Working life

UI and UX design tools of choice

2 minute read
ux design tools

I finally did it. Last year, I ditched Adobe software and moved on. It wasn’t an easy decision, as Photoshop and Illustrator, both workhorses of the design industry, have served me extremely well over nearly 16 years.

There were many reasons for moving on: Adobe’s price model, which I could never get used; feature bloat, which slowed everything down; a hankering after a simpler workflow. There was a certain amount of dread watching Photoshop rearing into life every morning, so I was wishing for a lighter, easier and more responsive experience in my day.

Since I’ve made the plunge, I certainly feel happier and more productive. No doubt I may be using different tools in three years time and it will be interesting to see how things evolve, but for now, here is my current crop of design tools.

Sketch

ux design tools

Perfect for mocking up wireframes and full blown web visuals. It’s easy to use and as light as a feather. There a few quirks and bugs littered about, but the Sketch team seem to fix these in a timely manner.

Affinity Designer

ux design tools

On the vector front, I was looking for an app that was more relevant to UI and web work. Illustrator although powerful, lacks the functionality that makes wireframing easy. 

It includes pages which Illustrator has always lacked. I don’t feel that I’m missing any features and Designer’s pen tool feels more fluid. It’s also a good replacement for Adobe InDesign when creating brochures. Incredible price for the features.

It might strike some as odd to be using both Designer and Sketch, but they are two very different tools. Sketch is perfect for wireframing, creating icons and UI comps, while Designer’s strength lies in it typographic abilities and complex vector work.

Affinity Photo

ux design tools

I am doing less retouching work now, so Photoshop wasn’t being used even to its 1% potential. The PS icon just sat there, staring at me intently from the dock. I needed to move on. Affinity Photo is unbelievably light compared to Photoshop, yet has some unique features. It is also intuitive to use. It has started me retouching more, as it feels less of a chore.

Principle

ux design tools

For animating and adding interactions to visuals. Easy import from Sketch. It is more intuitive than Flinto and easier to get up and running than FramerJS, although FramerJS is a more advanced app and amazingly powerful. I just want an easy life.

Coda

Still a great environment for coding in and it is regularly updated by the lovely guys at Bohemian Coding.

CodeKit

ux design tools

Even though I do less compiling of CSS than I used to, it is still a joy to use when needed.

InVision

ux design tools

When I need to share comps and visuals with clients and stakeholders, InVision fits the bill. It is the last step in the design process.

 

 
1 Comment
  1. Good list thanks. Do you think Affinity Designer is needed for vector work? I am using Sketch and I never touch anything else for UI work.

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