The Actual Best UX Prototyping Software in 2020
(The ones that people use)
Listen. I know, prototyping software can be a very personal topic for many people. So I’m going to give you the real talk about software from someone who has learned and used these programs within the past two years.
Disclaimer: There definitely is software many people use that I won’t mention just because I have never been required to or tried to use it.
I’m going to sort 6 softwares into 3 categories:
Most Popular: These are softwares which most people know and use.
Trending: Programs which have recently become popular or have been getting updated recently.
Underdogs: Softwares I feel people don’t use as often, but should be.
Sketch- Sketch is the original standard for prototyping tool, respected by all others software. It was* the standard for prototyping, and other software have adopted features and made compatibility for Sketch (XD, and Figma for example.) So in this sense a Sketch is good to use with 3rd party tools.
But it’s not really the standard anymore. This is definitely a great prototyping tool for working with design teams. It’s fast, but can become a bit cluttered. Now it might not be worth the full price.
Balsamiq- I’ve seen Balsamiq pop up on employers bonus skills list. Personally I’m not a huge fan of Balsamiq, but I see it being used a lot now. Maybe it’s because it proves the point that low fidelity prototypes are just that, a low fidelity sketch. You shouldn’t fall in love with an aesthetic design, but instead a usable concept.
It probably is one of the easiest programs to learn and use, and best low fidelity prototyping tools. Allowing for quick wireframing and testing to see what works and what doesn’t.
Adobe XD- XD is quickly growing to become one of the best tools for mid and high fidelity prototyping features. It’s currently a free to use programs with new features coming out in update pushes every couple months.
We’re scared to see XD might become the best prototyping tool in the world and become the standard as Adobe has done to other design industry tools. We can’t wait to see Adobe hide this behind their monthly creative cloud pay wall…
Figma- Figma is my personal favorite prototyping software. Figma is free and web based, so you can run it on any OS, which is super nice. It also generates code for you. Yes!
You can easily hop back and forth between designing and prototyping. There is so much open source material and it is easy to integrate. It is also super easy to share and I think it is the best real time prototyping tool. Also, it’s free!
Axure RP 9- I don’t see too many people talking about Axure RP 9. It is actually a really great collaboration software, which lets you do some super cool and advanced things. Such as animation, interactive drop downs, searches in prototypes.
Axure RP 9 is one of, if not the best high fidelity prototyping softwares available.
It has a feature to check in and check out pages to work on the prototype and share with your co-workers. Press update and you’ll get all the up to date changes for the latest version.
You can also easily incorporate more advanced coding and panel drop downs or search features, and the learning curve wasn’t as intimidating as it may seem.
Origami- I have Origami downloaded, but really haven’t found the need to use it for a full on project. Plus it isn’t the best for collaboration. It has a clean UI and is built and used by designers at Facebook. Making Origami used by one of the biggest corporations and very well connected to Android and iOS design, but doesn’t get talked about that much.
My Personal List:
- Figma (Versatile, work from anywhere, easy to use, share)
- Adobe XD (Clean design, easy to share, mid- hi- fidelity)
- Axure RP 9 (Great high fidelity tool, high interactivity, basic code)
- Balsamiq (Good online low fidelity)
- Sketch (The standard)
- Origami (Good for Android/iOS UI)
(I haven’t used so many tools… marvel, proto.io, JustInMind, and other softwares not included. Should I?)
Disagree? Am I missing a software, were my opinions super off? Let me know.
I’ve been Ross Dillon.
Freelance Designer. UX Student.