Guide to UX and UI Design: Best UX/UI Tools, Methods, and Practices

Ellen Gregory

Whether you’re immersed in the world of design, or just testing the waters, you have most likely heard the terms UX and UI thrown around at one point or another. Take that a step further, and you’ve probably gone searching for the best UX tools, or the best UI tools to really bring the app, website, or product you’re designing, to life. Why? Because at the end of the day, creating the best look and feel of a product is imperative to your design’s success. 

Creating an exceptional and memorable user experience, that entices your target audience, requires a seamless and overall positive experience. It’s all about striking a careful balance between pleasure and functionality. Within seconds of viewing your app, site or product, your user should clearly understand how your interface works and the value it offers them. Typically speaking, your UX design is a major deciding factor of whether a user becomes a loyal user, or leaves your site for a competitor. 

Let’s dive into our UX and UI guide for an in-depth review of user interface design, user experience design, the best UX tools, the best UI tools, and how honing these skills can help take your designs to the next level.

best UX/UI tools
Achieve a striking visual impact with the best UX/UI tools.

UI vs UX: Best UX/UI tools, methods, practices

UX design refers to user experience design. A major component of UX design that sets it apart from UI is the emphasis on creating a positive experience while fulfilling a user’s needs. Every decision is made with the end user’s experience in mind, including their perceptions, emotions, and responses to a company’s product, system, or service. The best UX tools or methods to measure UX are anything that taps into the why, what, and how throughout the design process, Learn more about UX design in Measuring the Success of Your User Experience Design

UI design, or user interface design, refers to designing visual user interfaces in software or computerized devices, and anything that focuses or tests the design’s look, feel, interactivity, animation, responsiveness, adaptation to all device types, and implementation with a developer. It focused on how a product’s look and function and is best defined as the access points where a user interacts with design elements

best UI tools
UI patterns create a sense of familiarity and comfort.


Here is a basic breakdown of each:

UX Design

  • User testing
  • Data analytics
  • Site mapping
  • User satisfaction
  • Prototyping
  • Collaboration 

UI Design

  • Output devices
  • Action buttons
  • User controls
  • Tools
  • Input devices
  • Content
  • Visual design

By understanding the difference between UX and UI, you can achieve great designs by focusing on different parts of the process and design discipline, and balancing them together. 

It’s important for both your UI design and your UX design to coincide with one another, but they achieve this by focusing on different parts of the process and design discipline. Learn more about UI design in our post, Master your UI design with these 7 crucial UI design fundamentals.

Powerful UX and UI designs

Whether you’re designing a website, an app, a web form or another kind of interactive interface, stellar UI design is crucial to your success. Without top-notch UI design, users aren’t going to stick around because it causes a disruption between users and your company. 

How you lead your user through your design is essential. UI design works best when it’s an invisible guide, and considered easy to use and simple by your target audience. When contemplating features or elements, always consider if it’ll enhance or diminish your users’ experience. Start with what’s absolutely essential and ensure that every feature has a purpose. Only include and add features that you can clearly defend the need for. 

Even the tiniest tweak to your UI design can have a massive impact. It’s been noted that the shape of your button can predict whether or not someone instinctively understands how to accomplish a task. It’s wild, but it’s true! Design cues play a major role in how a user will interact with your design, so you need to ensure you’re communicating clearly.

You should know exactly who your target user is, what they are familiar with, and the intended end goal. What are they trying to accomplish, and what are their expectations? Taking the time to identify these means you can appropriately solve their problem by creating a process that guides users seamlessly through a series of tasks. Ultimately, your user experience design should balance aesthetics and functionality. It’s intended to help define your user's journey in a way that optimizes your business’s success. 

best UX/UI tools balance pleasure and functionality
UI design is the access point where a user interacts with a design element.


Providing an exceptional and memorable user experience that attracts loyal customers are designed with both the ease of the process, and the overall experience. It’s all about balancing pleasure and functionality. 

The best results come from directly interacting with your users, and gaining insight from them. When considering the best UX tools and the best UI tools, look for tools that not only create a better experience, but also provide you with user feedback. With CloudApp, get feedback from your user, observe how they interact with your interface, learn from their hands-on experience and view the results from an objective standpoint. 

Ask your users, and yourself, questions about their decisions, thoughts, and feelings. Your users are your most valuable teachers, so pay close attention to their actions and reactions. There are endless ways where CloudApp can enhance your team’s development.  It can be easily integrated with a number of other platforms and offers a variety of features for the ultimate tool to help streamline the process. CloudApp features allow you to create, annotate, and share screenshots, GIFs, video snippets, and screen recordings with others. 

UX design user-centered 

Your user experience design goal is to create a positive experience while fulfilling a user’s needs. UX design is an essential middleman between the user and your company. When a user is considering which product or company to buy from, your UX and UI designs is a make or break factor. It can easily be what sways a user into becoming a loyal customer, or leaving your site for a competitor. This is the key component between successful conversions vs high bounce rate. Since the key to great UX and UI, and all the best UX tools, or best UI tools strive to create seamless user experience design, it’s best to imagine ourselves as the user. 

The process of developing a successful user experience design can be broken down into a number of steps.

  1. Your experience design target market
  2.  Wireframes, prototypes, sitemaps and user flow diagrams
  3.  Testing and Measuring UX Experience
UX design solves problems
A successful user experience design identifies specific problems and solves them.


This helps designers transcend beyond their perceived notions and ideas about what they believe defines a good user experience, allows them to tap into how the user perceives the experience, and ultimately, solve problems. 

We’ve all experienced an app, or landed on a site that was difficult to navigate, or confusing in one way or another. Chances are you probably did what most people would do in that situation - you closed the window or the app, and found a competitor with a better UI and UX design. One of the hardest things about design is the fact that the sign of a successful design is how invisible and seamless it is to the user. Whether it’s a product, an app, or a website, you’re always designing and developing with your user in mind and striving to create the ultimate experience. However, a successful design may look and feel very different, depending on the target audience.

In order to make a seamless experience for users, you need to break complex tasks, such as registering for Microsoft’s small business academy, down into a simple process. Users need to know exactly what they’re accomplishing every step of the way with easy to understand UI and UX, and simple to follow instructions. 

User experience (UX) design
UX design is the process of making complex tasks easy to understand and to follow.


Source: Microsoft

Best UX/UI tools

Understanding the goal, design principles and methods for achieving great UI and UX are essential to your success. Combine your knowledge about UI and UX with the elements and principles of design and Gestalt Principle in design to truly achieve effective composition that delivers a clear message to your audience.

Okay, so let’s get down to the next big questions: what are the best UX tools, and the best UI tools? With so many options out there, and with the rapidly changing world of graphic design, staying up-to-date on the latest trends and implementing the best UX/UI tools into your workflow is key. As with anything, the best rule of thumb is to “follow and borrow” from current trends while balancing classical design elements. Check out UX Planets Top UX/UI Tools for user interface and user experience projects in 2020, and take a look at a few of our recommendations.

Ultimate all-in-one UX/UI tools
Even the tiniest tweak to your UX or UI design can have a massive impact.


Adobe XD

With Adobe XD, dubbed the ultimate all-in-one UX/UI made for designers, by designers, you can watch your ideas grow from an idea to wireframes to an interactive prototype in minutes. 

Sketch

Sketch, an entirely vector-based and focused on user interface design and perfect if you need to design for multiple devices. It has been renowned for being designed as an image editor for digital design.

Mockflow

Prototypes are intended to quickly test design solutions. Explore problems, ideas, and opportunities within a specific area of focus to reveal invaluable insights and experiences that can inform innovative design decisions. At the top of the list of the best UX/UI tools, Mockflow is perfect for planning your UI/UX. With Mockflow, visualize user interfaces, create user flows, document styles and approve designs.

Mural

Mural is best described as a digital UX whiteboard. Effortlessly collaborative with your entire product teams in real-time. This is a great place to brainstorm ideas and organize concepts.

Improve communication with best UX/UI tools
Since UX and UI is collaborative, it’s essential to stay connected with your team.

Source: Slack

Slack

Slack’s mission is to make work-life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive. Since so much of UX and UI is collaborative, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we think Slack is one of the best UX tools and best UI tools out there. The instant messaging platform, Slack, has made communicating in the workplace much easier. Even if we work in the same office as our team members, it’s not uncommon to depend on instant messaging platforms to communicate with one another. 

Share images or documents, comment in threads to keep conversations organized, integrate tools, message or voice call coworkers individually, tag your coworkers, update your status, and more. 



Best UX/UI tools CloudApp
Streamline your user experience and user interface with CloudApp.

Streamline great designs with CloudApp

There’s no special formula or one size fits all for designing the best experience, it all depends on your users. When you’re seeking the best UX tools or best UI tools, you may find that the practices and tools you implement in one project aren’t as successful for another. Each design is unique, which means meeting a particular set of needs, unique to that design. It all depends on your user’s needs and expectations, and the goal of that design. 

Whether you’re focusing on creating the ultimate user experience, or enhancing your UI design, a great design effectively executes and blends both UX and UI. 

When you’re designing and developing products or services, you want to ensure you have created the best experience. This means ensuring a user can navigate efficiently and naturally throughout your design without being distracted by visual elements. 

Powerful designs are all about trial and error, so fail fast, and iterate often. The time you take investing in distilling your design down to the most simplistic and visually appealing design will be well worth it. Effectively blending and executing UI and UX design elements will greatly increase the likelihood of creating a repeat user. Furthermore, it’ll increase the chances that your user will complete targeted or directed actions.


Collaboration, speed, effective communication, and consistency are key throughout every stage of the design process. CloudApp offers a variety of features to help enhance your UI and UX design development. CloudApp is compatible with Macs and PC. Install the CloudApp Mac App, Windows App, iOS app, or our Chrome Plugin today.

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