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Best UX tools for diverse skill sets

UI-UX tools for the different roles of the design process

The UI-UX design industry is perhaps among the busiest in the world, but don’t worry - these UX tools will help bring some order to the chaos!

The UI-UX design is an ever-growing industry, that gets more and more refined each year, with new roles and new guidelines for creating websites, apps and software. In such a fast-growing field where products are expected to get off the ground quickly and be tested quickly, things can get a bit chaotic.

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That’s why, if you work in this business, you need to have all the right tools available. However, knowing which tool will serve you best really depends on your job role and description. Are you a graphic or UI designer? Are you purely a UX designer or do you sometimes overlap between both disciplines? Or do you manage a design team?

To make your life just that little bit easier, we’ve drawn up a list of the ultimate UX tools that should be of enormous help to anyone in the industry who wants to organize their work and get their designs to the market as fast as possible.

Tools for UX designers

What kind of tools might a UX designer need for their day to day work? The answer is a gazillion for the sheer amount of tasks that they are faced with in order to design usable websites, apps and software.

In this list we’ve included prototyping tools, a diagramming tool for creating user flow charts, along with user testing tools designed to gather data about a current user experience and to measure ways to improve it.

1. Justinmind

As far as UX tools go, the Justinmind prototyping tool will make your life a lot easier as a UX designer. Why? Because it lets you design everything conceivable, from clickable wireframes to fully-interactive, pixel-perfect, high-fidelity prototypes.

UX Tools Justinmind

Don’t worry if you don’t have time to start from scratch – design with Justinmind’s UI kits boasting over 4,000 elements to get things moving. Whether or not you use our UI kits or your own elements, you can design your responsive UI with the style, layout and size that best fits your brand. You also have the fullest range of web and mobile interactions, animations and transitions at your disposal. You can also enjoy integrations with all your favorite UI-UX design tools, such as Sketch, Photoshop, JIRA, UserTesting and many more.

Need to organize your specific product requirements? You can also do it with Justinmind! To learn more, check out our tutorial on the Requirements Module

Lastly, Justinmind lets you share and collaborate on your prototypes like no other UX tool, letting you share projects, get feedback instantly and co-edit. Designer-developer handoff is also second-to-none, as you can export your prototype to HTML in a few clicks, while developers can inspect and get assets.

Pricing: Professional ($19 per user per month), Enterprise ($39 per user per month) Server on-premise (get a quote)

2. InVision

InVision have also made quite a name for themselves in the UI-UX design industry. Their tool lets you do rapid prototyping in a collaborative environment.

UX tools - InVision

InVision boasts both a vector drawing and editing feature, as well as flexible layer styling lending itself well to quick iterations. As with Justinmind, you can also compile your own design system by sharing a component library, with real-time synching and updating. Just like with Justinmind, there is also an inspect feature for seamless designer-developer handoff..

As with Justinmind UX tool, you’ll also see many useful integrations such as Sketch, Atlassian, Microsoft, Adobe, Dropbox and Teamwork.

Pricing: Pro ($7.95 per month), Enterprise (contact for pricing)

3. Proto.io

Proto.io is a tool UX designers should also know about. They offer up a very large component library, complete with interactive, editable widgets, but also an enormous icon library and even a sound effects library!

UI-UX tools - Proto.io

Proto.io also lets you insert HTML code inside a prototype, something a little different when it comes to prototyping these days. This tool for UX designers also boasts reusable container blocks to speed up workflow and increase efficiency, just like with Justinmind’s reusable templates that can be repeated across the many screens of a prototype.

In terms of sharing and collaboration, Proto.ie lets you embed prototypes in a website or blog, share a link to use them with user testing platforms, share publicly or password protect and have reviewers leave comments.

Pricing: Freelancer ($24 per month), Startup ($ 40 per month), Agency ($160 per month), Enterprise (contact for pricing)

4. Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Visio is an intuitive flowchart maker that lets you easily put together user flows and diagrams. However, you can also use it for visualizing data that you compile from your user testing sessions and even use it to build organizational charts and to brainstorm new design ideas.

Perhaps the best thing about Visio flowcharts is that if you use Microsoft 365, your entire team can simultaneously work on your diagrams and flowcharts with you.

UX tools - Microsoft Visio

Another plus side to Visio is that you can connect your diagrams and flowcharts to data that you receive in real-time by using shape formatting to automatically update any changes reflected in your user testing data. However, those aren’t Visio’s only uses. It’s also useful for drawing sitemaps for websites or even documenting design processes. Definitely worth a try if you’re in the market for some simple diagramming software!

Pricing: Visio Plan 1 ($5 per month), Visio Plan 2 ($15 dollars per month)

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5. Omnigraffle

Omnigraffle is a UX tool that you must check out, if you haven’t already. It boasts a diagramming, rapid-prototyping and design tool for vector animation all in one! One of the best things about omnigraffle is that you can use it across all of your devices to have access to your projects.

UX tools - Omnigraffle

All in all, Omnigraffle gives you a way to organize and present your ideas that make a powerful visual impression on your colleague, clients and stakeholders.

Pricing: $12.49 per month

6. Lucidchart

Lucidchart offers you a powerful way to perform diagramming, whiteboard and data visualization in your day-to-day life as a UX designer.

From diagramming and flowcharting to agile planning and process mapping, you’ll find that Lucidchart can function very well as a complete UX tool for documenting user flows and planning your design tasks in one place.

Furthermore, you can also combine Lucidchart with your other productivity platforms such as Atlassian, G-Suite, Slack, Microsoft Office and Salesforce.

UX tools - Lucidchart

On top of that, 99% of companies in Fortune 500 have worked with Lucidchart at some point, including Google, Netflix, Adobe, Amazon, Microsoft, HP and more. If that isn’t a shining endorsement, then we don’t know what is!

Pricing: Individual ($8.10), Team ($9.50 per user with 3 user minimum), Enterprise (contact for pricing)

7. Storyboard That

Storyboard That is a free UX tool that lets you create graphic novels, comics, posters and videos. You can jump straight into making a storyboard for your users as soon as you land on the homepage, without having to sign up.

UI-UX tools - Storyboard That

As you create your storyboard, you can choose from a wide range of scenes, from ancient times to the futuristic space age. You can drag and drop these onto square canvases arranged in horizontal sequence – much like a comic strip. You can also choose avatars from a varied demographic to drop into the scenes which you can even edit and alter their poses for each scene.

Pricing: Free, For Fun ($11), For Work ($16)

8. UXCam

UXCam is a UX tool that allows you and your team to capture every single action (and even microinteraction) that your user experiences. This allows you a deep 360 degree view of your users’ experience. This UX tool has an impressive list of customers, ranging from Vodafone and NBC, to Nissan and Nando’s. That’s quite an eclectic mix across the globe!

UX tools - UXCam

The user analytics available in this UX tool will also help you to uncover users’ frustrations, with special screen analytics available to show where you users are getting stuck – even rage click and heatmap features to monitor their behavior!

Furthermore, you can integrate this UX tool with your support and crash report tools to get a closer look at the problems your users might be experiencing.

Pricing: Free (2500 monthly sessions, 250 user recordings), Premium (contact for pricing), Enterprise (contact for pricing)

9. LiveSession

LiveSession is a UX tool that comes with many useful features. These features include a session replay so that you can view exactly how your users are using and navigating your website, as well as offering in-depth, qualitative analytics.

UX tools - Livesession

This UX tool also has the helpful feature of allowing you to filter your users and lump them into segments. That way you can filter by everything form error and rage clicks, to new users, to clicks on signup buttons. You can also test out any changes or updates you make to your apps and measure you users’ satisfaction with these new changes.

What’s really great about this UX tool, though, is its practicality. LiveSession comes with an integration that lets you connect it to WordPress, Wix, Shopify, JIRA and many more.

Pricing: Micro ($41 per month), Starter ($84 per month), Startup ($169 per month), Business ($254 per month)

10. Cux.io

Cux.io is a UX tool that comes with a free trial version of 14 days without a credit card so you can jump into testing straight away without any hassle.

UI-UX tools - Cux.io

In terms of user testing, you get many metrics available to you off the bat, with conversion rates based on page loads and events, while you can also record the visits that users make to your website.

The predefined metrics and alerts in this UX tool let you keep up to date with all the behavioural insights available about your users. Their “Customised Aggregation” feature allows you to track user behaviors for specific categories and types of subpage, which you can visualize as a heatmap. Meanwhile, the URL tagging feature on this UX tool means you can run remote tests and do in-depth analyses on your marketing campaign results.

Pricing: Enterprise (contact for pricing), Business (contact for pricing)

Tools for UI designers

1. Sketch

Sketch hardly needs any introduction in the design world. For many UI designers, it’s the go-to tool to create sharp images and pixel-perfect vectors. What puts sketch up there with the best of the tools is perhaps its intuitive interface along with its compatibility with a myriad of other UX tools.

UI-UX tools - Sketch

As a UI-UX tool, it lets you create responsive components that easily scale up or down and that can be reused anywhere throughout a design. It also has a shared cloud workplace so that you can share your designs with your team and get feedback. On top of that, developers can even inspect your designs with just a link and not necessarily a Mac.

Lastly, if you are a Mac owner, there’s nothing like having a native mac app to do most of the heavy lifting behind your UI design work.

Pricing: For teams ($9 per person per month), For Individuals ($99 once-off payment)

2. Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop has managed to achieve a certain type of pedigree in the UI design world that can only be compared with royalty. For many UI-UX designers, it’s definitely the tool of choice when it comes to editing photos and vector images for prototype screens. It also helps that it has integrations with many other UX tools such as Justinmind and Axure.

UI-UX tools - Adobe Photoshop

Furthermore, Photoshop lets you work across all devices. Touch up your products from your tablet when you’re not at your desktop, such as objects and combine photos, change colors and effects on the go. Perhaps this is why it’s so popular with designers the world over. Whatever you do, your work is always shared automatically to the creative cloud. Nice!

Pricing: $20.99 per month

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3. Tiny PNG

If you have a large amount of image-compression to do for web design or for a wordpress blog, then TinyPNG is your best bet. With this simple tool, you can compress your image files directly on the TinyPNG website, or you can install a plugin for WordPress and have images automatically compressed when you upload them.

UX tools - Tiny PNG

TinyPNG works by using lossy compression in order to reduce your PNGs to an acceptable size for servers and pagespeeds. However, if you took the same image and compared one before and after TinyPNG compression, it would be impossible to notice the difference, as the original still appears pixel-perfect!

Pricing: Free

4. FileZigZag

What about when you have to convert images, videos and other files to a different format? FileZigZag is a tool that will help you achieve this with relative ease.

Are there other tools on the market that do the same job? Yes, plenty. Are they as easy to use as FileZigZag that provides as many conversion options? Most definitely not – which is why we’ve included it on our list of best UX tools!

UX tools - FileZigZag

With FileZigZag, all you have to do is drag and drop your files or find them on your computer and then select the format you want to convert it to, for example, JPG/WEBP to PNG, AI to PSD or vice versa. The conversion takes seconds before it’s ready for you to download in the new format.

You don’t need to worry about security either – you can rest safe in the knowledge that all files you upload will be deleted after 24 hours.

Pricing: Free

5. Golden Ratio Typography Calculator

The golden ratio is a piece of mathematics that helps you to create balanced and harmonious designs. The Golden Ratio Typography Calculator is an excellent UI-UX tool because it helps designers to choose the optimum font solution for their website or app design.

UI-UX tools - Golden Ratio Typography Calculator

All you have to do is enter in the content width of your site, along with the font type and size. You will then be shown the golden ratio for your ideal font size, line height and even how many characters you should include per line!

Using the GRT calculator will provide you with the perfect typographic scale that is based around the primary font size that you use, along with associated line heights and the spacing units that it derives from the primary line height. Best of all? It’s free!

Pricing: Free

Tools for UX Researchers

1. SurveyMonkey

If you want to create surveys to get quantitative and qualitative data from users about your product, and when branding and ease of use matters, then SurveyMonkey is your best bet. SurveyMonkey helps you build forms quickly and easily, with many templates available to speed up the job. They can provide your surveys to their wide panel of testees.

The best thing about SurveyMonkey is the degree to which you can customize your surveys, by adding special fonts, color schemes, logos and other branding material.

UX Tools - SurveyMonkey is a customizable survey software

Rest assured that SurveyMonkey also enjoys a 90% share of the fortune 500 market, with companies like TaskRabbit, Nexia, Nextdoor and many more using their survey-building services, so you’re in safe hands.

Pricing: Team Advantage ($35 per month), Team Premier ($87.30 per month), Enterprise (contact for pricing)

2. Hotjar

Hotjar helps you to understand how your users actually use your website without suffocating you under an avalanche of facts and figures. If you’re in the market for a UX tool that, on top of providing more than one type of user testing, presents you with easily digestible facts in order of priority, then Hotjar is your tool.

In terms of the user testing that you can carry out using the Hotjar tool, you can avail of heatmaps, conversion funnels and recordings to test the behavior of your users on your website, while also obtaining feedback from polls and surveys.

UX tools - Hotjar

In fact, the Hotjar polling feature is actually a staple favorite among their customers as a more direct way to enquire why users are bouncing from their websites.

Like the other potential UX tools on this list for your arsenal, Hotjar has a plethora of compatible tools in terms of integrations. You could potentially enjoy using this tool on Shopify, WordPress, Woocommerce, Wix and many more.

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3. Optimizely

Optimizely, as if the name wasn’t suggestive enough, lets you build, through experimentation, new features with confidence by running tests on certain segments of your user base and only applying the changes that actually work.

UX tools - Optimizely

You can also use the optimizely experimentation features alongside your favorite prototyping tools for best results before rolling out new features off the bat without a compass heading.

In terms of website A/B testing, along with multi-page testing, Optimizely is one of the best user testing products out there. It lets you run many different user tests on one single web page at the same time in a safe manner.

Pricing: Contact for pricing

4. Typeform

If you’re looking for a great alternative to SurveyMonkey, then Typeform may very well be the tool to fill that gaping hole, emphasizing the fact that you can turn a list of boring questions into a friendly conversation with your users.

Just like SurveyMonkey, Typeform also lets you pick templates and customize them to your company’s heart’s content, creating polls, surveys and questionnaires. In fact, Rand Fishkin from Moz maintains that Typeform helps them elicit even more responses from users than any other survey tools on the market.

UX tools - Typeform

One of the coolest features of typeform is that you can simply start typing out your survey questions and multiple choice answers as if you were just jotting notes down into a notepad. Typeform then converts them into a proper survey format automatically, so you can just focus on the details, without worrying about the format of the questions and answers.

Pricing: Essentials ($30 per month), Professional ($30 per month), Premium ($70 per months)

5. Google Forms

If you’re looking for a free alternative to both surveymonkey and Typeform, then Google Forms is the next best thing. Although, when compared to SurveyMonkey and Typeform, Google Forms appears to be a little lacking in terms of customization features.

Nonetheless, Google Forms does offer a great platform to generate instantly sharable, simple, usable surveys. You can also choose from up to 16 different templates that you can modify and make your own!

UX tools - Google Forms

Another plus that Google Forms has is a more advanced answer validation and scoring feature, and can also easily be combined with other Google tools, such as Sheets and Google Data Studio.

Pricing: As free as the Google Chrome browser itself!

Tools for UX Managers

1. Trello

Trello is a brilliant tool for UX and UI designers, as it provides a fun, simple and flexible way to prioritize and organize all of your projects and tasks using lists, boards and cards. As a project management tool for a UX designer, this one is top notch!

As well as helping you to keep your team organized, Trello also lets you dive into and out of extra detail by adding in comments, due dates, attachments and much more.

UX tools - Trello

Perhaps one of the major pull factors of Trello, though, is that it is very easy to get your entire team set up and also comes with many integrations. These integrations include other apps that you will be highly likely to use, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Tag Manager, Slack and many more.

Lastly, like many of the UX tools on this list, changes in Trello will always be synched across all of your devices, letting you collaborate anytime and anywhere with your colleagues – even while you’re waiting at the dental clinic!

Pricing: Free ($0 per user per month – no way!), Business Class ($12.50 per user per month), Enterprise ($17.50 per user per month for first 100 users)

2. Keynote

If you happen to be a UX manager who needs to do presentations for Product Managers, clients, stakeholders and with your team on a regular basis, then you may want to consider using Keynote which comes built into most apple devices.

Keynote is a great tool for the UX manager to have up their sleeve as it lets you easily put together stunning presentations with amazing graphics and animations. It lets you use the Apple pencil on the ipad to create everything from illustrations to diagrams so that you can add them into your slides.

UI-UX tools - Keynote

You can also collaborate with the rest of the team on your presentation slides and share your work, regardless of what type of operating system the rest of your team is using.

With over 30 themes and 30 cinematic effects and transitions, you can easily animate slides, making words pop out by adding in textures, photos and color gradients. You can even dictate an animation along a patch by simply using your finger or your apple pencil.

Pricing: Free

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3. Google Sheets

Google Sheets – what more can we say? Anyone who knows someone who has a Google account or who simply has been on the internet will have heard of this tool.

Google Sheets was originally thought of as being the answer to Microsoft Excel as a more simplified and user-friendly version. It offers users a similar, Google browser based work environment and less mind-boggling power-user options.

UX tools - Google Sheets

Creating a Google Sheet is a great way of being able to co-edit and instantly share your results online with anyone and doesn’t come with the layers of complexity and the learning curve that Microsoft Excel does.

That makes Google Sheets a brilliant place for you to compile all of your user testing, product, content planning and site audit data to generate instant charts and graphs. The fact that everything is shared online means that people instantly see any updates made to the project.

Pricing: Free, of course!

4. Google Analytics

Ok, so what can Google Analytics offer a UX designer or UX manager? The answer is quite a lot! Many webmasters use Google Analytics as a way of measuring the traffic, clicks and conversions of their websites, as well as the bounce rate and pagespeed.

All of these metrics will be helpful to any UX designer because they help measure and communicate in real time, not just how your website is doing in terms of ranking and popularity, but whether or not you really are catering to your users. And the best thing is that once you have Google Analytics set up, all of these metrics are measured automatically.

UX tools - Google Analytics

While Google Analytics does come with quite a steep learning curve, we think it is definitely worth your while, because you will have plenty of free information that’s automatically available to show you hints as to the quality of user experience your website is providing.

Pricing: Free

5. Mixpanel

Mixpanel is all about testing and improving the UX of your website. Mixpanel offers you a whole host of user analytics that other tools in the market wouldn’t, such as behavioral analytics, data governance, as well as a full-stack, scalable platform.

This platform provides you with a custom database for querying and storing data in order to directly address the behavior questions you have about your users.

UX tools - Mixpanel

Mixpanel’s custom database is built for storing and querying data to answer complex behavior questions without the SQL programming language. When you set up Mixpanel on your website, you can send any query you want about user-based data and receive answers in less than two seconds. That’s impressive UX analytics!

Lastly, if you were wondering about Mixpanel’s credentials, you can rest assured in the knowledge that many large companies such as Twitter, Expedia, Uber and Skyskanner have all installed and used this software.

Pricing: Starter (Free: 1,000 monthly tracked users) Growth ($89 per month per 1,000 monthly-tracked users), Enterprise (contact for pricing)

Final thoughts

The right tool for you will depend on the kind of work that you and your team are expected to take on each day. It will also depend on your budget, as well as the type of work that you have to do and your team’s methodologies.

However, we hope that this list is complete enough for you to be able to find the best tools that will hopefully lighten the workload in this fast and busy environment!

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Joseph Downs
In-house UX copy-slinger, foodie and classic motoring enthusiast