The 15 top UI design tools to create great designs
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The 15 top UI design tools to create great designs

We’ve compiled all the best UI design tools so you can create better designs. Learn the different types, why you need UI design tools, and how to choose the right one.

Last Updated: April 09, 2024
Table of Contents
  • Figma
  • Sketch
  • Invision
  • Craft
  • Maze
  • Axure
  • Marvel
  • Framer
  • Webflow
  • FlowMapp
  • Balsamiq
  • UXPin
  • Origami Studio
  • Treejack

UI design tools have evolved so much that it can be overwhelming to decide on which one to pick.

With the right UI design tools, you can create the optimal digital experience, increase customer engagement and retention, and lower development costs. 

To help you narrow down your decision, we created a list of the best UX/UI design tools (skip to the list), so you can choose for yourself.

But before we dig into the list, let's cover some basics.

What is UI design?

On its simplest level, user interface, or UI, describes how a human interacts with a machine. 

User interface (UI) design is the process of building interfaces in software or computerized devices, with a heavy focus on style and look. UI designers aim to create interfaces that users find easy to use and pleasurable. 

What are the 4 types of UI? 

There are four common types of user interface to consider:

  1. Command Line Interface: This UI requires users to type instructions into a command line. The computer is commanded to go to the required file or directory. 

  2. Menu-driven Interface: A UI that uses a list of choices to navigate within a program or website. 

  3. Graphical User Interface: A tactile UI input with a visual UI output (keyboard and monitor).

  4. Touchscreen Graphical User Interface: This UI requires users to interact with the device by touch. It has become a commonly used option due to the popularity of portable devices. 

Of the four types of user interface, the graphical user interface is considered the most popular, followed by touch screen, due to simplicity and ease of use.

Graphical user interfaces are easier for most end-users to understand as the icons and menus are generally self-explanatory and the GUI does not require the user to remember or input complex commands.

Why do you need a UI design tool?

If you are in business, own a website, or are trying to succeed by launching a product or service, you need UI design—which means you need UI design tools. 

Your UI or UX design tool works towards the same goal: helping you make beautiful and engaging digital websites and apps. The tools chosen here are all a part of the product design process, which includes:

  • Wireframing: a two-dimensional skeletal outline of a webpage or app. 

  • Prototyping: an experimental process where design teams implement ideas into tangible and presentable forms. 

  • User testing: a standard part of the web design process with the goal to uncover any usability issues with the navigation and core features of the app.

  • Visual design: elements carefully placed to create interfaces that optimize user experience and drive conversion.

  • Optimization: tested designs that enhance and engage better conversions. 

  • Release: launch of tested and approved product or web design.

It’s important to understand the difference between UI and UX when assessing what tools you’ll need. 

To put the UI/UX distinction in very simple words, UX design is about creating digital products that are intuitive and function well, while the aim of UI design is about making the product aesthetically pleasing.

How do you choose the right UX/UI design tool?

Unfortunately, there is no magic design tool that fits all needs and purposes. However, there are a lot of tools that can help both UX and UI design. Both functionality and pleasure play a big role in your design. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you set out to choose the right design tool:

  • How easy is this tool to use for my team? 

  • How quickly can we adapt this tool? 

  • How much money will this tool cost, monthly or yearly? 

  • How does this tool incorporate collaboration with other teams?

  • How does this tool integrate with other UX/UI design tools?

And, of course, keep essential UX design principles in mind when you’re deciding which tool is best. It’s about making products that are informed by data and user feedback, designed with empathy and accessibility. 

Here are our picks for the best user interface design tools to better your website or app. 

The best UI design tools to help you create great designs

The Figma homepage

1. Figma

Figma allows designers to construct interactive models and representations, evaluate them for practicality, and keep the group up-to-date with the design development.

Pros of Figma

  • Easy collaboration for designing

  • Using third-party plugins is helpful

  • Pen tool in it easy to use to make icons

Cons of Figma

  • With the canvas sizes it supports, there should be more options available directly instead of creating it custom.

  • Few guided tutorials

Sketch website

2. Sketch

Sketch is another legendary design tool that is well-known in the industry. 

The digital design tool has made universal changes to their layer or text styles, and library of symbols. When it comes to usability, it’s considered smooth and intuitive. Sketch boasts that it saves designers time to deliver consistent prototypes. It alleviates tedious tasks with a multitude of third-party plugins that integrate without lagging, and their understanding of collaboration is apparent throughout the tool design.

Pros of Sketch

  • Highly-intuitive user interface

  • Accessible and easy to use

  • Sharing and collaboration features.

  • Integrates with Illustrator assets.

Cons of Sketch

  • Native to MacOS only

  • Limited to one device per license

The Invision homepage

3. InVision

InVision is a dynamo in the industry as well and offers a full suite of applications, providing designers the UI design tools needed to create fully functional prototypes with dynamic elements and animations.

InVision makes communication easy with collaboration features and easy-to-use UI design tools for the whole team. Developers can share their work as they design it in real-time, and receive feedback, which makes documented changes extremely easy. A very cool feature is the digital whiteboard allowing team members to get their ideas heard, and seen for sign-off before moving forward.

Pros of InVision

  • Clickable prototype

  • Free design tools

  • Top-notch collaboration 

Cons of InVision

  • Slow to start 

The Proto homepage

4. has been around since 2011, as a commercial web platform providing prototype development for smart devices. It has since then expanded to be a dynamic framework to accommodate multiple devices. prides itself in creating "prototypes that feel real."

Pros of 

  • Easy to get started with a good set of UI controls

  • Presentable prototype on mobile devices

  • Responsive design on site

Cons of

  • Does not offer a free trial 

  • Limited export options

  • The interface can be difficult for beginners

The Craft homepage

5. Craft

Craft is a plugin from InVision that seamlessly works with any design, including a sync function that updates real-time. Craft offers design features that excel prototyping and collaboration. The team has evolved updates in styling, edits, and other responsive design integrations over the years to make this a viable contender.

Designers get access to easy placeholder content with integrations like Getty and iStock photos, giving you access to better visuals. Not many UI design tools let you fill your mockups with templates and captured content. 

Pros of Craft

  • Get rapid feedback from your team in real-time

  • Link artboards with gestures and transitions

  • Sync with click-to-send prototypes 

Cons of Craft

  • Limited to 5 team members

  • Limited customer support service

The Maze homepage

6. Maze

Maze is a rapid testing platform that powers designers to run in-depth tests, share ideas, concepts, or copy—even without prototypes. With Maze, designers can show work in every stage of the process. Extensive user insights can be gleaned from usability tests with open-ended follow-up questions, which brings designers and real users more closely aligned than ever. 

Maze also offers multiple integrations, partnering with third-party prototyping and wireframing tools. Pairing Maze’s testing features with these UI design tools offer positive design decisions.

Pros of Maze

  • Excellent tool for an agile environment

  • Very intuitive for first-time users

  • Templates make it easy to create impactful designs

Cons of Maze

  • Missing key test types 

  • Card sorting is not conventional, making it hard for users to get a complete overview

The Axure homepage

7. Axure

Axure is a UX tool that gives UX professionals the power to build realistic, functional prototypes. It features a smooth interface and many other features of popular prototyping and UI design tools. It is designed for testing functionality and pulls together presentations for an easy developer handoff. Axure boasts an emphasis on communication and collaboration, to ensure a project is kept up-to-date with progress and changes as they happen in real-time.

Pros of Axure

  • Offers tons of options for UX prototyping

  • Ease of use, prebuilt functions, third-party libraries, the online Axure user community

  • Simulation helps a lot when presenting a product to the client

Cons of Axure

  • Stylized changes (like color and style of font) are difficult to locate

  • The user interface has a relatively big learning curve

The Marvel homepage

8. Marvel

Marvel (the design tool, not the superhero comic) is great for UI designers or if you're just starting the role, Marvel's design platform does projects easily with the ability to create both simple and complex wireframes, the design process is endless. It also offers interactive prototypes, and user testing, which gives a UI designer everything needed to present and impress.

Pros of Marvel 

  • Ease of use—no prior technical knowledge is needed 

  • Transitions and graphics can be added to prototypes

  • The application service is available on all major platforms

Cons of Marvel

  • The trial version has limited features

  • Lack of organization for repetitive screens within the application

The Framer homepage

9. Framer

Framer is a free interactive design tool for teams and has evolved from a code-only prototyping application. It offers a slew of UI design tools for building applicable and functional prototypes as well as offering usability testing.

Framer offers a variety of plugins, providing UI designers features such as UI kits for integrating social media, players for embedding a variety of media, prototyping grids, and other useful integrations. Its reviews boast that it has an intuitive interface design that an entire team can pick up with ease. 

Pros of Framer

  • Good at prototyping interactions and animations

  • The flexibility and logic-based interactions are limitless

  • It is extremely flexible with motion design

Cons of Framer

  • Hard to get going and requires some coding knowledge

  • Written in a language of its own, which can be difficult to pick up

The Webflow homepage

10. Webflow

Webflow provides an easy-to-use platform for the imaginative user to construct a virtually limitless number of designs without needing to write complex code.

Pros of Webflow

  • Extensive customization options

  • Plenty of support materials and learning academy is strong

  • Great for client work (easy billing) 

Cons of Webflow

  • Limited built-in functions

The Flowmapp homepage

11. FlowMapp

FlowMapp was formed in 2017 and is a UX software that includes features such as mobile, websites, usability testing, user journeys, and user research. FlowMapp creates interactive sitemaps and user flows for web development and better UX. It offers a collaborative environment for storing and organizing requirements through intuitive visual sitemaps.

With its dedication to the discipline of UX design, FlowMapp builds user flows and constructs visual sitemaps that are imperative for UX, and these make for a fine design tool.

Pros of FlowMapp

  • Offers robust built-in templates

  • Enables collaboration among multiple stakeholders, enabling team members to flag changes or specific pages for review

  • Maps content to customer journey stages

Cons of FlowMapp

  • Export is not part of the user flow and can slow down the process

  • Usability quirks 

The Balsamiq homepage

12. Balsamiq

Balsamiq offers an approachable way to construct basic wireframes with a straightforward interface.

Pros of Balsamiq

  • Very easy learning curve and good standard setup

  • Non-technical users can easily use this software

  • It offers an icon-driven and drag-and-drop UI

Cons of Balsamiq

  • The library is limited

  • No collaboration option between team members

The UXpin homepage

13. UXPin

UXPin is a code-based design tool that merges design and engineering into one unified process. UXPin is the design tool ideal for interactive prototyping, design systems and documentation. Some features include variables, conditional interactions, expressions, interactive states, and data generator. 

UXPin doesn’t require extensive training to start designing. Their modern and intuitive editor helps to perfect user experience without leaving the app.  You can build prototypes that feel like the real thing and anything that's on the web can be accurately prototyped in UXPin.

Pros of UXPin

  • Rapid prototyping

  • Sharing projects and mockups is ideal

  • Great at implementing a simple mockup

Cons of UXPin

  • The platform is slower, which can make the editor mockups slow

The Origami Studio homepage

14. Origami Studio

Facebook designers created Origami Studio to make it easier for newcomers to easily navigate the more complex features.

Pros of Origami Studio

  • Unlimited Storage for all file types

  • Co-design together real-time with designers on my team

  • Unlimited Previews (no charge for reviewers)

Cons of Origami Studio

  • The learning curve is steep

  • Not suitable for large, multi-screen prototypes

  • Inserting large files may cause performance issues

The Treejack homepage

15. Treejack

This platform facilitates smoother cooperation among members through comments, video responses, and connections to popular testing applications.

Pros of Treejack

  • Good for freelancers to large enterprise

  • Treejack is available for free and as part of a suite

  • Deployment in the cloud and desktop

Cons of Treejack

  • It requires a techy user 

  • No whiteboard options

  • Limited free version

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Additional resources

Deep Dive
What is UI design? And how can you use it to create a perfect experience?

User interface design is a critical component in website and app optimization, conversion, and user happiness.

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