There are a lot of UI design tools out there, many more than there ever used to be. It's not difficult to find UI design tools, but there are so many good ones to choose from (see our list of the best UI design tools (opens in new tab)) that narrowing the choice down to the tool that's right for you can be a bit of a challenge.
Deciding which tool to use is made more difficult by the fact there is a lot of crossover in terms of features, so where do you start? Here are a few things to consider to help you decide, and if you need wider web design resources, consider a top website builder and web hosting service.
01. Support offered
Does this design tool offer tutorials or continual support? When learning something new, it's great to quickly find answers to those initial hurdles. Check out what help there is and how active the support is.
02. Project requirements(opens in new tab)
Perhaps the number one reason for using a web design tool (opens in new tab) is being sure it will meet your project requirements. How big or complex is the project? What is the required output? These answers will help you find the right tool for the job. It always pays to try a few tools and swap between them for different projects. So don't pin your hopes and dreams on one. Experiment and think about requirements.
03. Upgrade frequency
Like all products and tools, they'll need to adapt, reinvent and offer better ways of doing things. Does this tool look like it would upgrade or offer you more as time goes by? You don't want to be left with a tool that doesn't keep up with the industry standard (unlike our picks of cloud storage options, of course).
04. Number of integrations
Whatever your workflow is, does this tool help speed things up with compatible integrations? You will likely be using a number of different solutions to help you get through the day, so any form of integration could be of interest.
05. Collaboration needs(opens in new tab)
Who else do you need to consider when choosing your design tool? It will make work harder if you're all working with different tools. Collaboration might not always be necessary but sharing files with others could be.
06. Learning curve and resources
Is this tool something that requires a lot of learning and is it a big step from what you were previously using? Trialling a new tool is always a good idea before launching it on a client's project and only you will know if you find it easy to use. See what resources are available to help you learn and what time you can dedicate to it.
07. Price and value
Always a pinch point in any situation. Can you safely maximise the potential of using a tool against its cost? Whether it's subscription or a fixed licence fee, factor in what value you would gain.
08. Community available
Check out what other designers are using and how supportive they are of these tools. Does the tool offer its own community? Some tools do, and it's always a wonderful experience to share and gain inspiration from like-minded designers.
Who's behind the tool? Where else are the developers focusing and to what purpose? InVision (opens in new tab), for example, says: "We believe the screen is the most important place in the world. That's why we are dedicated to helping you deliver the best possible digital product experience, with our platform and best practices from your peers." This dedication gives you confidence in the continual development of the company's tools and that it understands your needs.
This article was originally published in issue 313 of net (opens in new tab), the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers. Buy issue 313 here (opens in new tab) or subscribe here (opens in new tab).