With the recent growth of UX design as both a practice and vocation, the bar for excellent product experiences is set higher with every passing year. As a UX designer, this means that there is very little room for failure when it comes to meeting users' needs.
However, since good UX design is inherently grounded in research, analysis and testing, the right tools can really help set you up for success. Here are our essential picks for UX/UI tools to help you craft seamless experiences and enhance your design workflow.
What it does: Figma is an interface design application that facilitates illustration, prototyping and code generation for hand-off. It boasts dynamic features like the ability to create hotspots to simulate exactly how users would interact with your design and is entirely browser-based, making it one of the most popular interface design tools in the world.
What we love: Its collaborative features. Because it's a web-based application, it allows users to collaborate with team members on projects in real-time and simultaneously make changes together. Its ability to facilitate live collaboration allows team members to easily share their work with colleagues and clients alike.
What it does: Balsamiq is another prototyping tool that's particularly useful for creating quick UI wireframes and mockups of applications. It's fully integrated with G Suite Apps, which means that you can create or edit wireframes directly from Google Drive.
What we love: How convenient it is for translating ideas to screen in no time. Balsamiq's easy-to-use nature means that you can quickly start sketching and use the tool with no tutorials needed whatsoever.
Pricing (Desktop App):
What it does: Marvel is another contender to consider when choosing the right prototype tool. You can use Marvel to wireframe, prototype and create design specs, as well as to create an integration with their API. With more than 500,000 users, it's the perfect tool if you're looking for something that's easy to use for experienced UX designers and novices alike.
What we love: The realistic screen transitions. When using a prototyping tool, it's essential to be able to replicate a user's experience as closely as possible. Marvel offers the most options when it comes to animated transitions, making your prototypes look ultra-realistic.
What it does: All the prototyping tools in the world mean nothing without the ability to test the effectiveness of your designs. Enter Optimizely. Optimizely is a robust solution for running A/B and multi-page tests on your web and mobile apps. It allows you to collect granular data that measures user behaviour and can help you improve the UX of your designs by testing them for user-friendliness. With Optimizely, you can identify and prioritize major design issues and improve your understanding of a user's experience as they move through your app.
What we love: The simplicity and versatility. While there are plenty of A/B testing tools on the market, Optimizely stands out for how easy it is to use for both experts and novices. It has a handy visual editor that non-technical users can manipulate to launch experiments. It also has a sophisticated analytics tool, allowing you to accurately measure the success of your campaigns in real-time.
No fixed pricing plans. Optimizely has a Pay As You Go option that costs $49 for every 1000 monthly unique visitors to your tests.
What it does: User Testing is another handy platform for usability testing. You can test your prototypes and designs for as little as $5 per user and gain valuable qualitative insights from watching real people navigate your work.
What we love: Their huge user base. You can set up a user test in under an hour, and the best part is that the size of their user base allows you to receive responses just as quickly. Their large user network also affords you the luxury of getting super granular with targeting - most demographics are well represented on this site.
What it does: HotJar is an analysis and feedback tool to track the behaviour of your users. It seeks to provide the 'big picture' of how the UX of your site can be improved by taking it's performance and conversion rates into account.
What we love: Heatmaps! HotJar heatmaps are simple to set up and provide insights that are invaluable as a UX designer. Heatmaps can help you track the performance of particular page elements, allowing you to measure their effectiveness and popularity with users.
What it does: Paperform is a powerful form builder that allows you to create online surveys for quick user feedback. It's as easy to use as a word doc, which means that you can create and customise surveys in less than 3 minutes. As a UX designer, it's the perfect tool for collecting both quantitative and qualitative feedback on your designs.
What we love: 1000+ powerful integrations. While there are quite a few form builders out there, Paperform is the easiest one to use on the market. It also has some powerful integrations that can help you automate your workflows and integrate with users' responses through platforms like Google Sheets, Slack, Trello, Podio, Zoho Creator and more.
What it does: EyeQuant uses machine learning and hard data from user research studies to evaluate the effectiveness of your prototype and produce personalised findings based on predictive algorithms. Simply put, it uses your prototype and runs an algorithm on it to provide you with insights based on AI research.
What we love: Ease of use, closely followed by the Clarity Score report that objectively measures the clarity of your design, compares it to score of your competitors and provides you with personalised insights.
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