Why I picked Figma: As a former product manager, I recall spending weeks chasing stakeholders for sign-offs on my wireframes. Moreover, sometimes a stakeholder comes up with a suggestion late in the process, forcing you to redo the sign-off process. Figma’s popular “multiplayer” feature enables stakeholders to participate in the live collaboration. Product managers and designers can “hover” over designs and jointly build a great UI.
FigJam from Figma presents an online whiteboard with diagramming and sticky-note functionalities, making brainstorming fun and effective. On the design front, Figma has unique arc designs, a sophisticated pen tool, and auto-layout responsive features. You can also leverage automation with Figma’s widgets and plugins.
Figma Standout Features and Integrations
Features include private extensions, plugins, widgets, a drag-and-drop interface, design inspection, easy export, intuitive prototyping, mobile application, dynamic overlays, embedded commenting, and others.
Integrations include tools such as Axure, Bubble, Flinto, Framer Web, Maze, Microsoft Teams, Mixpanel, Pendo, Principle, ProtoPie, Sprig, Zeplin, and others.
- Generous free plan
- Real-time collaboration
- Effortless file sharing
- Responsive prototyping could be better
- Bugs around converting designs to mobile code
InVision is a popular visual collaboration tool that helps organizations reduce go-to-market cycles while increasing ROI. Interestingly, InVision claims that its platform helps spike up time-to-market cycles by 36%!
Why I picked InVision: As a product manager, it’s incredible having access to several templates curated for product building. InVision has great templates cutting through several critical categories, including product planning, product launch, customer journey, wireframing, sprint planning, and feature planning.
InVision’s Freehand is essentially a digital whiteboard for collaborating with stakeholders on a wireframe or mockup. You can leverage Freehand to bridge the gap, separating a low-fidelity product idea and a high-fidelity prototype. Additionally, if you’re proficient with Photoshop, you can copy-paste layers and other assets straight from Photoshop.
InVision Standout Features and Integrations
Features include a virtual whiteboard, real-time collaboration, app prototyping, rapid prototyping, creating prototypes from Photoshop and Sketch, prototype mirroring, swipe triggers, freehand mode, and others.
Integrations include tools such as Adobe XD, Asana, Azure DevOps, Google Sheets, Jira, Microsoft Word, Sketch, Slack, Spotify, Webex, Zoom, and others.
- Assets are easily shareable
- Rapid prototyping
- Real-time whiteboard collaboration
- Shifting from demo to prototype mode requires a lot of clicks
- Occasional plugin bugs
Founded in 2013, Marvel adds immense value to organizations seeking a simple and effective UI design tool. Marvel allows users to design wireframes, mockups, and prototypes straight from a browser.
Why I picked Marvel: As product managers, it’s critical to quickly create wireframes that give your thoughts and ideas some concrete structure. Marvel offers hundreds of wireframe templates specific to device types, including Android, iOS, and PC.
The prototyping features of Marvel are unique. In less than five minutes, you can transform low-fidelity design mockups into interactive prototypes without knowing how to code. Additionally, the Sketch integration is handy as you can import Sketch screens and add layers on the go.
Marvel Standout Features and Integrations
Features include rapid prototyping, wireframing, mockup design, a device-specific template collection, efficient design handoff, a Sketch plugin, real-time collaboration, team libraries for promoting brand consistency, and others.
Integrations include 10+ tools such as Dropbox Paper, Jira, Microsoft Teams, Sketch, Smartmockups, and others.
- Easy to navigate UI
- Great sketch integration
- Efficient workflows between screenshots
- No offline support
- Limited prototyping features
UXPin was born back in 2010 in Poland. The founders created the tool to simplify some of their design and collaboration challenges. UXPin features a component-driven prototyping approach to promote efficiency and brand-design relevance.
Why I picked UXPin: The component-driven prototyping feature of UXPin never ceases to amaze me. Essentially, UXPin allows designers to build upon existing prototypes. Instead of visualizing and creating a design from scratch, designers use existing component libraries to design new products. As a result, your organization has better design and brand consistency.
UXPin enables you to ship designs complying with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) - thus, fostering inclusivity. The prototyping capabilities are robust, with states, conditional interactions, variables, and auto layout at your disposal.
UXPin Standout Features and Integrations
Features include component-driven prototyping, drag-and-drop designing, inclusive designing, interactive prototyping, remote collaboration, member tagging, a simple designer handoff process, and others.
Integrations include 10+ tools, such as Asana, Google Sheets, Jira, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Mosaic, NPM, Salesforce, Storybook, Zendesk, and others.
- 1000s of icons for mobile designs
- In-app video tutorials
- Rapid prototyping
- Limited video integration
- Slightly steep learning curve
Justinmind is a fantastic prototyping tool for websites, mobile devices, and web apps. Justinmind helps you easily create highly interactive prototypes. Creating responsive prototypes was a hassle back then, but Justinmind takes all the sting out of such “code-heavy” design elements.
Why I picked Justinmind: I’m particularly interested in the interactive and responsive design features that Justinmind offers. With Justinmind, you can effortlessly add advanced interactive designs, transitions, and animations to your UI.
Mobile gestures like custom actions responding to triggers like a scroll, rotate, tap, or pinch help boost prototype responsiveness. Since the digital demographics of your audience would consist of different device types, Justinmind’s responsive designs ensure your prototype proactively adapts as per the user’s screen size and resolution.
Justinmind Standout Features and Integrations
Features include responsive prototyping, lists, forms, easy prototype publishing, team prototyping, efficient design handoff, design systems, a great collection of free UI kits, and robust plugins.
Integrations include 10+ tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD, Azure DevOps, Clicktale, Figma, Jira, Sketch, UserZoom, and others.
- The free version allows unlimited projects
- Perpetual license pricing option
- Responsive prototyping
- Slow search feature
- Export bugs
Uizard strongly advocates for machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) powered prototyping tools. Uizard’s mission involves empowering non-designers to build interactive and digital designs.
Why I picked Uizard: I picked Uizard because of its no-design promise. I’ve heard of no-code earlier, but no-design is an exciting progression. Uizard’s Autodesigner feature (due April ‘23) enables users to create mockups by inputting ideas via text. You can consider Uizard to be the ChatGPT for UI design.
Additionally, you can upload screenshots to Uizard, and the tool converts them into mockups that you can edit. As a result, you can draw inspiration from websites and applications that align with your goals and sail from there. You can upload any random screenshot, and Uizard scans the asset to generate design assets. For product managers lacking design experience, Uizard is a great way to translate ideas into designs quickly.
Uizard Standout Features and Integrations
Features include a no-code and no-design UI, AI-inspired UX/UI designs, scanned screenshots to create mockups, attention heatmaps, a website/app copy generator, an AI-enabled theme creator, 100s of web apps, mobile and website themes, and others.
Integration details are currently not available.
- Easy to learn
- You can upload screenshots of other websites to draw inspiration
- 100s of ready-made templates
- Editing text is a little hard
- Mockup export bugs
Mockups is a jack-of-all-trades in the design software industry, with the tool offering prototyping, wireframing, collaboration, design systems, and UI features. Mockplus features two flagship design products: Mockplus DT, which is UI-focussed, and Mockplus RP, a prototyping tool.
Why I picked Mockplus DT: I’m excited about Mockplus’ assets-reuse capabilities. As your team members work on multiple projects, the asset repository grows massively, thus making it challenging to enforce uniform brand-design guidelines. Using Mockplus DT, your teams can save layer styles, colors, and other components to an asset library. Consequently, your teams can use the same assets for future designs and drive consistency.
Mockplus DT also offers a vector UI design with an easy drag-and-drop vector editing tool. You can also use the proportional scaling feature to scale all elements and layer styles while resizing features.
Mockplus DT Standout Features and Integrations
Features include vector UI designing, a drag-and-drop editing interface, an asset library, smart asset distribution, proportional scaling, custom plugins, free UI kits, real-time collaboration, and others.
Integrations include 10+ tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD, Axure, Confluence, Figma, Jira, Lark, Sketch, Slack and others.
- Several useful free UI kits
- Mockplus DT (UI design tool) is free to use
- Effective plugins for design handover
- Some design knowledge is needed
- Bandwidth intensive
Why I picked Framer: Framer has an impressive stack and grid feature that helps you organize multiple objects cleanly. A stack is a layer group stacked horizontally or vertically, and a grid houses numerous layers in a structured pattern. Stacks and grids in tandem help create responsive web designs that adapt to different screen sizes.
Framer’s UI design capabilities are pretty extensive, with the tool allowing you to build different types of interactions, including forms, galleries, and carousels. Lastly, the multiplayer feature promotes effective collaboration. If you’re a bit techno-savvy, you can harness Framer to embed CSS codes and add an extra layer of customization.
Framer Standout Features and Integrations
Features include real-time collaboration, great UX/UI interaction features, drag-and-drop UI designing, a Figma plugin, site speed-boosting tools, a CMS (content management system), and others.
Integrations include 10+ tools such as Bit.ai, Calendly, Formidable, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Notion, Sketch, Stripe, and others.
- Easy animations
- Truly no-code web design
- Great template collection
- Figma integration isn’t very robust
- Occasional buggy updates
Axure’s journey began as a solution for design and product teams frustrated with the typical software development lifecycle. Creating tools for better user experience (UX) design was among Axure’s prime priorities.
Why I picked Axure: I’m impressed with the sheer amount of design firepower Axure packs. Axure enables you to create truly responsive and functional prototypes with many different event triggers and actions.
You can effortlessly implement conditional logic like the if-then-else sequence and bring your static prototypes to life. Axure Rapid Prototyping (RP) widgets help you with dynamic content for adding a new dimension to prototyping. Although Axure is primarily a UX tool, it's design and no-code capabilities are a real delight for product managers and UI designers too.
Axure Standout Features and Integrations
Features include rapid prototyping, real-time collaboration, functional prototype creation, user flow diagrams, adaptive and responsive views, dynamic content, conditional logic, interaction event triggers, and others.
Integrations include 10+ tools such as Adobe XD, Figma, Jira, Microsoft Teams, Sketch, Slack, and others.
- Powerful functional prototyping
- Rapid prototyping
- Vast online learning resources
- Some technical design knowledge is a prerequisite
- Steep learning curve
Proto.io is a productivity tool company that aims at improving product development by offering user-friendly design tools. With Proto.io, you can easily create Windows, iOS, and watchOS mockups with rich UI elements.
Why I picked Proto.io: Proto.io has a vast collection of UI component libraries consisting of distinct sets of elements for specific device types: PC, iOS, watchOS, etc. The drag-and-drop functionality is straightforward, allowing you to create mockups with buttons, sliders, menus, and inputs.
You can create visually stunning wireframes and mockups from the huge template collection that Proto.io offers. Their repository also has a vast collection of animated icons for your mockup designs. Moreover, the version control feature of Proto.io ensures that all your precious work is always available in a batch of historical edits.
Proto.io Standout Features and Integrations
Features include a UI component library, ready-made UI templates, wireframing and prototyping templates, an animated icon library, a sound effects library, scrollable containers, custom HTML code addition, an assets manager, and others.
Integrations include 10 tools such as Adobe Fonts, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD, Figma, Google Fonts, Sketch, and others.
- Integrated icon library
- Easily shareable prototypes
- Buggy import feature
- Occasional performance chokes
Best UI design software for effective cross-functional collaboration
Free plan available
Best UI design software for a vast template collection of product-building touchpoints
Free plan available
Best UI design software for drag-and-drop iOS wireframe templates
7-day free trial + free plan available
|From $16/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best UI design software for component-driven prototyping
14-day free trial + free plan available
Best UI design software for responsive and gesture-based interactive prototyping
Free plan available
Best UI design software for AI-inspired design sequences
Free plan available
Best UI design software for creating a brand-specific asset library and repository
Free plan available
Best UI design software for implementing stack & grid web designs
Free plan available
|From $10 /site/month||Website|
Best UI design software for codeless interactive prototypes with conditional logic
30-day free trial
Best UI design software with ready-made templates for iOS and watchOS mockups
15-day free trial available
Best UI design software for a GitHub-like timeline experience
Best UI design software for Mac native app and offline functionality
Best UI design software for low-fidelity wireframing
- Adobe XD
Best for OS-specific UI design kits
Best UI design software for creating intuitive sitemaps
- Origami Studio
Best UI design software with freeform drawing tools for enhanced prototyping
Best UI design software for e-commerce website or application product managers
- Wondershare Mockitt
Best UI design software for visualizing flowcharts and mind maps
How I Picked the Best User Interface Design Software
Perhaps you're wondering how I selected the best user interface design software for this list. To build this top 10 list, I evaluated and compared various UI design tools with positive user ratings.
After determining my list of top choices, I further honed my list by using the selection criteria below to see how each platform stacked up against the next one. I also drew on my years of product management experience to pinpoint features that are beginner-friendly and efficient.
Here’s a summary of the primary evaluation criteria I used to build my list of the best user interface design software:
As a product manager, time is of the essence. Does the UI design tool offer easy no-code and drag-and-drop features? Does the tool require any design or coding expertise? Did the tool creators offer any online training, certification or webinars for getting started?
UI design kits and templates help product managers get off the blocks quickly. Does the UI design tool have a vast number of editable templates? Are the templates easy to edit?
Does the UI design tool have integrations with other third-party design and collaboration tools?
How cost-effective is the UI design tool, and does it offer a free trial or freemium plan for you to test the waters?
What key features are included in UI design software?
Why is user interface design important?
What is the difference between UI and UX design?
UI design can make or break your digital products. However, it is not the only thing that matters. Learn about the difference between product vision and product strategy and how to quickly find a product-market fit without breaking the bank.
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