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20 best web design tools for creative teams

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by Katie Oberthaler

29 October 2021

Looking for the best web design tools? 

Designers rely on more than one tool to accomplish their work as they move through the different stages of the web design process.

Whether you’re creating mockups and prototypes or collaborating on the final design, using the right tools for the job makes life so much easier.

In this guide, we’ve listed a host of the top free and premium tools for each critical phase in the web design process: 

  • Planning and conceptualization
  • Creative content collaboration
  • Sitemaps and wireframing
  • Mockups and prototyping
  • Deployment
  • UX testing

Let’s dive in!

20 Best Web Design Tools (By Function)

Whether you’re designing for your brand or an agency, here are the best tools for each stage of the web design process.

Ziflow 

Best for: Creative and design content collaboration, markup, review, and approval.

Ziflow is the secure, enterprise-ready collaboration, review, and approval software used by design, marketing and creative teams everywhere. with modern design feedback management, creative workflow automation, robust internal and external collaboration, and review and approval integrations with design software, Ziflow has everything you need for review and approval in a package that suits your design team.

Notable brands: AWS, Linney, Toyota, Weber, DuPont, and Showtime.

Key features:

  • Centralize feedback in a modern review and approval environment with robust markup tools and simple version management
  • Live and static website review. 
  • Direct integration with Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, and After Effects.
  • Easily add reviewers to proofs and begin the review process.
  • Collaborate directly on creative content using robust markup capabilities and rich discussion threads that let you comment, reply, share files, and more. 
  • Automatically compare versions to highlight pixel-by-pixel differences in color, images, and text.
  • Customize the review and approval process, including reviewer roles, access, notifications, and more, to fit your requirements.
  • Automate and streamline every review with stage progression triggers.
  • Track review progress in the custom dashboard and see which reviewers have received, opened, commented on, and made decisions on a proof. 
  • Eliminate endless email chains, messy printouts, and other legacy tools.
  • Work with your team on any piece of creative content, including mobile and tablet.

Pricing:

Ziflow has a range of subscription plans for different-sized businesses:

  • Basic: $9/user/month 
  • Starter: $18/user/month 
  • Business: $45/user/month
  • Enterprise: Pricing by request for organizations that need enterprise-grade security and workflow automation.
  • Free Trial: 14-day free trial.

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Figma

Best for: Collaborative wireframing and prototyping.

Figma is a cloud-based user interface (UI) designing and prototyping tool, which allows multiple stakeholders to collaborate in real-time on creating, testing, and deploying interface or product designs.

Notable brands: Airbnb, Dropbox, Kimberly-Clark, Uber, and Zoom.

Key features:

  • Prepare designs with advanced drawing tools like Smart Selection and Vector Networks.
  • Resize various components of interface designs automatically. 
  • Create prototypes with interactive overlays such as hover, on-click, or button press, and utilize GIFs to add video elements or animations. 
  • Edit designs simultaneously, track changes, add notes, discover newly uploaded files, and share design links.
  • View, comment, inspect, or export files for free.
  • Comment directly on a prototype or file for easy reference.
  • Auto-saves and creates new versions of your files every 30 minutes.

Pricing:

Figma has a range of subscription plans for different-sized businesses:

  • Starter: Free forever
  • Professional: $12 per editor/month
  • Organization: $45 per editor/month

MockFlow

Best for: Wireframing and planning websites.

MockFlow is an online wireframe and collaboration tool that simplifies the process of planning, creating, and sharing designs. It comes with an extensive library of mockup components, icons, stickers, and other shapes for quickly and efficiently building clean interface mockups.

Key features:

  • Draw rapid wireframes and iterate UI layouts for your websites and apps.
  • Collaborate, conduct design meetings, and make remote presentations.
  • Formulate your product strategy with sitemaps, user journeys, and data flows.
  • Document and maintain design assets across teams.
  • Record and share UI demo videos powered by Loom.
  • Extend your design experience with add-ons like Proposal Creator, Change Log, Unsplash, and DocuSign.

Pricing:

Mockflow has several subscription plans to suit your requirements:

  • Basic: Free forever
  • Wireframing: $14/user/month
  • Product Design: $16/user/month
  • Enterprise: Request quote

 

Proto.io

Best for: Prototyping.

Proto.io is a prototyping platform that lets you create web and mobile app prototypes that look and feel just like the real thing. You can view and experience prototypes interactively within a browser or mobile device.

Notable brands: Ideo, PayPal, King, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Showtime.

Key features:

  • Design prototypes intuitively using the drag-and-drop user interface.
  • Create mobile app screens, apply screen orientation, screen transitions, and define touch events for each design element on the screen. 
  • Includes design elements and UI components for prototyping, such as toolbars, tab bars, navigation bars, menus, forms, text, photos, and more. 
  • Get instant and specific feedback with comments. 
  • Print and present prototypes in the traditional way.

Pricing:

Proto.io has several subscription plans for various sized organizations:

  • Free: Free forever
  • Freelancer: $24/month
  • Startup: $40/month
  • Agency: $80/month
  • Corporate: $80/month
  • Enterprise: Request quote
  • Free Trial: 15-day free trial.

 

InVision Studio

Best for: Designing, prototyping, and animation.

InVision Studio is a powerful screen design tool inspired by the world’s best design teams where you can design, prototype, and animate all in one place.

Notable brands: Salesforce, Oracle, Uber, American Express, and Interapt.

Key features:

  • Turn ideas into robust screen designs with the intuitive vector-based drawing tool, flexible layers, and an infinite canvas. 
  • Design, adjust, and scale your vision to fit any screen or layout automatically. 
  • Create fluid interactions and high-fidelity prototypes quickly and then preview your work directly within Studio. 
  • Get to the fine-tuning stage faster with frictionless screen animations. 
  • Stay consistent, connected, and up to date with shared design component libraries.
  • Collaborate with your entire team using the synced workflow.

Pricing:

InVision offers several pricing plans: 

  • Free: Free forever
  • Pro: $7.95/user/month 
  • Enterprise: Pricing by request
  • Free Trial: Try the Pro version for free

Sketch

Best for: Designing prototypes collaboratively.

Sketch is one of the most popular web design platforms. It’s a versatile vector-based tool for designing website interfaces and prototypes collaboratively.   

Notable brands: Facebook, Google, LookUp, Stripe, and Xbox.

Key features:

  • Create incredible designs from pixel-perfect icons to your next product with the Mac app.
  • Collaborate in real-time, on the same document, inside the Mac app.
  • Get feedback from stakeholders and share prototypes for testing using the Web app.
  • Keep all your documents synced together with full version history inside your Workspace.
  • Iterate faster with reusable Styles and responsive Symbols that scale to fit your content.
  • Invite developers to view, inspect, and measure designs in any browser.

Pricing:

Sketch has a couple of pricing options for individuals and teams: 

  • Standard: $9/editor/month 
  • Business: Pricing by request
  • Free Trial: 30-day free trial

Balsamiq

Best for: Rapid wireframing during the early stages of UI design.

Balsamiq Wireframes is a rapid low-fidelity UI wireframing tool that reproduces the experience of sketching on a notepad or whiteboard. It forces you to focus on structure and content, avoiding lengthy discussions about colors and details that come later in the design process.

Balsamiq Cloud also offers flexible project sharing controls, real-time co-editing, threaded comments with callouts, chat, and project history.

Notable brands: Cisco, Pivotal Labs, Adobe, Zappos, Tesla, Skype, and eBay.

Key features:

  • Access hundreds of built-in and community-generated UI controls and icons.
  • Create templates, masters, and reusable and customizable component libraries.
  • Generate simple prototypes for demos or usability testing.
  • Share or present wireframes on the web via images or interactive PDFs.
  • Improve your designs by getting immediate and meaningful feedback.
  • Switch skins from sketch-like controls to clean wireframes for presentations.

Pricing:

Balsamiq Cloud is charged per Space. For each Space, you can choose between the following three plans:

  • 2 Projects: $9/month
  • 20 Projects: $49/month
  • 200 Projects: $199/month
  • Free Trial: 30-day free trial

Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop (Mac or Windows) is available from $89/user.

Mockingbird

Best for: Mocking up website wireframes.

Mockingbird is an online tool that helps you create and share clickable wireframes. You can use it to create, link together, preview, and share your website or application mockups in minutes.

Key features:

  • Mockup your website or application ideas quickly.
  • Drag UI elements to the page, then rearrange and resize them. 
  • Connect multiple mockups and preview them interactively to get an idea of the way your application flows.
  • Share a link so that clients and teammates can edit wireframes with you in real-time. 
  • No more emailing images back and forth.
  • Export to PDF or PNG.

Pricing:

Mockingbird has several subscription plans for unlimited collaborators based on the number of projects:

  • 3 projects: $12/month
  • 10 projects: $20/ month
  • 25 projects: $40/month
  • Unlimited projects: $85/month
  • Free Trial: 7 days

Adobe Creative Cloud

Best for: Creative content production.

Adobe Creative Cloud is a collection of 20+ apps for photography, video, design, web, UX, and social media, plus color palettes, font families, collaborative tools, and much more. 

Apps like InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator enable design teams to create and review graphics, photos, and multipage media in one environment. And with Ziflow’s Adobe plugins, you can collaborate on review and approval right from the design tools you use every day. 

Key features:

  • Photoshop: Edit, composite, and create images, graphics, and art on desktop and iPad.
  • Illustrator: Create vector illustrations on desktop and iPad.
  • InDesign: Design and publish elegant layouts for print and digital.
  • XD: Design, prototype, and share user experiences for web, mobile, voice, and more.
  • Spark: Create graphics, web pages, and video stories quickly on mobile and tablet.
  • After Effects: Create cinematic visual effects and motion graphics on desktop.
  • Animate: Create animations on any platform, device, and style.

Pricing:

Adobe Creative Cloud has several subscription plans:

  • Individuals: $52.99/month
  • Teams: $79.99/month
  • Students and teachers: $19.99/month for the first year, $29.99/month after that.
  • Free Trial: 7 days

Framer X

Best for: Prototyping for teams.

Framer is an all-in-one tool that allows teams to design every aspect of the product experience, from mockups and wireframes to prototypes and user testing. You can create prototypes in the canvas with animations, transitions, and components and get better feedback from user tests, functional handoff code for engineers, and quicker buy-in from stakeholders.

Notable brands: Zoom, Spotify, Ticketmaster, Airbnb, Hulu, and Frog.

Key features:

  • Iterate and animate interface ideas for your next app, website, or product using powerful layouts.
  • Search, browse, and drag-and-drop components into your project from the free library.
  • Customize how your design elements animate across screen transitions.
  • Collaborate and iterate on designs with marketers, copywriters, and designers in real-time.
  • Present your prototype with custom backgrounds, device frames, and device hands.
  • Send a link to share your complete interactive prototype and get buy-in from stakeholders.

Pricing:

Framer has three subscription plans:

  • Free: For anyone validating Framer as a professional prototyping tool.
  • Pro: $19/editor/month
  • Enterprise: Customized plan for organizations with 20+ users that need additional control, security, and support.

Adobe XD

Best for: Wireframes, animations, prototypes, and collaboration.

Adobe XD is packed with tools to help you effortlessly design websites, apps, and more. The vector-based UI design and wireframing tool also supports prototyping animations.

Key features:

  • Quickly sketch wireframes and mockups.
  • Create high-fidelity designs for any screen.
  • Work together in real-time.
  • Add animations, build interactive prototypes, and test across devices.
  • Handoff designs, collect feedback, and iterate quickly.

Pricing:

You can subscribe to XD on its own or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite:

  • Single app: $9.99/month 
  • Creative Suite: $52.99/month 
  • Free Trial: 7-day free trials for both options

UXPin

Best for: UI design and prototyping.

UXPin is a product design platform that lets you create prototypes that work like the finished product. Your team can easily design, collaborate, and present low-fidelity wireframes and fully interactive prototypes. 

UXPin Merge is a new product that lets designers and developers use the same components synced from their Git repository to build products faster.

Notable brands: HBO, Sony, Microsoft, Autodesk, and Netflix.

Key features:

  • Turn your wireframes and UX flows into mockups and fully interactive prototypes all in one tool.
  • Design life-like prototypes down to the tiniest detail with advanced interactions, variables, or states to show the story of your design.
  • Design beautiful, detailed user interfaces faster than ever before.
  • Verify user journeys easily with built-in design elements, easy mockups, comments, and online user testing.
  • Get feedback from your team, share specs with developers, and get approval from stakeholders.
  • Build dynamic, cohesive, and reusable design systems that are easy to maintain and ensure consistency across the entire organization.

Pricing:

There are two pricing options for UXPin.

UXPin Standard has five subscription plans:

  • Free: Limited version
  • Basic: $19/editor/month
  • Advanced: $29/editor/month
  • Professional: $69/editor/month
  • Enterprise: Custom quote

UXPin Merge has four subscription plans:

  • Free: Limited version
  • Startup: $89/editor/month
  • Company: $119/editor/month
  • Enterprise: Custom quote

Lunacy by Icons8

Best for: UI design for Windows. 

Lunacy is a powerful vector design tool for Windows. It offers all the power of Sketch, including reading and saving Sketch files, plus it's free forever.

Key features:

  • Built-in icons, photos, vector illustrations, and more.
  • Native Windows app that takes full advantage of the hardware and works perfectly offline.
  • Performs 2x faster than Figma, 6x faster than InVision, and 10x faster than Adobe XD.

Pricing:

Lunacy is free forever with unlimited personal and commercial use.

Niice

Best for: Creative asset management.

Niice is a brand asset manager for in-house creative teams. You can store all your guidelines, libraries, and projects together in a collaborative hub that evolves with your brand.

Notable brands: Disney, Contino, Udemy, Sonos, and Activision.

Key features:

  • Visualize your entire brand story, from the logos to the latest campaign.
  • Arrange all of your assets so that you can see everything in context.
  • Customize everything, because your brand is more than a logo.
  • Collaborate in real-time and keep everyone in sync as your brand evolves.
  • Integrate with Slack, Chrome, and Adobe XD.

Pricing:

Niice has four subscription plans that scale with your brand:

  • Free: $0
  • Starter: $83.25/month
  • Growth: $419/month
  • Enterprise: Custom quote

Bootstrap

Best for: Prebuilt web design framework.

Bootstrap is the world’s most popular framework for building mobile-first, responsive websites. It’s essentially a free library of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which helps streamline building a site from scratch. 

Key features:

  • Built-in components library includes headers, navigation, buttons, forms, alerts, and more.
  • Custom components and templates such as Pricing, Checkout, and Carousel help you get started quickly.
  • Snippets like Headers, Heroes, and Sidebars for building sites and apps on existing components and utilities with custom CSS and more.
  • Open source SVG icon library, designed to work best with Bootstrap components and documentation.

Pricing:

Bootstrap is free.

Startup by DesignModo

Best for: Prototyping and website builder.

​​Startup is a browser-based drag-and-drop Bootstrap theme builder that lets you create everything from a prototype to a landing page or fully designed website. You can build a website without writing code using the drag-and-drop interface, but you will need to understand HTML and CSS.

Notable brands: Google, Windows, Nike, NASA, and Cisco.

Key features:

  • Choose the style of your website or create your own Bootstrap theme. 
  • Select from 300+ blocks with pre-designed and pre-coded elements and styles you can customize. 
  • Integrated with Google Fonts.
  • Edit the content of each page online with the Startup editor. 
  • Export your design in clearly written HTML, CSS, Sass, JavaScript code.

Pricing:

Startup has three subscription plans:

  • Free: $0
  • Business: $21/month
  • Agency: $29/month

Marvel 

Best for: Wireframing, designing, prototyping, and user testing.

Marvel app is an online design platform that lets you wireframe, design, and prototype quickly, collaborate, test, and gather feedback. Instantly generate design specs from low to high-fidelity.

Notable brands: Buzzfeed, Monzo, Typeform, Stripe, and Trainline.

Key features:

  • Design beautiful interfaces and wireframes in minutes.
  • Make designs interactive.
  • Handoff designs to the development team.
  • Analyze how users interact with your designs and prototypes.
  • Centralize feedback and ideas.

Pricing:

Marvel has several subscription plans:

  • Free: £0
  • Pro: £8/month
  • Team: £24/month
  • Enterprise: Custom quote

 

Bubble

Best for: Building web apps without coding.

Bubble is a powerful no-code platform that lets you build interactive, multi-user production-ready web apps for desktop and mobile browsers. 

Notable brands: Dividend, Qoins, Teal, and Comet.

Key features:

  • Develop interactive, multi-user web apps for desktop and mobile browsers.
  • Create mobile-friendly layouts and dynamic content for a polished product.
  • Empower your team to make changes and provide feedback during iterations. 
  • Demonstrate your prototype before investing technical resources.
  • Includes robust, scalable infrastructure and hosting for unlimited users, traffic volume, and data storage.

Pricing:

Bubble offers a choice of four subscription plans:

  • Free: $0
  • Personal: $25/month
  • Professional: $115/month
  • Production: $475/month

WordPress

Best for: Creative content collaboration.

WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) that makes creating a website, blog, or app easy. Over 40% of the web uses WordPress, from hobby blogs to the biggest publications online.

Notable brands: Disney, CBSN, Star Wars, Rolling Stone, and Vogue.

Key features:

  • Choose from over 8,000 free themes to style your site.
  • Extend your site’s functionality from over 55,000 free plugins without any coding. 
  • Add an online store, galleries, mailing lists, forums, analytics, and much more.

Pricing:

WordPress is free, but you’ll need to budget for web hosting.

Webflow

Best for: Designing websites with no code.

Webflow empowers designers to build professional, custom websites in a completely visual canvas with no code. It also includes fast, reliable, and hassle-free hosting that scales with your business.

Notable brands: Zendesk, Rakuten, Dell, Upwork, and HelloSign.

Key features:

  • Build production-ready experiences without coding.
  • Add CMS and ecommerce functionality.
  • Create immersive interactions and animations.
  • Create, launch, and iterate on new marketing campaigns without distracting your product team.
  • Connect your marketing tools with built-in integrations and custom code.
  • Create and update content right on the page with the Webflow Editor.

Pricing:

Webflow has a forever free option plus various other types of subscription plans:

Site plans for personal sites, blogs, and business websites:

  • Basic: $12/month
  • CMS: $16/month
  • Business: $36/month
  • Enterprise: Custom quote

Ecommerce plans enable checkout functionality:

  • Standard: $29/month
  • Plus: $74/month
  • Advanced: $212/month

Account plans for individuals and teams unlock additional features:

  • Lite: $16/month
  • Pro: $35/month
  • Team: $35/person/month
  • Enterprise: Custom quote

Final Thoughts

With a wide selection of tools to fit any budget, from free to premium, web designers from brands and agencies can pick and choose the best software for each stage of the design process. 

Plus, whatever web design tool you’re looking for, you can take advantage of a free trial to check that it meets your requirements.

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