Designing an exceptional user experience is an art and UX designers are artists. No artist is complete without his tools and the same goes for UI/UX designers. They have to use numerous tools in order to give life to an innovative idea. But with so many alternatives where to start? Let’s explore the answer in the article.
If you are an UXer, then you might be aware of the significance of these UX tools and guidelines. But if you are new to the field of UX then it’s vital for you to have a detailed look at the tools discussed here in order to advance your workflow.
These tools can help you at creative stages of web and app design: wireframing, prototyping, icons, typography and color choice. To make this guide a bit more user-friendly, we have divided it in accordance with each stage of the design workflow. Let’s explore these unique tools one at a time.
1. Efficient UX Tools For Research & Inspiration
According to Jeff Humble, the Head of Design at CareerFoundry: “you want to fall in love with the problem, not the solution. It means before starting to develop anything the UX designers need to do extensive research. They have to identify the who, what, and why for their every design project.”
There are plenty of tools that help UXers to ask the right questions and gather useful insights. But in order to make it easier for the user to participate, the following web-based tools are the best.
Comprehensive Survey & Polling Tools
These tools let you reach a wide audience within a short span of time. One popular tool for developing quizzes, survey, and forms is Typeform. It is a free account that allows you add 10 fields per typeform and you can access 100 responses per month.
Survey Monkey is yet another tool for research purpose and it is handy for the UX designers. Also, they can use the Audience feature as an online survey tool in order to carry out global market research for large-scale projects.
Interactive Video Interviews
In order to gain better insights, it is better to have a face to face conversation with the users. You don’t need any specific tools for this but you arrange a Skype call or chat via FaceTime. just ensure that you are taking notes while chatting so that you can refer to it later.
2. Creative UX Tools For Sketching
After identifying the problem, the second stage is to solve it. This is the stage where experimentation begins and UXers have to consider different angles from which to approach the problem.
All you need to do at this stage is to have a whiteboard and so that you can draw sketches freely and spontaneously. It is quite possible that you are already hatching some ideas during the research phase so all you need to do is come up with a few final sketches.
Once you are done with some sketches, you can take help of the tool named Usability Hub. You just have to upload your sketches and conduct a preference test in order to get an idea of which approach to take further.
Proficient UX Tools For Mind Mapping
Once you are done with finalizing which approach to take further, you can develop a mind map that can be used to visually organize information. It is a great way to brainstorm, formulate a plan, or turn ideas into steps needed to make it real.
MindManager is one of the most extensively used mind mapping software application developed by Mindjet. With the help of this tool, UXers can create digital mind maps that can be used as a “virtual whiteboard” for brainstorming, managing, and planning projects. Also, they can use it for compiling research, organizing large amounts of information, and for strategic planning.
3. Effective UX Tools For Wireframing
By now, you have developed a virtual mind map your next step is to turn it into wireframes. There are plenty of tools available in the market for wireframing. But it is mandatory for you to stay focused while selecting your wireframing tool.
You do want to enhance your sketches without getting into high-fidelity designs. For this purpose, you can use Sketch which is extremely useful for creating wireframes. But if you get easily distracted you can use Balsamiq.
Adobe Illustrator is another popular wireframing tool that you need to download. Also, you can use Wireframe.cc easily on the browser to create wireframes.
Productive UX Tools For Flowcharts & Diagrams
With these flowcharts and diagram tools, you can easily communicate complex information with data-linked diagrams in just a few clicks. For example, you can use the tool Visio and utilize its shapes to enhance your productivity.
You can link these shapes with multiple data sources including Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Excel Services, Active Directory, Microsoft SharePoint Lists etc. Also, you can share your creations through a browser with Office 365 or SharePoint.
Innovative UX Tools For Prototyping
Now as you are moving closer towards the final product, it’s the time to see your ideas in action. It is the right time to create prototypes. A prototype is an interactive, clickable preliminary version of your final design. With the help of efficient tools, you can bring your sketches and wireframes to life.
One of the most popular prototyping tools is InVision where UXers can upload their wireframes, choose which device they’re designing for, and get to work adding hotspots. Here the designers can add animation, gestures and transitions to their design files, and transform their static screens into clickable, interactive prototypes.
Another handy prototyping tool is Mockplus, it has an intuitive drag and drop functionality that is a real time saver for the UX designers. It is considered as the best tool for creating prototypes for mobile, web, and desktop apps quickly.
Unique UX Tools For Storing & Organizing Icons
These tools help UXers to save all their icons in one place so they don’t have to search for them again and again. One of the most popular tools for storing and organizing icons is Iconjar. This tool allows UX designers to store all their icons and make it easier for them to search through all of their icons. Also, with this tool, you can drag icons into Sketch, Affinity, Illustrator, and Photoshop.
Powerful UX Tools For User Testing
User testing involves testing a product on users in order to evaluate its features. This process can be well executed with the help of an online usability testing tool named UserTesting. This tool allows UXers to get videos of real people speaking their thoughts as they use certain websites, mobile apps, and prototypes.
Another significant UX tool for user testing is Optimizely but it is appropriate for A/B testing. This tool helps designers to how they can affect conversions of a website or an app by tweaking its interface.
So, this is an exhaustive list comprising of all the essential UX tools that every designer should have access to in order to develop exceptional user experience for different clients. Mastering all these tools can provide UXers with the capacity to transform innovative ideas into full-fledged website and applications.