Top 5 prototyping tools title and person selecting between Figma, XD, Sketch, axure, and balsamiq beside a screen with a prototype and wireframes

Learning Center

Top 5 Prototyping Tools | Arctic Leaf

By: Martin Madeanu, UX Designer | Apr 16, 2023 | 3 Minute Read

Between creating designs for clients, collaborating with other team members, and exporting assets for developers, it’s often easy for you, as the UX designer, to get overwhelmed. But by using the right prototyping tools, you can make your life much easier. Even more so when you pick a prototyping tool that combines every design feature you need into one simplified, easy-to-use software.


Here are five powerful prototyping tools that can cater to just about all of your specific design needs.


Figma logo

1. Figma

As it stands, Figma is the industry-leading prototyping tool for design professionals and allows for high fidelity prototypes. Figma’s team of developers adds new features every few months and are open to taking suggestions and ideas from the community of creatives who are currently using it. With constant feedback-based updates to improve its own user experience, it’s no wonder that this is the best prototyping tool to use.

Not only is Figma a wonderful prototyping tool for creating wireframes and interactive prototypes, it is also extremely flexible. Whether you’d like to download the stand-alone app or work via your browser, you will have access to all of Figma’s functionality. You can even use the FigJam project option to collaborate in real-time with other team members. This real-time aspect is great when participating in brainstorming sessions or getting approval to rapidly move a design forward.

As a note, Adobe has recently acquired Figma. Therefore, you can likely anticipate even more new features to be implemented alongside integration with apps from the Adobe suite.


Adobe XD logo

2. Adobe XD

On the topic of Adobe, Adobe XD is not being replaced by Figma (so far) and remains a useful and competitive tool. Currently the biggest benefit of Adobe XD is that if you use Adobe CC, you have already paid for it and can use it straight away. It is an app that started off fairly basic, but has grown to become a powerful tool for professionals. From creating artwork using vectors and symbols, to building an animated prototype–or even prepping everything for production, you can do just about anything with it. The other great thing is that if you are collaborating as a team, you can easily share your design and prototype with everyone on your team. 

As it is a prototyping tool included in the Adobe environment, you can use it directly with Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects. This can greatly streamline your workflow as you can drag and drop assets directly into XD without issue.


Sketch Logo

3. Sketch

One of the top three prototyping tools out there: Sketch. It is an industry-leading app allowing you to create not only low-fidelity wireframes, but also high-fidelity designs with animations and hotlinks to other pages. Its vector-based editing is great for when you want to create assets such as icons, artwork, buttons, etc. directly in Sketch and quickly export the code. This is a great time saver especially as you can wireframe, design and build your site all within one piece of software.

The fact that you can design any asset or UI element also means that they are easy to make into a symbol to replicate throughout a design or to make any necessary global changes.

So why isn’t Sketch our number one recommendation? It doesn’t run on Windows! If you want to use it, you’ll have to get yourself a nice new iMac Pro as well.


Axure Logo

4. Axure


This prototyping tool with its often mis-pronounced name is also very powerful, but comes with a steeper learning curve than most others. It has all the features that our last tool has in addition to touting some other really useful user experience-focused ones which can take coding out of the equation… Sorry, developers! These features include Dynamic Panels (hover, click, different states), Inline Frames (scrollable data forms), Repeater (tables), Conditional Logic, and more. Using these can really help you to visualize and create a fully functional design which goes a long way when trying to impress clients.

It can also integrate assets from Sketch and XD, which allows for cross-platform usage. All this can then be uploaded to the cloud to be shared, inspected, and commented on by anyone who has access to your high fidelity prototype.


Balsamiq Logo


5. Balsamiq

Last but not least, we have Balsamiq, this app really is more for UX ideation in that it allows for rapid prototyping, and getting an idea from paper to design in a user friendly, simple workflow. Create brainstorming sessions for quick client feedback, and roughly sketch wireframes for user journeys and interaction. It’s a low-fidelity prototyping tool, so it isn’t made for creating a nice sleek interactive prototype which you can with other prototyping tools, but that’s perfectly fine! Balsamiq is the digital equivalent of sitting in a meeting room throwing out ideas and doing trial and error on what does and doesn’t work in a website. It doesn’t throw any fancy tricks, but by keeping it simple, it allows the creative process to flow smoothly without getting in your face.


And that’s our top five! While there are plenty of stellar prototyping tools out there to put in your design arsenal, these are the best of the best. Each has something indispensable to offer and can be your best friend in creating the perfect prototype for your project. Now’s a great time to go out there and give your favorite one a shot! Happy designing!


Curious about our other design tool recommendations or how to get the best out of your prototyping tool? Feel free to reach out to us at


Arctic Leaf is a digital agency with over 10 years of e-commerce experience serving clients of all industries. Our entire team is Baymard UX certified and our amazing developers can build everything from simple Shopify themes to fully custom headless experiences.