The UI/UX phase is a critical part of the app and/or web design process. It is a part that brings to life whatever it is that the designer had in your mind when you had the idea in the first place. In this day and age where the UI/UX are becoming more intuitive and creative, it is crucial to get it right at this point to entice potential customers to like the product.
A good number of UI/UX design tools are quite costly, capable of putting a considerable dent in one’s pocket in subscription fees per month. However, if cost is the most pressing concern in the design process, the chances are that designers may tend to give up, losing the benefits of these wonderful tools even before they begin. They should, instead, concentrate on the process and endeavor to perfect it as much as possible, thereby guaranteeing a higher ROI on every project taken on.
Here are the best ten design tools to help achieve this:
Sketch is a vector graphics editor designed for Mac. It works well for the web, user interface (UI) and mobile designs. This tool is popular for incorporating and focusing on the most common and best features from Adobe Photoshop. It also comes with the additional features for built-in prototyping, as well as simplifying style sharing with layers, something that isn’t included in Photoshop. Competing tools need more steps to accomplish the same result. The tool also comes equipped with numerous plugins and has the capacity to integrate with Zeplin, Abstract, and Avocode. The only downside is that it doesn’t work on Linux or Windows.
Cinema 4D is a software designed by Maxon for 3D animation, motion graphics, and modeling. It comes with a full suite of useful tools for aiding in procedural and polygonal modeling, lighting, texturing and rendering. Many designers love it because it’s fast and powerful while being simple enough to learn and use at the same time. The other reason for its popularity is its versatility: it can easily be applied on mobile app 3D motion graphics and illustrations as well as developing video game graphics.
The term “Photoshop” was coined way back in 1862 to refer to “fake photos”. The Adobe Photoshop program is a raster-based/pixel graphics editor. It is similar to Sketch, being capable of accomplishing almost everything (and even more) of what the latter can do. Photoshop can be applied in web design, although it doesn’t have the capacity for scalable and responsive graphics. Adobe Illustrator or Sketch does a better job at creating responsive designs than Photoshop. It works on Mac, Linux, and Windows OS.
Abstract is a plugin that has the capacity to integrate with Sketch. It’s used in the control management and file collaboration, allowing designers to keep all their files in one place. The best part about working with Abstract is that it offers the ability for different designers to work on the same file simultaneously.
UserTesting is an excellent tool for those designers who desire to forego the hassle and stress of prototype testing and user research. The experts who work behind UserTesting have created a system where target user recruitment, remote test administration, analysis, and delivery of results can all be done within an hour. The results for each test come with an additional video of the customer, from which to gauge emotional responses from their facial expressions. It is best suited for finished products, prototypes, and apps as well.
Principle 5 is useful for creating interactive and animated user interfaces. It’s possible to pause and modify video values during transitions and getting an improved file support capacity during the export process. The tool has been optimized to integrate with Sketch, but it is limited to Mac.
Illustrator is another vector-based graphics editor from the giant Adobe. It works well in developing responsive graphics and logos. It can also be used to enhance the already existing graphics with additional effects and text. Adobe Illustrator is applied in the design of paintings, logos, web and motion graphics as well as print and other illustrations.
Invision is considered as “the world’s most powerful screen design tool.” It is UX tool that makes it possible to develop mockup designs into interactive prototypes, since it’s crucial to do iteration fast, especially during the earlier stages of development, Invision will come in handy when working with wireframes and mockups. The designer will, therefore, have more time to perfect and refine the design using the feedback obtained from the various stakeholders. The program can sync up with both Photoshop and Sketch.
Adobe After Effects
AE is a tool that allows for enhancement of motion graphics with visual effects, but it’s not a video editor per se and explains why most designers use it in conjunction with Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe After Effects is most useful for designing transitions, cinematic titles, special effects, animations as well as generating rendered visuals.
Zeplin is another great software that saves time and integrates with Photoshop Sketch as well as project management tools such as Trello and Slack. Zeplin offers easy and automatic hands-off access to style guides and designs, together with specs, code snippets, and assets.
Whatever the project is being worked on, these 10 UX design tools will come in handy in helping the developer create a design that is appealing to both you and the clients you are targeting.