Over the years, the Internet has gone from a tiny gathering of like-minded people to an enormous crowd hungry for information that they all want to access instantly.
It is no longer a cliché to say that everybody uses the Internet everywhere around the globe. From business users to average consumers, people are continuously connected to an endless flow of data.
To perfectly enjoy these services, people require user-friendly interfaces – and that’s where UX kicks in.
It is similar to real-life experiences: For instance, if you buy cooking equipment and still use the microwave because the oven is too sophisticated or has an unfriendly design. Bad designs can lead to frustrated customers.
UX tools help designers to work faster and easier, to improve interface usability and, thus, transforming Internet’s complexity in a lighter form that anyone can experience. A successful design usually revolves around three steps that each designer should accomplish:
- User testing – Designers have to check out how people respond to their product to make future decisions that satisfy their clients
- Prototyping – Before starting the code, the design has to be prototyped
- Tight Teamwork – Completing the design process should be smooth and simplified
1. User Testing Tools
This is an easy-to-use usability testing application released by Clearleft that only requires a Mac computer. It is a low-budget testing tool and it works with basic functions. It uses Mac’s iSight webcam and microphone to record the facial expressions and voices of the people being tested, as well as screen activity.
If you don’t have a Mac, there’s no problem as Usability Studio is a user-testing application that works on Windows. First of all, it is fair to say that the tool itself has a friendly interface, so you don’t have any problems in understanding how it works. Designers can record sessions (video, sounds, and screen activity) and create different tasks for the user to complete. At the end of the session, the application can show you the duration of each completed task, alongside other details.
This program is a wonderful decoder of users’ thoughts and feelings when they interact with a site. The application relays on close communications between users and designers by the use of feedbacks. Visitors have to click the Live feedback button and start browsing the site. They can leave feedback on everything presented on the site (logo, content, structure, etc.), which allows the designer to quickly collect information and make the proper changes.
2. Prototyping Tools
This application is perfect for wireframe, mockups and prototype creation. It can be used for both desktop websites and mobile applications development, and it is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Designers can quickly export and share their creations, as Pidoco is also capable of realizing real-time online collaboration to increase the workflow between team members.
With an intuitive interface for designers, this application comes with dozens of pre-customized elements that you can use in your mockup. But the design isn’t just efficient for the designer; it is also convenient for the client as it can render a straightforward idea of how the wireframe will look.
Unlike other sketchy-like applications, this one helps designers to create realistic mockups that are very close to the actual websites. It also has a team-sharing feature that can significantly improve workflow as you can organize projects in multiple folders and keep mockup editing under control. You can also import images and even get more elements from the MockStore.
3. Tight Teamwork
Not all designer teams have an actual physical office. Murally helps teams recreate the office hustle and bustle that forms around any group creation process by contributing with an online whiteboard to organize ideas. You can drag and drop anything: images, links, sticky-notes, user-testing conclusions, you name it. The changes are tracked in real time. Therefore team members will see the most recent uploaded information.
This program is perfect for maintaining team member work relationships, as well as the collaboration between team members and clients. Not only can Concept Inbox help designers create functional prototypes, but it also enables users to give feedback and discuss ideas upon their creative work.
StoryBoardThat provides six storyline layouts in a comic strip style that can help designers communicate and organize brainstorming ideas. It uses a drag-and-drop interface and has a wide variety of characters, scenes, and images. Thanks to this program, working on a project can be a lot more entertaining and creative.
As complex as UX processes may seem, their success stands in simple procedures and a thoroughly structured way of thinking. There is a great deal of programs and techniques that improve web development, but it all begins with a designer’s plan and the way he sees his site growing. Therefore, UX tools are necessary, but knowing how to use them and for which purposes is essential. And of course, it takes a team of great UX designers to make this happen.
To get more information or if you have any questions about how we work, please contact us. Or if you want to recommend a tool, please feel free to tweet it to us (@melewi)!