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- On January 26, 2016
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- app, collaboration, communication, design, development, how to design apps, icon, making a mobile app, mobile, mobile development, prototype, team, UI, ui ux, usability, UX, web, wireframing
There are many steps involved in designing an app beyond the visual aspect. Other steps include wireframing and prototyping, but many who are not well-acquainted with the process may feel overwhelmed. Whether you’re an expert or an amateur in design, this list will provide you with the resources needed to start on the prototype for your long-awaited app idea.
(Sketch Project for Android Smart Watch UI Kit, 2016)
Sketch is quickly becoming the standard UX design tool for many companies, which include Google, Apple, and Facebook to name a few. The platform streamlines the features used on Photoshop and Illustrator specifically for UX/UI design. Before Sketch emerged into the scene, designers would have to switch between Photoshop and Illustrator for specific features such as vectors and other photo effects. Now, Sketch enables users to fully draw out the potential of their UI design by getting rid of bloated features and focuses specifically on UX/UI design. One of the best features of Sketch is the ability to install plugins to compensate for functions that the software didn’t come with. As opposed to waiting for a software update for new features, you can simply install new features yourself. Here’s a post we wrote about some of the best plugins you can start with.
(Invision Project for Marquee Movies, 2015)
Invision is a free prototyping tool for mobile and web that makes real-time collaboration easy for teams. Invision does this by enabling direct comments on designs and threaded conversations. As a UX prototyping platform, Invision is very accessible and straightforward to use and lets designers update screens easily while retaining button interactions from previous screens.
Formerly known as Adobe Comet, the newest product among Adobe’s wide selection of creative tools is Adobe XD (Experience Design). The software includes live preview for designs on connected devices, easy prototype link sharing, and imports assets from other Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator. The platform is currently in beta stage, but what they plan to bring to the table of UX/UI design ensures that this will be a tool to look out for in the future.
Balsamiq Mockups is a wireframing tool that brings together the brainstorming power of whiteboards with the convenience of a computer. You don’t need the most design experience in the world to use Balsamiq; Their platform is easy to use and provides sketch-style wireframes to let users focus on the heart of the design before moving on to its details. The platform’s Quick Add feature lets users add and adjust icons among other design elements.
UX Pin is a UX/UI design platform that helps their users manage every part of the UX design process from wireframing to prototyping. With their screen sharing and voice calling features, UX Pin also makes it possible to present and collaborate on your designs to teammates and clients without an account.
The Noun Project is a source of over 150,000 icons, enough to be tailored to almost any app or website. If you’re a Macintosh owner, The Noun Project also has a Mac app that allows users to drag and drop icons directly into their projects.
Facebook’s free tool for prototyping user interface animations provides more accessibility for both amateurs and working professionals. What is really neat about this platform is Origami’s ability to export snippets of code. Facebook helps new users get started by providing them with their open source animation frameworks. Origami can also be linked with both Sketch and Photoshop files, which makes developing a mobile design that much more streamlined.
On the subject of the big dogs in tech and social media, Pixate, a free platform recently acquired by Google lets users create native prototypes for iOS and Android. You don’t need to write any code to see your app idea come to life. Pixate also accommodates their market by making it easy to manage projects for both the bootstrapped and the bankrolled.
If disorganized team collaborations are getting you frustrated to the point where you feel like starting a civil war, a web and mobile prototyping platform called Marvel can help organize your teams for each project. Empower yourself to be the hero of your design team with Marvel’s Sketch and Photoshop support. What makes Marvel unique is the capability to add UI assets directly from Dropbox. Don’t let that $650 price tag for Marvel’s Enterprise Plan deter you—Marvel’s free version already lets users create unlimited projects.
Zeplin simplifies the tedious process of preparing design specs by providing all the specs automatically once the project is uploaded. The platform also scales up your design assets so designers can save time to focus on other projects instead of pondering asset sizes. Also, if you’re already a user of the Slack platform, you can connect a Zeplin project to a Slack channel to make collaboration easier than ever.
Creating an app of your own takes A LOT of hard work, but these tools will help you work smarter and bring your idea closer to reality. Now that you have these tools and resources, it’s time to get to work!
Read our 10 Best Mobile Development Tools for App Design article on the Impekable Medium. Contact [email protected] if you’re looking for design and development masters to work with your app! Or if you prefer to learn it yourself, check out our next mobile workshops to grow your confidence to build great mobile apps.