13 of the Best Tools for UX Designers

Cynthia Vinney, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

There are so many UX design tools on the market today that it can be difficult to decide which ones will ultimately be most useful. From user research to prototypes, user flows to collaboration, there are multiple tools available for all stages of the UX design process. Choosing a good design tool can make your work infinitely easier and more enjoyable. In order to choose the best tool for you, make sure to consider the scope of the project you’re working on, the size of your team and the skill level of the team members.

To help improve your chances of zeroing in on some of the most useful options, below are our picks for the best UX design tools for all stages of the UX design process as of the middle of 2021.

Here are the 13 UX design tools we’re highlighting:

  1. Tools for UX research
  2. Tools for creating sitemaps and user flows
  3. Tools for creating wireframes and prototypes
  4. Tools for UX research and testing
  5. Our favorite tools for team collaboration

Feel free to use the clickable menu to skip ahead to the UX design tools you’re most interested in learning about. Now, let’s begin!

1. UX design tools for UX research 

The three UX design tools in this section are a starting point. For a full run-down, check out this video:

Talebook

Talebook is tailor-made for the beginning of a UX project. Through the platform you can conduct user interviews, stakeholder interviews and competitor analyses and then analyze the data so you can identify patterns that can be turned into actionable insights. You can also create personas—and even rudimentary user flows and paper prototypes—from the feedback you collect.

Available on: Web

Price: Starts at $6/month

 

UXtweak

UXtweak calls itself “the only UX research platform you need,” and it’s easy to understand why. With the ability to conduct all kinds of research from card sorting to prototype testing to heatmaps and questionnaires, all your UX research can be conducted through this platform. Plus, with the ability to record sessions, you can easily review users’ feedback anytime you want. Best of all, UXtweak will recruit respondents for you, so you can remain focussed on design.

Available on: Web

Price: Free version, with paid plans starting at $180/month or $1,296/year

 

Feedier

Feedier is a customer feedback collection tool that is especially useful for user research for product redesigns. The platform gathers data from both direct, gamified surveys that users actually want to participate in and indirect sources like online reviews. The data can then be organized into user stories and journey maps that provide insight into users, enabling UX designers to optimize the user experience as the design process moves forward.

Available on: Web

Price: Upon request

 

2. UX design tools for creating sitemaps and user flows

FlowMapp

FlowMapp’s claim to fame is its ability to create simple but effective interactive site maps and flowcharts in an intuitive platform. The pre-existing library of icons and shapes and the ability to add images provides flexibility and makes it easy to change elements quickly. Plus, the tool’s collaborative features allow the whole UX team to access and discuss the site maps, user flows and journey maps being created.

Available on: Web

Price: Free version, with paid plans starting at $15/month or $99/year

 

Overflow

Overflow integrates with Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch to create user flows from the designs you’re creating. You can show the customer journey through different parts of a product by connecting screens together with arrows, adding labels, and even including decision trees to pinpoint where users will be making choices. For visual consistency, you can also add skins that trim long screens, helping clients and stakeholders better understand what each screen would actually look like on a device.

Available on: Windows, Mac

Price: Starts at $15/month or $144/year

 

3. UX design tools for creating wireframes and prototypes

UX Design Tools: A paper prototype sketched out on a notepad in pen
Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels

Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a low-fidelity wireframing tool that recreates the experience of sketching on paper, but on your computer. This is a tool that’s perfect for when you’ve just started to design the pages of your website or app as the hand-drawn style keeps the focus on structure, placement, and content so you can avoid getting bogged down in other design decisions that shouldn’t be considered until later. Plus, you can iterate quickly, which enables you to tweak different elements until you arrive at the best design solution.

Available on: Cloud, Windows, Mac

Price: Starts at $9/month or $90/year

 

Adobe XD

Once upon a time, UX designers had to make Adobe tools created for non-UX jobs, like Photoshop and InDesign, work for their needs. Fortunately, today we have Adobe XD, a design tool created specifically for UX that enables designers to build high-fidelity wireframes and interactive prototypes. If you want to see what a product will look and feel like without having to code a thing, this tool is a great solution. Not only can you create interactions and add animations, it also includes voice enabled features for those designing voice interfaces. Best of all, UX teams can work together in real time and share links with clients and stakeholders so they can provide feedback.

Available on: Windows, Mac

Price: Starts at $9.99/month

Figma

Figma is a cloud-based UX design tool that’s becoming increasingly popular for UX teams for because of its collaborative capabilities. Design teams can work together in real-time or asynchronously on a project without concerns about versioning or losing work, enabling them to go from basic wireframes to animated prototype quickly. But what makes Figma really stand out is how simple and intuitive it is to use, making it easy to start designing almost immediately.

Available on: Cloud

Price: Free version available, with paid plans starting at $12 per editor/month 

 

And if you want to jump in with Figma, here’s an introdcution to how to use this tool:

Sketch

Sketch is one of the most popular and longstanding UX design tools available. Sketch features vector-editing so designs are precise down to the individual pixel. The tool’s clean layout, reusable components, ability to create and share libraries, and wide variety of plugins enable users to get a lot out of it. However, Sketch is only available for Macs.

Sketch is one of the key tools of the CareerFoundry UI Design Program.

Available on: Mac

Price: Starts at $9 per editor/month

To learn how to use Sketch for wireframing, check out this workshop: Wireframing in Sketch.

 

4. UX design tools for UX research and testing

UserTesting

UserTesting, as the name implies, is a tool for user experience testing and is particularly useful for prototype testing. With the ability to test on any platform, including mobile phones and tablets, and record respondents’ interactions, you can gain insight into where users might run into pain points as they’re using a product. More importantly, UserTesting works quickly so you can get feedback in hours instead of days.

Available on: Web

Price: Upon request

UXCam App Analytics

UXCam is the go-to solution for qualitative analytics for mobile apps. Session recording is easily set up and enables you to follow along as users interact with your app, enabling you to see the places where users are most engaged and most frustrated. The tool also analyzes and flags unwanted events like crashes, freezes and rage taps so you can discover exactly where problems are occurring.

Available on: Web

Price: Free version available, with paid plan pricing available upon request

 

5. Our favorite UX design tool for team collaboration

Slack

While it’s not a UX design tool, per se, Slack is a communication tool that enables UX teams to talk no matter where they are. This is especially helpful if your team is remote, but is also great when you’re working in an office too as it ensures urgent questions can be answered through the app, eliminating lag time and keeping everyone up to date. Slack also supports the creation of channels for more specific conversations, integrates with apps like Google Drive, Zoom and Dropbox, and can be used to share files. 

Available on: Web

Price: Free version available, with paid plans starting at $6.67/month 

 

Zeplin

Zeplin is a handoff tool that works for designers and non-designers alike. Designers publish their final creations from tools like Adobe XD, Figma, Sketch, or Photoshop and developers are able to build code without having to look in multiple places for final designs. Through Zeplin, the whole team stays on the same page, saving time for everyone.

Available on: Web

Price: Free version available, with paid plans starting at $6/month

 

6. Final thoughts

If you’re interested in finding out more about UX and the tools we’ve listed, check out our free UX design micro-course or discover our full UX Design Program today! 

You might also be interested in these articles:

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to UX with a free, 6-day short course.

  2. Take part in one of our live online UX design events with industry experts.

  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out if UX is right for you.

  4. Become a qualified UX designer in 5-10 months—complete with a job guarantee.