You sure have heard about some of the best applications on the app store, but have you ever thought about what are the best mobile app design tools and software?
Of course, when it comes to designing an app, many factors come into play, such as personal skills, dateline, and project budget. However, there are mobile app design tools that can help you design your app efficiently.
These tools and software will help you design the app you've wanted to have. Some even claimed to have all the right tools and be able to help you from the beginning, without spending much sweat. After all, everyone can make an application these days.
The only downside is that the market will be saturated with a lot of applications that can be downright dangerous to your device. There is a lot of software and tools that available to help you. From the very start during the design stage, up to the launch and even maintenance. Some tools even guarantee that you can save some time when you use the app to design the app.
Why Do You Need Extra Tools
You may think that your current software is enough to design the app you want. But to have the best and functional app, a single app may not be enough. Each software has different functionalities and tools that may not always be what you need.
Anyhow, the first thing you need to have is to understand what are the tools required to design an app. You can look up to the professionals and see the tools they choose to work with.
But don't worry, there are software and tools that can guide you even if it's your first-time designing an app. You even can do it on your mobile. These days, having the right tools is important, but only less so than understanding how to utilize those tools and software in a properly working mobile application.
Here are some of the best software and tools for app design. Keep in mind that this list is not in a specific order. However, these tools and software are guaranteed to help you design an app in an easy and time-saving way.
The software claimed to have all the necessary tools so you can design your app to fit any mobile size with such ease and not have to write a single line of code. This is one among many mobile app design tools that make a big claim and deliver.
The interface is easy to use, and you will have no difficulties navigating through the menu. It's comparatively cheap than other similar tools. But JustinMind took the extra length and went as far as utilizing HTML integration to the finished prototype.
Its handoff tools are limited to a specific number of developers invited to see the mockup. They will be able to see the elements and make any necessary adjustments.
This software also has a mobile version where you can check the finished prototype that is shared on the group's cloud. This is great for everyone on the team, especially for those who are mostly on mobile.
Created by Justinmind | https://www.justinmind.com/
Balsamiq is often a popular choice is the tool that specializes in helping you to build wireframes for your app. The wireframe is often considered essential to some before they can make further progress on their mobile project.
Balsamiq covers all of your mobile app design tools. It has Balsamiq Cloud, Balsamic for Desktop, and Integration to Google Drive and Jira. However, the Cloud is, so far, their most popular one.
This software comes with a free 30-day trial, and to be able to save your project, you need to pay as low as $9/month or $90/year for a maximum of 2 working projects. If your team has grown along the way and requires more spaces, then you can opt for the $40/month plan.
Created by balsamiq | https://balsamiq.com/
3. Fluid UI
The main selling point of this tool is that its collaborative software. It means that you can work with several coworkers or colleagues on the mobile app project at the same time.
Fluid is the software to build a wireframe for your mobile design. With the collaborative feature, it's not a surprise that Fluid is often voted as one of the best software for design out there.
It is also considered one of the best mobile app design tools with complete features that can bring your ideas to life. Being a web-based software, Fluid offers great flexibility for those who are mostly on their mobile.
Any developer can work on the go, using their mobile phones. It works in both Android and iPhones. The client and developers can collaborate using the same tools without having to give up their activities.
Created by fluidui | https://www.fluidui.com/
The Omnigraffle is the go-to software to work on images for MacOS users. As part of the Omni Group, the software is known to be able to manipulate images up to create wireframes or prototypes for any application.
What Graffle can do is more than just manipulate images, such as giving them a more artistic feel. It also can work with Microsoft Visio, so collaborating between two different OS is not a problem.
Unfortunately, this software is unable to import or manipulate CAD files. It also reported having issues with some versions of Visio. But other than that, OmniGraffle is a good design software with tools that help you work on your project.
Created by omnigroup | https://www.omnigroup.com/omnigraffle
Mockplus claims to be the all-in-one tool that you can use to create a mobile app. It also claims to be able to save one hour per day during the project.
It has Mockplus Cloud, which is a real-time collaborative program that you can use for your design. You and your coworkers can work on the mobile app design together at the same time in such an easy way. Even if none of you have had any experience in app design, you don't have to worry.
Mockplus has colorful icons and a WYSIWYG design that can help your mobile app without making you write any code.
Any type of Mockplus is equipped with the tools that you can use to create your mobile application project. You can compare between the Cloud, Classic, and DS (Design System) and see which Mockplus type will work best for you.
Created by mockplus | https://www.mockplus.com/download/mockplus-classic
Origami is one of the popular tools that programmers often use when they design a mobile app. That is understandable because it's been a staple design software for any mobile app project for years.
Origami Studio offers features imported from Sketch and Figma and quick share to show your progress. However, it doesn't support collaborative endeavors, so you will have to rely on sharing.
However, Origami claims to be able to tap into the mobile device API and utilize it to the max for the app. You can check the mobile device's audio quality, haptic sensor, and location. And use that information for the features you want to include in your app.
These are the right tools to have when you want to build an application that relies on the user's geographic location or mobile camera function.
Created by origami | https://origami.design/
Being chosen by many big brands such as Airbnb, Hulu, Spotify, and Zoom make Framer another popular mobile app design tool. They claim to be the software that will give you all the tools you need to design your mobile app.
Framer made design an easy step. They bring you the tools to collaborate on a mobile application project. It starts from conceptualizing until finalizing the prototype; all team members are involved and able to participate, including members who are on mobile.
One of the reasons why Framer is popular is because of its pricing menu. Compared to other software, Framer has a free trial and as low as $20/month for unlimited team access. For corporate size usage, you can contact them for a direct quotation.
This is a good price for a startup because they now have the software with the right tools that they can use from the beginning until they expand considerably in size.
Created by framer | https://www.framer.com/fp/
Axure is more commonly known to be one of the tools to create a website. It is more popular as the software to work on website layers and create mobile app prototypes.
You can use Axure as one of the tools to design your app, but its specialty is to build the User Interface and make useful widgets with their drag and drop design.
As a matter of collaboration, Axure provides a working environment that can work with both macOS and Windows steam can use Slack and Microsoft Teams to collaborate on the mobile app, and Axure will be working just fine.
Axure license starts at Pro with a special discount for educational institutions. On top of the team collaboration support and layout control, this version is also able to export to Microsoft Excel.
Created by axure | https://www.axure.com/
9. UX Pin
Compared to other software in this list, UX Pin is the only one that seems to put the coding more forward. That is thanks to the Merge feature that makes collaboration among the team to improve the work hour.
Merge is their best tool that allows the design process to go hand-in-hand with the coding. It means you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of working hours and constant revision for the app.
This software helps the team to be able to work even when they have to be mobile. The team also won't have difficulties communicating because Merge is the only tool that can translate the design into code and vice versa.
UX Pin is one of the mobile app design tools that are very versatile and easy to use regardless of the user's coding experience. If you're still not convinced, UX Pin allows you to compare their software with others such as Framer and Adobe.
Created by uxpin | https://www.uxpin.com/
10. Adobe XD
Adobe cemented its position as one of the companies with tools to help you design and manipulate images by releasing some of the standard software in the industry. Adobe XD is not an exception.
The software is easy to use and has all the features you need to design a mobile app. The tools featured are very much similar to others mentioned in this list. You can work on the concept and build the prototype. But since this software bears the name of Adobe, a well-known frontrunner in digital imaging, you can expect something extra here.
And the extra comes in the form of community, articles, and classes that you can access to explore Adobe XD. These extras are able to further enhance your skill in designing mobile applications.
Created by adobe | https://www.adobe.com/products/xd.html
If you are a one-man team working on the app, then you can try Marvel as your first software on mobile design. It's lightweight and swift, and very easy to use. The best part is this software comes for free.
Marvel insists that building a mobile prototype should not be an issue. It has everything you need that make importing the design and making the necessary adjustment easy. Wireframing has never been easier.
Even if you don't have any coding experience, you can rely on Marvel. This is one of the mobile app design tools that work for a small scale or even a large enterprise. With monthly and yearly subscription options, you won't have an issue when transforming the initial designers' idea into a working app made by the programmers.
Created by marvelapp | https://marvelapp.com/
Over the years, many Fortune 100 brands have acknowledged InVision as one of the mobile app design tools that they choose for their mobile applications. This software streamlined the process and made it higher productivity rate.
You don't have to worry about any changes since it has the tools that make collaboration much easier. Your team can synchronize across all devices and accounts and see any changes on the mobile application project.
The software is also very affordable. It offers a free-forever account for up to 10 users for a small team. If you just started and have a very tight budget, InVision can be an option. They are offering their tools for free, and that's a chance you can't miss.
Created by invisionapp | https://www.invisionapp.com/
The sketch is one of the popular mobile app design tools that has been used for both first-time programmers and professional ones. This software allows you to make your mobile app looks very alluring and useful at the same time.
This software is popular because it works well with multiple file extensions and is not as heavy or lagging as other similar graphic editors. Its file is also compatible and works well with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, so your team doesn't have to worry about facing any difficulties.
Sketch covers a lot of tools that you can use to start sketching the design. It's also compatible with other software, so you can export your Sketch concept into them for extra coding work. It's not until recently that Sketch also includes on their software the ability to work on prototyping.
Created by sketch | https://www.sketch.com/
Zeplin claimed to have more than five million designs imported from Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch into them for further development. It's been used by many teams to have their developers and designers collaborate.
It provides the developer with the locked design so they can start writing their code and have the app project going. They won't be able to change anything on the design, such as color or moving the image around.
This handoff feature is considered to be one of the revolutionary mobile app design tools and was later adopted by other software such as Marvel. Many teams who have used this feature gave a positive comment. And they mentioned that handoff made collaborating on the go possible for both designers and developers who are always mobile.
Created by zeplin | https://zeplin.io/
If you are a first-timer, then you should check Proto before the other software. It has all of the mobile app design tools that you need. You don't have to come from a design or a coding background.
Proto helps you translate your idea into the mobile application you want. It's one of the best tools out there to help you build the prototype based on your original concept.
You also won't be facing any difficulties when presenting the mockup design to your client. Your customers will be able to understand the demo application that you're presenting, thanks to the gestures in Proto that bring the demo live.
Created by proto | https://proto.io/
So which tools and software I must use.
Each software has its market and intended users. Even though most claim that it has everything you need, but most software-only feature-specific tools. It is your task to know what do you need the most.
You can use the free trial period provided by these mobile app design tools before settling with one. Other than how useful the software is, you also consider the budget. They offer similar tools with similar capabilities. Therefore, you must consider budgeting the whole project.
Another thing you need to pay attention to is how well the software works on the go. Does it compatible with any mobile device so you can try the mockup? Or can you only work with it on the desktop?
Being able to work on mobile means saving a lot of time because it means there is no time and space restriction, especially when the app project has a specific time limit.
Anyway, when it comes to finding the best tools and software, the ultimate judge is your personal preferences. And when there are many options of software and tools with similar features, it may come down to which software you learn first and how well you are on adapting to using new tools to design an app.