The New Era of Design and Prototyping: Modern Tools Break the Barriers between Design and Development | Blog

With the digital experience driving massive disruption in software development, design is the latest stage to be upturned. New tools that capture constructive, actionable user feedback early in the development lifecycle are skyrocketing in popularity. To learn why the future is bright for this market, read on. 

Market growth

Design software is experiencing huge growth as evidenced by Figma raising fresh funding of $200 million this June, quintupling its value to $10 billion from last year. Competitor InVision added more than 350 enterprise customers and about 2 million new users since the onset of the pandemic. Even established players such as Adobe Creative Cloud posted more than 30% revenue growth from 2020.

Is the golden age of design here?

Using design and prototyping tools and closely integrating them across all stages of product development is rising and delivering great perceived value. With drag-and-drop interfaces, simplified canvases, creative collaboration tools, and animation functionality to rapid-test prototypes, the design disruption is real and, so far, very well-received.

New-age tools help mitigate design challenges by reducing detailed design specification documents, proactively incorporating user data during testing, and overcoming the technical constraints of different devices. The resulting intuitive and simplified workflows enhance the user experience while saving time and money.

The rapid growth in software and prototyping design has been sparked by key changes in the following areas:

  • Remote/hybrid workplace – The pandemic and desire by enterprises to have regular operations in different time zones has led to more flexible work arrangements for designers
  • Digital experience – The growing complexity of design workflows and having more collaborators has significantly upticked digital product design and development
  • IT alignment – The need to bridge the gap between designers, developers, and business stakeholders has led to greater cooperation
  • Market agility – The competitive pressures have pushed accelerated time-to-market

Four trends impacting the future of design and prototyping

The software design and prototyping tools market is poised for double-digit growth in the next five years that will be fueled by the following trends:

  1. Integrated design and prototyping platform: Design and prototyping ideally should go beyond creating a visual asset or artifact. It involves thinking about the end-to-end software development process – from collaboration and brainstorming to delivering a market-ready prototype with gestural interfaces for testing and validation and easy handoff to developers.

Market leaders such as Figma are focused on offering an integrated platform that simplifies design and prototyping while making the platform easier for non-designers to use. The leading providers are delivering tools that spur creative collaboration and other key benefits as illustrated in exhibit 1 below:

Exhibit 1: Tools provided across design and prototyping portfolio

Picture1 1

  1. Design democratization: A typical organization has a designer to developer ratio of 10 to 1. Drawing parallels to the disruption caused by low/no-code platforms in the development space, design and prototyping platforms will increasingly automate tedious manual tasks and add easy-to-use features that enable non-designers to contribute and collaborate creatively
  2. Industry-specific customization and hyper-personalization: Currently, options are limited to optimize design and prototyping to industry needs. However, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are more meaningfully used, built-in industry-specific features will be added. With enough processing power to treat and analyze vast data in an acceptable timeframe, design tools could create predictive models with emulated personas and confidently run A/B tests in the background while the design is still being developed, enabling hyper-personalization of designs
  3. AI-powered automation: AI offers a huge design opportunity, especially for those designing interactions with the emerging AI systems. The key obstacle is designing intelligent services and future platforms to augment creativity. AI can emerge as a powerful solution, suggesting ideas and areas for design improvement. With advanced use cases, the designer’s role will evolve to set goals, parameters, and constraints, and then review and fine-tune the AI-generated designs


These factors will redefine the software design and prototyping market – spurring creative collaboration among all stakeholders across the software development lifecycle. In our next blog, we will explore in-depth the supply-side trends in design and prototyping tools. Meanwhile, we would love to hear your feedback and suggestions on this piece. Feel free to write to Ankit Gupta, [email protected], or Sonal Singh, [email protected], to share your views and stay tuned in for the next blog.

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