UX design is all about providing your users with the information they’re looking for, and doing that in the cleanest and most intuitive way possible. Sounds challenging right? Well that’s just a day in the life of a UX Designer.
While the responsibilities of UX Designers vary from company to company (and even project to project), there are some general functions they all perform irrespective of their companies. Starting with product research, creating personas and information architecture and wrapping things up with wireframes, prototyping and product testing, UX Designers have a broad spectrum of tasks. And with so many tasks at hand, things can get a little sticky if you don’t have the right tools in place to lighten the burden. After all, no artisan really feels complete without their tools, and frankly UX Designers are no exception.
In this article, we’ve rounded up a list of the most useful tools for UX Designers and to make it a bit more user-friendly, we’ve broken these tools into five different categories: UX Analytics Tools, Session Recording & Heatmapping Tools, A/B Testing Tools, Visual Feedback Tools, and Prototyping & Wireframing Tools.
I’ll add that this is – by no means – a comprehensive list, however, it will introduce to you a number of tools that are highly valued by fellow UX designers…
Let’s take a look.
UX Analytics Tools
User experience (UX) design revolves around what your users like and what keeps them satisfied. UX Analytics Tools, however, are what help UX Designers understand what that ‘thing’ is. In other words, it gives them insight into what’s working and what isn’t, using clear-cut metrics and benchmarks. This knowledge can be great in that you can quickly determine if a particular design change will be effective before even implementing it.
Woopra is a tool that offers real-time data-driven analytics, allowing you to easily analyse different segments and funnels on your website. The tool generates customer segments that automatically change as user behaviour changes. Applying these segments and profiles, users are able to create funnel reports, custom reports and retention reports. Pricing for this tool is catered to both small businesses (free and up to $999/month) and enterprises (custom pricing).
Appsee is a tool that focuses specifically on mobile app analytics. This tool allows you to follow all user interactions in real-time, letting you see which aspects of your UI are intuitive and counter-intuitive for your users. The results appear in an easy-to-use dashboard, where you can visualise things like heatmaps, conversion funnels and crash-recordings. Appsee offers a free version and both premium and custom enterprise version.
Keen is a third-party application tool where you can collect and review all the events from your website, app, device or webstore. This tool has a dashboard which shows data in self-service reports. Keen makes analyses easier thanks to APIs that collect the data that you want. This helps you to find the right answers, which are all saved in the Cloud. This tool uses ‘transparent pricing’ – in other words, you pay for what you use. So keep in mind that you have to pay more, the more you use it.
Clicky is a great tool for analysing web activities like downloads and pageviews. It register and reports these activities for you in a user-friendly dashboard – in real-time. It can even give you insights into Twitter statistics. If you upgrade to premium, you have access to other tools as well such as campaign & conversion tracking and heatmapping. Pricing varies from free to $19.99/month.
5. Google Analytics
This is the most popular of all web analytics tools and for a good reason. This free Google-powered tool provides a well-rounded dose of prescriptive and predictive analytics. Google Analytics helps you follow trends and understand user flows, however you’ll need to follow a tutorial to use it properly as sometimes it can be difficult to interpret the data without any prior knowledge of how it works.
Session recording & Heatmapping tools
Another category of tools that serves up interesting insights for UX Designers are session recording and heatmapping tools. Session recording tools help you track entire user sessions (e.g. full recordings of users on your site) whilst heatmapping tools recognise user patterns at page level with mouse movement, mouse activity and clicks.
Smartlook is a qualitative analytics solution for websites and mobile apps helping over 200,000 businesses of all sizes and industries answer the “whys” behind their users’ actions. Eliminate the guesswork and discover real, actionable reasons. With a unique feature set, Smartlook finally gives you a way to understand user behavior at the micro level. Always-on visitor recordings show you what every last visitor does on your website or app, while automatic event tracking lets you know how (and how often) your visitors do specific things. You can then build conversion funnels to see your conversion rates as well as uncover why people are churning. Heatmaps for websites give you mass data about where most people click, scroll, hover, and otherwise interact with your pages.
Smartlook offers a free package which includes 1,500 recordings/month as well as a Starter package ($19/month) and Power package ($79/month).
Clicktale is another great website analytics software for analysing visitor behaviour. This tool shows you the drop off rate per input field in the form, how far a visitor has scrolled down on a page and you can track each page for page errors. One of the benefits of Clicktale is that the collected data can be linked with a testing tool such as VWO (read more about VWO under ‘A/B and split testing tools’) but also, for example MailChimp. The price varies depending on what you would like to do with Clicktale.
You won’t miss anything from your visitors with Inspectlet. This tool ensures you that you know precisely what your visitors are doing on your website. Every single mouse movement, scroll, click and keypress is recorded with Inspectlet. These insights will teach you more about what attracts the visitors, what causes confusion and when visitors leave while they are in the conversion funnel. The price ranges between free and $499 a month.
One of the older (and perhaps more experienced) recording tools is Mouseflow. This tool tracks things like mouse movement, scrolls, clicks and forms using its session replay feature. It also includes heatmapping tools that show where and how your visitors are interacting on your website. Want to know why visitors are abandoning forms online? Try out their Form Analytics feature. Users can expect to pay around €29/month for the starter package. There are also ‘growth’ (€99/month) and ‘pro’ packages (€399/month) as well as an enterprise package.
A/B Testing tools
UX Designers are faced with design decisions on a daily basis. Which color should that button be? How many columns should I use on this page? Where’s the best place to place this form? And sure you can use previous experiences to help answer these questions but the truth of the matter is you won’t know what works best until you’ve truly tested your options. A/B Testing Tools are the perfect solution for helping you optimise your website or mobile app.
10. Adobe Target
Adobe Target is part of Adobe Marketing cloud. It offers you an intuitive user interface that lets you create personalised web experiences. Adobe Target also offers easy A/B testing and a simple way of targeting content based customer profiles (personalisation). You can customise the interface with a large number of filtering options. This tool also works well on your smartphone. The pricing for Adobe Target, however, is unknown.
UsabilityHub helps UX Designers perform simple usability tests. With this tool you can choose your own testers or testers who have registered at UsabilityHub. There are also ‘Question Tests’ which are short (design) surveys that your testers can fill in for you. Another interesting feature is the commonly occurring word clouds created from your surveys. These make it easy to quickly analyse results and identify trends. Pricing ranges anywhere between free to $396 a month, depending on the amount of users.
Unbounce is great for creating and testing responsive landing pages. It comes with an easy-to-use interface that makes editing easier than ever! Users can drag-and-drop images, videos, text items and more directly onto pages. Once your page is built, you can create multiple variants of that page and conduct split testing to see which performs better. Unbounce also offers collaboration options that enable you to assign roles to your team members. Pricing starts at $79/month for the most basic package.
VWO, or Visual Website Optimizer, is a well-known A/B Testing tool used by many UX Designers. It allows its users to edit things like headlines, pictures, buttons and other page elements for testing. VWO also enables users to view conversion goals such as sales, clicks, signups, etc. You can expect to pay somewhere between $49/month (Standard package) to $999/month (Enterprise) for this tool.
15. AB Tasty
AB Tasty is an AB testing tool that helps optimise your conversion rate. This tool offers a wide range of solutions, however for data insights (via session recording and heatmaps), marketing campaigns, personalisation capabilities and of course AB Testing. What’s great about this tool is that users can create whichever scenario they wish and test it with either simple or multivariate tests. Pricing is available upon request.
Visual Feedback tools
Ever tried one of these? Visual Feedback Tools are great for improving page usability. UX Designers can gain quick insights into the performance of specific page elements, such as images, buttons, or forms, as well as identify bugs and unclear content. Many of these tools let your visitors take screenshots of the issue and submit it with comments.
Helio, formerly Verify, is a great tool for collecting and analysing visitor feedback from screens or test versions (mockups). Basically how it works is you collect feedback, see what people remember about your design and discover what they think. In other words, Helio is a nice app for testing ideas before they are implemented. Pricing is unknown.
UserSnap helps you to check for bugs and other issues on your website. Designers, customers and employees can to communicate faster between each other. At the click of a button, visitors and designers can submit a bug report from the website. You are also able to create in-browser screenshots with this tool, with this you can see exactly what your visitor sees without needing a plug-in. Pricing for Small/Medium businesses range anywhere between €29 to €129 a month and there is custom pricing for enterprises starting from €699 a month.
With Trackduck you highlight visual feedback on specific pages in real-time. The dashboard directly displays the bug reports. Additionally, the dashboard allows you to chat with other testers and designers. The price depends on the number of active projects you need. It starts from $9 to $200 a month.
Mopini.io is a simple, user-testing tool for new landing pages and web designs. Nothing has to be installed and feedback is collected with a URL of the webpage you want to collect feedback on. All feedback results can be viewed in your email inbox. For premium users, the visual feedback plugin can also be integrated into the Mopinion Suite (paid software).
NOTE: mopin.io is developed by feedback software specialist Mopinion.
Bugherd is a web-based issue tracking and project management software system for UX Designers. It offers an in-page feedback option, allowing customers to report issues directly from the website. This enables you to see exactly which parts (and elements) have been reported. The software helps you convert customer feedback data into actionable tasks. The tool costs anywhere between $29 and $180 a month.
Prototyping & Wireframing tools
It can be tricky to express or present your ideas and thoughts as a UX Designer. That is why it’s important to have a tool in place to help you lay it all out on the table. Prototyping and Wireframing tools make it easy for you to communicate these ideas while simultaneously cutting project costs. Tip: be sure to check out the learning curve of each tool before getting started as some can take longer to pick up.
With a desktop-based application as Mockplus, you can easily and rapidly prototype on platforms such as mobile apps, desktop apps and websites. Mockplus made their application very easy to use so you do not need data or technical expertise to carry it out. This tool costs $129 a year or you can choose an Unlimited perpetual license for $399/user.
With the cloud-based software Pidoco you can create, share and test wireframes, mockups and prototypes. You will be able to add multiple pages and layers, and it also includes a library of drag-and-drop interface elements. Pidoco allows you to share prototypes with clients online and has functions to facilitate feedback and back-and-forth discussion. The price of this tool starts from $12 up to $175 a month (depending on the number of active projects).
Gliffy is a web-based diagram editor. This tool, let users drag and drop components and export images. You have got the possibility to collaborate online and there is also a version tracking function included. Gliffy is recommended for personal use and/or smaller businesses. Pricing ranges between $3.99 to $7.99 a month or you can choose the enterprise option (custom pricing).
Sketch is a digital design toolkit that is very much in high demand among interface designers. It includes a built-in prototyping tool that allows you transform your designs into interactive prototypes without even leaving the app. Sketch is a vector-based program that gives users the option to work with layers and shapes for easy editing / design. It’s also a fairly light program so it loads quite quickly. You can purchase a Sketch license for $99 / year.
With Figma, UX Designers can create wireframes, prototypes and vector icons. This trending interface design tool also brings your team together with its collaboration capabilities. Based on the web, all users can work on one page in real-time as well export CSS right from the program. Pricing ranges from Free to $45/editor/month.
Becoming the UX Designer you’ve always wanted to be…
The greatest part about employing these types of tools as part of your UX strategy? They will free up time otherwise spent carrying out these tasks manually, which means you can focus on the important aspects of your job, making you an even stronger UX Designer.
Here’s a little advice before you make your decision.
First, have some goals in mind for what you want to achieve using the tool(s). Then take a look at how these tools fit into your budget. While there are several tools that cater their services more towards enterprise businesses, there are also more cost-efficient options for smaller companies who, for example, might benefit more from a typical SaaS delivery model in which you pay per use (e.g. depending on how many users or website visitors you have).
And lastly, don’t forget about the technical limitations! This includes factors such as IT restrictions when it comes to privacy or security (e.g. how and where data is stored). Depending on the possibilities IT-wise, you can choose between a self-hosted, open source solution or an enterprise solution that will satisfy the needs of a larger organisation.
Note: all of these tools offer up their own advantages and specialities but what many of them lack are powerful analysis and action management tools…
Mopinion is a feedback analytics software that not only falls under many of these categories, it also takes user data one step further and offers in-depth analysis opportunities for its users. With real-time data visualisation in customisable dashboards and charts, users are able to quickly and efficiently digest large sums of data. Our ‘one-stop shop’ offers:
- Slide-In Surveys
- Feedback in modal
- Visual Feedback
- More complex surveys that include question routing
- In-depth analysis, including text analytics, sentiment analysis, smart labeling, etc.
- Advanced data visualisation with in-chart filtering and customisable dashboards
- Action Management capabilities
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Want to learn more about Mopinion’s all-in-1 user feedback platform? Don’t be shy and take our software for a spin! Do you prefer it a bit more personal? Just book a demo. One of our feedback pro’s will guide you through the software and answer any questions you may have.