Tools Every UX Pro Should Know About
With 100s of tools available for your UX projects, finding the best one for your needs can be overwhelming.
To help save you time and effort, here’s a list of some of the most popular tools out there.
Mind Mapping & Diagramming
Developed by Mindjet, this is one of the best mind mapping softwares available. You can manage and plan projects, brainstorm, compile research, organize large amounts of information and much more with the help of their digital mind maps.
Visio helps you increase productivity by allowing you to visualize information using diagrams, graphs, hierarchies, flowcharts and more. You can make your data instantly understandable by using the available icons, shapes, symbols, and colors to incorporate into your diagrams.
An easy-to-use, low cost web app tool to create user flows and diagrams. It integrates directly with Google Drive and allows for collaboration with your team.
A mind mapping and brainstorming software created by XMind Ltd. In addition to the management elements, the software can capture ideas, clarify thinking, manage complex information, and promote team collaboration for higher productivity.
Wireframing, Prototyping & Interface Design
Sketch is a popular app to design high fidelity interfaces, websites and mobile apps. Although it’s available only on Mac, it makes up for that by offering some amazing features.
It’s quite similar to Photoshop and Illustrator but more flexible when it comes to UX design.
Sketch allows UX designers to avoid a lot of unpleasant manual adjustments by easily adapting to changing styles, sizes and layouts. New objects are automatically attached to a new layer allowing for creative combinations and easier navigation. You can also easily export your layers very easily.
Framer is a great tool to create high fidelity platforms and fluid native apps .
However, the learning curve can be steep for a designer who doesn’t know how to code. If you just need low-fi prototypes to test a hypothesis or validate your ideas, Framer might not be the tool for you.
Axure RP is a comprehensive UX tool that’s probably the tool of choice for a lot of UX professionals out there but with a steep learning curve.
Essentially it’s a prototyping tool with diagramming, documentation, and interactive tools to design and share interactive prototypes and specifications. Both static, low-fidelity prototypes and more sophisticated, interactive ones can be created by Axure.
OminiGraffle is a design tool with extensive options for objects, canvases, templates, inspectors, and stencils to help designers produce a multitude of design deliverables such as user-flow diagrams, sitemaps and wireframes.
The popularity of the tool means that a large number of high-quality, pre-built and reusable resources have been made available for download. This can save a huge amount of time and effort.
One of the best prototyping and collaboration platforms out there.
There simply isn’t anything else out there that maximizes speed with fidelity. The tool not only allows you to create interactive prototypes from imported designs, but is also useful for collecting feedback, for collaborating on designs and for generally keeping tabs on a design project.
And if that wasn’t enough, InVision now supports remote mobile user testing.
Indigo Design is perfect for prototyping interactive and animated web, desktop or mobile apps.
It’s very intuitive and surprisingly fast once you create a few prototypes. Prototypes can be created from existing mocks (by bringing them in as images) or by building out individual elements for each screen within Indigo Studio.
The built-in screen transitions and touch gestures lets to create prototypes that look, feel, and act like a real app on your mobile device.
Indigo Studio also lets you invite members to publish design alternatives or edit prototypes in a group workspace. It comes with real time commenting, so viewers can add markers and comments directly on the prototype.
Marvel is web-based app that is very simple and easy to use.
It has features such as gestures, layering images and user testing. It also offers a Sketch plugin which allows you to do your design work on Sketch but borrow some of the cool features from Marvel such as layering and gestures.
You can make your project a collaborative one, but only with an upgraded account.
With Adobe XD, you can build high-fidelity prototypes .
The tool is focused around two functionalities: Design, and Prototype. The Design tab is used for creating your design and features simple vector and text tools. The Prototype tab is for previewing, and sharing your design.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on prototyping, you should use Balsamiq.
It’s not the most aesthetic choice, but is simple and highly effective when it comes to creating a useful prototype. It’s quick and doesn’t require a lot of practice to get a handle of it.
You’ll have a concrete version of your early ideas that you can test with users and iterate before moving to something more polished.
A powerful tool that can create extremely realistic high fidelity prototypes.
Although is has a broad range of features, one of its unique functionalities is that it facilitates building responsive clickable prototypes directly in your browser.
The tool also has a Photoshop extension feature that allows designers more flexibility. It might have a steep learning curve, but it is definitely well worth the effort.
A usability testing tool that enables you to record user feedback as they use a product.
In less than an hour you can run an unmoderated usability test of your website with a predefined user base. UserTesting is also full of useful content if you want to expand your research knowledge.
Morae is a testing suite that allows you to conduct usability testing sessions by recording the screen and the user, incorporating surveys and analysing and editing the final results.
Morae allows you to easily share your research with your team.
If you’re looking to analyse single pages, UsabilityHub is a great tool. Designed specifically for usability testing, it provides a series of different tests that can be run: five second tests, first click tests and navigation tests are just three examples.
User Zoom is a UX research and analytics platform which captures user interaction and provides powerful data.
It allows you to test websites and prototypes and also to remotely record user tests. You can perform market research by evaluating multiple websites and competitor websites to provide UX benchmarking. The tool provides insightful reports on user actions, number of clicks, unique views, heat maps and more.
Lookback built by the UX guys from Spotify allows you to understand not just behaviour, but emotions and experiences as well.
You can even record the full screen of a device, and use the reverse camera to record the user’s facial expressions at the same time. The recordings appear on Lookbacks dashboard, where a team of people can analyse the results.
Screen capture software that allows you to edit your screenshots and videos.
Helio (used to be Verify) is the easiest way to collect data and analyze user feedback with design surveys. Verify lets you quickly upload any screenshot or image to gather user feedback on your designs.
Project Management & File Management
Slack is the most popular workplace messaging app currently around. It gives everyone a shared workspace and makes all conversations organized and accessible by making a searchable archive of your team’s tasks and conversations.
Basecamp is a web-based project management and collaboration tool.
With Basecamp, you can manage project tasks, communicate with team members with micro-blogging and live chat, and view project updates. It’s the perfect tool for UX professionals because it allows you to upload visual assets and share them with your colleagues.
Each project can have multiple to-do lists, making it an ideal candidate for integrating multiple teams, such as design with development.
Trello is a web-based project management tool that offers boards, lists, and cards which enable you to organize and prioritize your projects.
With Trello you can create boards to organize anything you’re working on. It allows you to invite coworkers and clients to collaborate. You can assign tasks to yourself and coworkers and comment on items with your friends.
JIRA is a software development tool used primarily by UX professionals to plan, track and release their product. It has a Scrum board which makes task assignment much easier.
JIRA makes it real easy to track bugs and see which issues are still outstanding and how much time was spent on each task.
Evernote is a sophisticated note-taking application that is available online and in app format for a range of computers and mobile devices. It enables you to save, remember and keep in sync pretty much anything, including bookmarks, photographs and pieces of text.
Evernote also has the facility to search text across all notes, whether they are typed text or photographs of hand-written notes.
Most projects require some sort of written documentation, either in the form of spreadsheets or actual documents; and that documentation is usually the result of a collaboration between team members and stakeholders.
Google Drive allows for creating those documents, collaborating in real time and tracking different versions. Plus, it runs in your browser and it’s free.
A great analytics tool which is very easy to set up and use. It helps you create funnels and reports based on customer behavior on your website.
CrazyEgg is a heat mapping tool that shows you exactly where users go to on your site, where they stop on the page and for how long. It’s simple, affordable and yes there’s a free trial too.
Google Analytics tells you everything you need to know about the performance of your website. It turns customer insights into actionable solutions and shows you how effective your current strategy is.
Optimizely, like UserTesting, makes it easy to test and personalize your website and mobile app. However, Optimizely focuses on one specific type of test, A/B testing, so that designers can see how tweaking an interface will affect conversions.
Mixpanel is a comprehensive tool which enables tracking of each individual user’s journey, from engagement through retention to funnel pathways.
And you only pay for the metrics you use. Mixpanel automatically collects everything but you’ll only be charged for those metrics when you start analysing them.
If heatmaps are your thing, Hotjar offers a comprehensive service, with added bonuses such as conversion funnels, form analysis, polls and surveys.
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