Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: How UX is Transforming Enterprise Software

Tools to help you create a great user experience

Hundreds of apps and services are available to help UX designers do their jobs. Here's a selection of the best ones.

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Image: iStock

Designers and developers have a wealth of apps and services at their disposal to help them create compelling user experiences that will deliver business value.

Just how many user experience (UX) tools are out there was revealed by a trawl through 10 online lists published in recent years. We counted well over 300 offerings of various descriptions, covering areas such as wireframing & prototyping, user research & testing, information organisation, analytics & metrics, and more.

Creative software giant Adobe has recently planted a large footprint in the wireframing/prototyping arena in the shape of Adobe Experience Design CC (or XD for short), and of course has a significant presence in analytics/metrics with its Marketing Cloud. Here are some of the leading contenders Adobe is up against in the UX market.


Wireframing & prototyping

Leading tools

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InVision offers powerful design prototyping tools, makes it easy to communicate with clients, team members and stakeholders, and lets you manage a project from a single location. Real-time, in-browser collaboration and presentation tools allow you to launch meetings, create guided tours and present designs to stakeholders. Other key features include version control, user testing and stylesheet creation.

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Proto.io offers an inuitive drag-and-drop interface for code-free prototyping of your app ideas, with built-in (iOS, Android, Windows) UI libraries to get you started. Multiple touch/mouse events and animations help you create realistic prototypes, which you can test on iOS and Android devices. Built-in collaboration tools let you gather feedback before fine-tuning your app.

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UXPin is a code-free platform that accommodates static designs and animated prototypes, with built-in collaboration and usability testing facilities. Copious UI elements are available for web, iOS and Android apps. Designs can be created in UXPin or imported (from Photoshop or Sketch, for example) and edited.

Best of the rest

AnteType, Axure, Balsamiq, FileSquare, Flinto, Fluid, Handcraft, HotGloo, Indigo Studio, Justinmind, Macaw, Marker, Marvel, Mockflow, MockingBird, Moqups, Notism, OmniGraffle, Paper by FiftyThree, Pencil Project, Pidoco, Pixate, POP, PowerMockup, Sketch, Wireframe.cc


User research & testing

Leading tools

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Polldaddy lets you create surveys quickly and easily via a well-featured survey editor. Responses are collected via your website, email or on your iPad or iPhone.

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Usabilla's Voice of the Customer solutions help businesses improve the performance of their websites, apps and emails via live customer feedback.

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This visual analytics tool will play back user interactions with your website or web app, allowing you to observe how they progress through the conversion funnel. Activity from desktop, mobile and tablet devices can be tracked, and recordings shared with the rest of your team.

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Verify allows you to test screenshots of designs and gather insights on user expectations and reactions to apps and websites before writing any code. Smart-looking reports help design teams make informed decisions.

Best of the rest

Appsee, Attensee, Camtasia, Chalkmark, Ethnio, Fivesecondtest, Frelay, Google Hangouts, Hotjar, IntuitionHQ, Jing, Kampyle, LiveChat, Loop11, MagiTest, Morae, MouseStats, Naview, OptimalSort, PickFu, Qualaroo, Silverback, Solidify, SurveyGizmo, SurveyMonkey, TreeJack, TryMyUI, TypeForm, UsabilityHub, UserBob, Userbrain, Userlytics, UsersThink, UserTesting, UserVoice, Userzoom, WhatUsersDo, Wufoo


Information organisation

Leading tools

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This widely used online diagramming app runs on a fast HTML5 editor, creating diagrams easily via drag and drop from an extensive shapes library. Features include revision control, publish and share via a read-only URL, customisable themes and templates, and Google Drive integration.

Best of the rest

BugHerd, Creately, Draw.io, Evernote, Memosort, Red Pen, Trello, XMind, xSort


Analytics & metrics

Leading tools

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Inspectlet records videos of visitors as they use your website, providing filters to surface those you're interested in watching. A funnel analysis tool will show recordings of users who never proceeded to checkout. And if you're interested in watching all screen captures where a visitor pressed the 'play' button, for example, you can tag those screen captures with a marker.

Best of the rest

Accessibility Priority Tool, Crazy Egg, Google Analytics, Maxymiser, Mixpanel, Optimizely, Piwik, Quantcast, Visual Website Optimizer, Woopra

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