What are the best practices in UX design?
User experience is not a new concept but definitely, it became more popular in the last years and this trend is keeping its high position. Tasks are interesting and demanding at the same time, it needs creativity and strategic planning, a lot of skills and knowledge come in handy but where to begin? An experienced UX Designer Maria answered this hot question: How to become a UX designer? If this is not enough, you can also take a look at the interview describing a little bit of everyday work-life of User Experience designer.
UX has many stages during the process and for each one you need to have tools which will help you execute the task as good as possible. We created a list of top-notch tools which should help and make the UX designer life easier. Tools are categorized into five areas:
- research, UX audit and testing tools
- remote (and creative) work
- fake name generators
- mindmaps and flowcharts creators
- sketches and prototyping tools
Top UX Tools
Research, UX audit, and testing tools
there is no need to explain it to anyone who ever had to deal with the digital world and analytics, great and super powerful tool to start the research with.
- pricing: analytics is free but Ads and Analytics 360 are paid and the price is tailor-made
- free online courses to learn the platform
- used by: hard to find a company which is actually not using the power of Google Analytics ;)
proper AB testing helps in marketing and product adjustment. Data-driven experiments for SaaS companies are a quick way to reach out to final customers.
- pricing: on demand
- free trial: not available
how to understand users? Get heatmaps, conversion funnels, recordings of real visitor behavior on the website, understand feedback and where do the users get confuse, recruit user testers - all in one platform.
- pricing: Basic option is free, Plus option costs 29 euro per month. Business prices start at 89 euro per month.
- free trial: 15 days (Hotjar Business)
- used by: unbounce, inVision, HubSpot, reed.co.uk, Skyscanner, Nintendo, Upstream
heat map tool similar to Hotjar with A/B testing and easy-to-use editor, great for remote testing
- pricing: Plus $79/month, Pro $189/month
- free trial: 30-day
- used by: Dell, Etsy, Optimizely, Mint
helps to track and analyze micro-interaction data sets to gain a better understanding of your app user’s behavior. It gives a complete picture of the user, makes use of machine learning to detect when the user got frustrated with the app. This feature set includes Session Replay Analysis, Heatmaps, User Analysis, Screen Analysis and more. It automatically captures all user interactions and visualizes the data on the tool’s dashboard afterward.
- pricing: on demand
- a free trial and limited free version
- used by: OLX, delivery.com, Grupo Planeta, TaskRabbit
another platform for remote user testing which helps to understand users’ actions and overall improve experiences. However, it is a different approach than Hotjar and crazyegg propose. Instead of tracking and analyzing the behavior on the current website (or an app) by regular users, you get users which are actually paid to test your app and give a valuable feedback.
- pricing: on demand
- free trial: yes
- used by: Adobe, WordPress, Ryanair, CNN, hulu, Groupon, Canva, tripadvisor
disability simulator is a must-have no-discussion tool which a UX designer should know how to use in 2018. This Chrome extension helps to understand how the page looks like and how is used by people with different types of disability.
- pricing: free (Chrome extension)
- still under construction
simple to use color contrast checker.
- pricing: free
Remote (and creative) work
a great tool for remote visual collaboration! Real-time lifeboard, sharing notes, organizing and prioritizing tools, a collection of ready-to-use frameworks - all of that to make the international teamwork on one project possible without losing time on changing time zones and traveling between offices.
- pricing: $12(starter) or $20 (plus) per member, per month;
- free trial: 30 days
- available on iOS and Windows10
- used by: IBM, UserTesting, Autodesk, Zapier
a huge canvas to throw everything you need with your team to make the collaboration fruitful! You can add to-do lists (and delegate tasks), videos, text, sounds, structured tables and so on. The best part? It is for free.
- pricing: free (if you decide to buy a DroboxBusiness Standard for 10 euro, then you get also the admin tools for Dropbox Paper)
- free trial: doesn’t apply
- available on iOS and Android
- used by: inVision, Ben&Jerry, Shopify, Patreon
Fake name generators
If you are starting with UX Design it might be not that clear why do we need fake name generators but the reason is quite simple. Real sample data reduces assumptions, makes it more clear while designing process and helps the team to get rid of the unknown.
input you should give is the name (based on location) and gender
- pricing: free
FAKE NAME GENERATOR
more advanced options: choosing a name based on location, you can switch to the region instead of a country and decide upon an age range
- pricing: free (based on GNU General Public License), although there is a Premium version for $1.99/year in which you don’t see ads
- you can also create The Sims Family using this generator ;)
Mindmaps and flowchart creators
free online mind mapping tool. You can write down and structure ideas in a breeze, create storyboards, share it with others, save on cloud or convert to PDF, PowerPoint and so on, plan and manage projects, attach documents and images, collaborate with others.
- pricing: Forever Free without an account / Personal Gold $2.99 per month / Organisational Gold $100 per year
collaborative user experience platform for customer journey mapping, creating personas and impact maps. It is an optimal balance between sticker-and table-based solutions with an intuitive drag and drop interface and plenty of customizable features. With UXPressia your team will design and deliver an exceptional experience to your customers.
- pricing: Free plan without any time limitation, the Pro plan costs $24 per month or $240 billed annually
- used by Deloitte, Philips, Accenture, Michelin
diagramming and flowcharts made simple for collaborative creation. You can use live or imported data to build charts, ERDs and all types of visuals you need to work on your project.
- pricing: Basic (single user) $4.95/month paid annually, Pro (single user) $9.95/month, Team (the price depends on the number of team members) $20/month
- free trial: yes
- used by: Google, Cisco, Wells Fargo RedHat, Adobe, Amazon, Ford
helpful in agile planning and keeping an eye on the big picture for each team member. Gliffy Project integrates with Jira and Atlassian, additionally enables diagram creation.
- pricing: depends on the model (Diagram, Jira, Cofluence, Project), starts at $7.99 per month
Sketches and prototyping tools
templates for print. Some of UX designers prefer to have it made by hand on the paper with a real pencil. You can find free templates for all types of devices and if you feel like, you can contribute to this open source project by adding another printable table for wireframing designs.
An easier, faster and smarter prototyping tool that allows designers to translate design ideas into interactive prototypes, create UI flow, test, share and demonstrate within 10 minutes.
- pricing: Basic Free and Pro plans start at $29/month (billed annually)
- free trial: 7 days fully-funtional
- used by: IBM, Microsoft, Siemens, Oracle, Huawei, Michelin, Intel"
easy to make prototypes without writing even a line of code, sharable and customizable diagrams for project planning and proof of concept.
- pricing: subscription model PRO $29 per user per month, TEAM $49 per user per month or full license - PRO $495 per user / TEAM $895 per user
- free trial: 30-day fully-functional
- used by: Amazon, Alibaba.com, Ebay, Apple, Siemens, Bank of America, Microsoft
the tool for creating prototypes easily and in a short time thanks to prebuilt UI kits. FluidUI provides you and your team real-time collaboration, so you can work on your project together and gain instant feedback. It also gives you the possibility to test your designs on desktop or mobile.
- pricing (if paid annualy): Solo - $8,25/month; Pro - $19,08/month; Team - $41,08/month
- free plan for 1 user and 1 project
- used by: Dell, Google, Samsung, eBay. Salesforce, Mastercard
your whole design process from wireframes to life-like animated prototypes, design systems, and handoff in one place. Regardless of built-in libraries (Bootstrap, Foundation, Android, iOS), also a nice tool for those who like having the elements styled with CSS automatically, as it is code-based.
- pricing: billed annually - prototyping $19 per user/month
- free trial: yes
- used by: HBO, PayPal, Adidas, Sony, Autodesk
Irreplaceable when it comes to designing user experience in onboarding and support processes. The platform significantly enhances the UX by using interactive guidance and eliminating any delay or frustration associated with learning a new software application.
- pricing: On request/ custom pricing
- free trial: Guided trial/ demo
- used by: Personio, Celonis SE, LeadBoxer
amazing tool for mockups with a powerful toolkit and deep focus mindset. What definitely help is a clear documentation and large community of Sketch worldwide - easy to learn quickly and ready to use.
- pricing: $99/year
- free trial: 30 days, fully featured
If you are still wondering what the UX is all about, check this comprehensive guide to UX terminology: What is User Experience? A guide to UX terminology (part 1) and following it part 2 (in which you have some insights about UX Unicorns ;) ).
There are more and more UX tools available to make the work smoother and faster. However, we all know that learning and getting used to one tool makes the workflow easier and less stressful. On the other hand, it is always good to keep an eye on news and trends in the field and the best way to do it is to follow the most influential UX blogs.
What are your favorite UX tools?