I had always believed that every designer has his own way of thinking, Methodology of working and a set of tools to achieve his goals. For me, When it comes to design tools, I’m a little bit old school, and I chose simple and easy to use once 😀
If you have your own list or you’re the type of person who loves very short articles and summaries, you’re welcome to skip or to go directly to the short version of the article here.
And to those of you who are just starting out, And who are in the process of choosing the top tools that fit best for them, or managers who want to know what to suggest to their new UX/UI Designer, I will share the set of tools I use in my daily UI/UX design work. and why I use them, to help you guys stay creative, Inspired and productive, until you get the job done.
Time Management and productivity
No job could be done, and no task could be tackled if you haven’t manage your time according to it! That’s why It’s important to have the following tools;
- Notebook: Using a physical object, to write down your ideas and tasks, and to keep them in one place, accessible wherever you go makes you feel in control, which helps you be ready psychologically, to achieving your goals. That’s why I have so many notebooks!
- Google Calendar: If you want to keep track of your next meetings, project deadlines, and other important tasks, you may need a reminder as to the Google calendar.
- Things: When I get a clear vision of tasks to do, and goals to achieve, I love setting up monthly, weekly or day to day to-do lists, and I enjoy checking up “done checkboxes” and log-out all accomplished tasks at the end of the day.
- Be focused: If you’re in a rush and running of time, or you’re just the type of person who loves to take advantage of every minute and second he can get, I highly recommend you to use Be Focused timer.
Ideation and inspiration
- Pen and Paper: So many designers don’t use them, but I personally think that a paper and pen are necessary to ideat, brainstorm and have those ideas written on a piece of a paper, along with basic drawings and sketches, giving the chance to your brain to processing them before jumping into the overwhelming interfaces of inspiration websites and design tools.
- Google Image: Searching for UI design images of existing products, which are similar to the project I started working on helps me see and come up with new ideas I have never thought of.
- Pinterest: It makes it easy to pin and save any user interface you like, into your own collection which you can easily share with your teammates later on.
- Dribbble: Before you jump into the fun part of creating a visual final design, the best place for any UI designer to look for inspiration is Dribbble. It has the world’s best of the best UI designers’ works.
- Behance: You’ll find in Behance a variety of creative artworks, UI/UX projects, case studies and much more to get inspired from and ready to get your hand dirty.
- Google Play Store/ Apple App Store: If you’re working on a mobile app UI design, search for existing similar apps on one or both of these application stores, install them and play around with them for some time. Have a look at how these apps solve their problems and pay attention to every single little detail. Especially if it’s the first time you work on such a project because it helps a lot in opening your mind for new possibilities.
Moving pixels around, adding icons, images, colors… and making the design alive is the most fun part of the work of every UI designer’s work!. There are so many UI design tools and software out there, but next are the ones I use daily;
- Sketch: I tried many design tools and software, but since the first time I had used Sketch, I became obsessed with its simplicity and efficacity in getting the UI design work done.
wether its UX design as for screen flows and low to high fidelity wireframes, UI design or UI design presentations, I pretty much use Sketch in almost every task of my daily work. It’s simple, easy to use and had a lot of helpful plugins that make my life easier.
- Adobe suite: It has been a very long time since last time I had used Adobe Photoshop for UI design purposes, but I’m still using it for photo editing and other stuff along with Adobe Illustrator.
- Invision App: The Invision App, for me, is the best tool for creating prototypes and testing out the design and the screen flow of your Apps, simultaneously with the UI design work.
- Craft: A very powerful Sketch Plugin for Invision App synchronization, prototyping, custom data, and more great features.
- Google fonts: It’s a great place to search for top Free trending fonts, people are searching for.
- Unsplash: some High-resolution images from all over the world for Free.
- Material Design Icons: I love the concept of material design icons from google, I use them almost in all of my designs.
- Icon Jar: Making your icon sets accessible, Organizing them, and keeping them in one place. Icon Jar Interface does a great job of saving you a lot of time looking around for a certain icon.
Collaboration and Communication
- Invision App: Yes, and again, Invision is the best design tool ever, for collaborating with stakeholders and sharing design assets with developers in a push of a button.
- Dropbox: any of you will disagree with putting it in this list, but I find it a very convenient clouding service for sharing my files with the team.
Yes, It’s old school, but I’m used to it because it keeps all my shared files in one place. And if I wanted to switch to another similar tool to work with my team, I would choose Abstract, a very powerful tool in the market.
- Gmail: I tried a variety of Email services, but the most effective one I can recommend is Gmail.
- Zoom Video conferencing: For remote meetings and video calls with your team or clients.
There are many other tools, which can be added to this list, but I would never recommend a tool that I have never tried myself. And to keep the article as short as possible, for the sake of time, these were the top and most basic design tools I’m using myself to get the job done 😉
I hope you guys find value in this article! and if you did like it please share it with your friends