Best UX Tools: 11 Tools To Make Your Life Easy in 2021

The industry-standard tools for UX designers.

ux tool

Thomas Carlyle said it best: “Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he’s nothing, with tools he is all.

UX tools have a life-changing impact on your professional life. 

Choose the wrong ones and your work — and the fun that comes with it — will suffer. Let’s take a deep dive into it.

How To Choose the Right UX Tool

We found four key aspects that matter when choosing the right UX tool:

  1. Usefulness: How well does the tool solve your problem?
  2. Usability: Is the tool easy to use on a day-to-day basis?
  3. Collaboration: Is it easy to share your work with others?
  4. Integration: Are there any integrations with other tools? Does it make the transition between design phases easy?

If you find a tool that exceeds your expectations in all of those four aspects — congratulations, never let it go!

Our advice: You aren’t on your own. Keep in mind that other colleagues will also use your toolkit… and you’ll need to share your work with them.

After all, don’t you show wireframes, prototypes, user flows and testing results to stakeholders on a regular basis?

Wireframing & Prototyping UX Design Tools

Amateurs often confuse wireframes and prototypes.

Here’s a quick explanation: 

Wireframes are low-fidelity, roughly sketched-out frameworks of a digital product. A good wireframe has as little details as possible. Its purpose is to define the structure of the product.

Prototypes are high-fidelity and detailed representations of the final product. They are not coded yet, but you can click through them and even test them out on users.

Balsamiq

Balsamiq UX Tool Wireframe

Balsamiq is an amazing wireframe tool that’s focused on low-fidelity.

Balsamiq has consciously chosen a hand-drawn and cartoonist style of displaying elements. This takes the complexity out of the design and forces you to focus on the placement of elements. You won’t get the chance to “accidentally” create a full-fledged mock-up.

Availability: Web (cloud) / Windows / macOS

Pricing: Starts at $9/month

Adobe XD

Adobe XD Prototyping UX Tool

XD is Adobe’s flagship UX tool. 

We’ve seen its great evolution in the last few years. Nowadays, it boasts a decent collaboration feature that lets you share documents and work collaboratively.

XD is a solid prototyping tool that allows you to create elements and then generate animated transitions (microinteractions) with said elements. 

A big drawback as of today: Your colleagues and you can’t simultaneously work on the same document.

Availability: Windows / macOS

Pricing: Paid plans start at 9.99$ per month, per user. XD has a generous free plan

Figma

Figma Prototyping Tool

Figma is a collaborative prototyping tool.

The best thing about Figma is the ability to co-edit live with your colleagues. Besides that, the tool has a nice interface that allows for the insertion of elements, animations and code in order to create high-fidelity prototypes.

Availability: Windows / macOS. Figma also offers a mobile app to mirror prototypes

Pricing: Starts at $12 per editor, per month

Sketch

Sketch UX Tool

Sketch is the OG of element-based digital design.

Its gain in market share was one of the reasons that Adobe released XD.

Sketch has a clean and easy-to-use interface that’ll make it easy for you to create nice looking mock-ups. Collaboration is an issue though — especially since Sketch works on macOS only.

Availability: macOS only

Pricing: Starts at $99/year

Usability Testing UX Tools

So you created an awesome prototype. Developers have started to work on it and you’re ready to move on. 

But wait — before you spend too much time coming up with new designs, validate your first ones by doing usability testing.

UserTesting

UserTesting

UserTesting didn’t get the creative juices flowing when coming up with the company name, but the platform is great for finding suited candidates to test new designs on. You can talk with users while they engage with your work.

Availability: Web / Windows / macOS

Pricing: Upon request

Applause

Applause Usability testing

Applause is another platform to source usability testing participants.

As a premium player on the market, it takes a hands-on approach and provides you with a qualified UX expert to help you with your usability study.

Availability: Web

Pricing: Upon request

UXCam App Analytics

UXCam App Analytics

UXCam is a qualitative analytics solution for mobile apps that lets you get a deep understanding of user behavior. 

UXCam’s Session Recording capabilities allow you to easily see how real users navigate through your app. 

session video recording
Session video recording of user behavior

Sessions can be easily shared even with people that don’t have access to UXCam. The advanced filter system lets you find useful sessions lightning fast.

UXCam’s integration requires two lines of code and takes less than five minutes.

Best UX Tools: 11 Tools To Make Your Life Easy in 2021 1
What customers say about UXCam


Something to keep in mind is that you will not be able to conduct interviews on UXCam due to its nature of gathering and observing real-usage data. Instead of testing the usability, you get to see how good it actually is.

Availability: Web / Windows / macOS. Dedicated to mobile apps only.

Pricing: Upon request

Flowchart UX Tools

Mapping out and keeping track of your product flowchart, also known as user flow, is one of your core responsibilities as a UX designer.

Therefore, the tool you use for this purpose is crucial. You can use one of the above-mentioned UX tools for this, but it’ll be hard to keep track of them. Consider the options below!

Overflow

Overflow UX Tools

Overflow is a user flow solution that integrates with Sketch, Figma and XD. It lets you impact designs from those tools, add device skins and rearrange them. Then you can connect and annotate them.

Availability: Web

Pricing: Starts at $15 per month, per person

FlowMapp

FlowMapp User Flow

FlowMapp offers a low-fidelity, wireframe-style approach to mapping user flows. With it you can build simple diagrams through shapes, lines and icons.

Availability: Web

Pricing: Starts at $15 per month

UXCam Screen Flow

Screen Flow

Who doesn’t need a reality check? You may think that users flow through your app in a certain way, but what are they actually doing? You can easily find out with UXCam’s Screen Flow feature. 

Availability: Web / Windows / macOS. Dedicated to mobile apps only.

Pricing: Upon request

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That concludes our list of UX tools!

FAQ:

What are UX tools?

UX Tools help you through the different stages of the design process: User Research – Wireframing – Prototyping – Optimization (There are more stages, but these are the “must-dos”).

Which software is best for UX Design?

The job of a UX Designer is complex, therefore the one best software doesn’t exist.

It depends on the stage of the design process and your individual needs.

However, here’s my personal preference:
1. Wireframing: Balsamiq
2. Prototyping: Figma
3. User Testing: UXCam
4. Flowcharts: Overflow

Why should I use UX tools?

UX Design is a practice that depends on the utilization of tools and frameworks – be it offline or online.

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Best UX Tools: 11 Tools To Make Your Life Easy in 2021