This is the second in a series of three posts about tools and resources that are useful in either learning more about or doing the work of new product development for software. Our first post addressed the discovery phase and this one covers designer resources. Look for the final post in the series, which will address tools and resources associated with the post-launch phase where we analyze and optimize the product.

Designers are fortunate to have a wide variety of free and relatively low-cost tools and designer resources to help with everything from pencil sketches to production-ready screen designs, and of all of the options, these are the ones we've found most useful.

Stencils for Sketching

Want to add a little polish to your pencil or whiteboard sketches? We like UI Stencils, a great resource for things such as iPhone sketchpads and icon stencils. Their products help designers quickly and cleanly produce physical drawings of user interfaces, user flows and other visual concepts. 

Template Kits

While Powerpoint, Pages and Google Docs may not be the first things that come to mind when you think about designer resources and tools, they can be great for interface design because they're fast, easy to use and available to almost anyone, and if you add one of these template kits, you're likely to add polish and consistency to your work while also speeding up the process. 

  • Google Docs wireframe kits: This collection of publicly-available wireframe kits covers everything from iPhone applications to webpages to email template designs.
  • Keynote and Powerpoint templates: This UI kit has over 3,000 fully editable and customizable vector user interface components designed from scratch in Apple Keynote. It also includes hundreds of vector icons to use in your prototypes and final applications.


These three products cover everything from wireframes and workflows to prototypes to production-ready designs, and they form a great set of core tools for any designer doing UI design for the web or software.

  • OmniGraffle: The standard for wireframes and workflow, OmniGraffle has extensive options for objects, canvases, templates, inspectors and stencils. For those creating hardware products, it can also be used for creating electrical system designs.
  • Sketch: Over the past year or so, Sketch has replaced the Adobe suite as our go-to design tool. We're such big fans of this Bohemian Coding product that we wrote a blog post about it.
  • InVision is a presentation and communication tool that makes us a lot more efficient by enabling us to upload screen designs and quickly add links to create clickable prototypes that can then be reviewed and commented on by team members and stakeholders.

Up Next: Tools and Resources for the Post-Launch 

In the next post, we share our favorite tools used in the post-launch phase

If you liked this article, listen to Dialexa’s Chief Creative Officer , Steven Ray, on Custom Made talk about the value of designing the wrong product: 

Listen to all episodes of Custom Made for insights and perspectives from industry disruptors and technology leaders.

Learn more about how Dialexa converts ideas into functionality, including our approach to the new product development process for software.

Get Farther Faster with a free copy of our Guide to New Product Development Process for Software


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