The UX Toolbox: The UX Tools You Need to Get It Done

ux-toolbox

The UX Toolbox presented by BUX

The UX Toolbox is full of tons of great tools that will help you better understand your users and how they are behaving on your website.

UX thrives on data. And to get data we need tools. Good tools. Kick ass tools. Tools that help us understand the desires and motives of our users…

The best way to directly obtain information about a website’s usability, design and effectiveness is by conducting user testing. Depending on the needs of each test and the tool used to complete the test, users can be, site visitors, random users, current clients, potential clients or third-party participants.

There are many user testing tools (heatmaps, surveys, screenshots, videos, A/B testing, interviews, mouse tracking) available that test a variety of elements (tasks, design, experience, usability) that present data in multiple forms (graphs, videos, case studies, etc.). We need user tests to give us the data we need so we can make informed design decisions. Let’s see what’s available in the UX toolbox…

A/B TESTING

A/B testing is done to compare the effectiveness (ability to achieve desired results) and quality of experience of different user interfaces.

For example, you have two designs of a website: A and B. Typically, A is the existing design (called the control), and B is the new design. You split your website traffic between these two versions and measure their performance using metrics that you care about (conversion rate, sales, bounce rate, etc.). In the end, you select the version that best achieves those results.

Quantitative data speaks for itself. Constantly testing and optimizing your page can increase revenue, donations, leads, registrations, downloads, and user generated content, while providing teams with valuable insight about their visitors.

  • Content Experiments in Google Analytics - Testing up to five full versions of a single page, each delivered to visitors from a separate URL
  • IntuitionHQ - Website usability testing for web designers
  • Optimizely - A/B testing you'll actually use
  • Pick Fu - Fast, lightweight market polling for logo designs, marketing material, product ideas, and much more

Design Evaluation Tools

There are several tools that help us evaluate the performance of a design. Some ways of we can evaluate are by performing various tests that can analyze levels of attention, brand effectiveness and placement, as well as breaking down the flow of attention.  You would want to use design evaluation tools to test a new concept, determine which features to include or omit, improve your website and increase conversion. It is good UX practice to always test out your ideas before you implement them and having the data to back it up.

  • Attention Wizard - Instant heatmaps of webpages
  • Chalkmark - Make it easyTM with our online usability testing software
  • ClickTest - User interaction analysis for your mocks and wireframes
  • Concept Feedback - Get user feedback and increase conversion rates
  • Feng-GUI - Attention and Attraction Analysis
  • Five Second Test - Landing page optimization for your mocks and wireframes
  • NavFlow - Path and conversion analysis for your mocks and wireframes.
  • Verify - The fastest way to collect and analyze user feedback on screens or mockups

Heatmaps/Mouse Tracking Tools

Mouse tracking tool and heatmaps are an easy way to understand what users do on your site. It’s a visual representation showing you where users click and what they do. The reports let you see what’s hot and what’s not, so you can make changes based on the data that increase conversion.

The best part about these tracking tools is that they let you see see what works “at a glance” and can show us WHERE on the page they are clicking, not just that they clicked. The visual format of reporting is great for presentating to non-technical audiences. It’s also important to take note of where users aren’t clicking and what that means within your design strategy.

Information Architecture Evaluation Tools

Information architecture is the term used to describe the structure of a website. For example the way information is grouped, the navigation methods and terminology used.  Information architecture tools provide the ability to test the informational hierarchies within a website. An effective information architecture enables people to step logically through a system confident they are getting closer to the information they require. And there are ways to test if the system is working…

Survey Tools

Survey tools are based on the ability to ask your users questions and getting their feedback. Feedback that will help you improve your website. You can get insight to their thoughts and feelings about their experience. Just make sure to ask the right questions.

Now, Go Find Users to Test!

Many of the user-testing tools do not provide us with the users to complete the tests. So how do we get them?  Sometimes relying on customers to click on a link via your website, social media or an email is not enough to get all the data you need.

There are UX tools available that provide users for us or help us recruit our own users. Either way, there is typically an incentive of some sort involved for the user. Ethnio recruits participants on your website live and then helps you connect them to the user tests (Usabilla or Usertesting.com for example) you wish to conduct. TryMyUi provides a user to test your site for $35 per test.  Amazon Mechanical Turk gives us access to an “ on-demand, scalable workforce” that you can pay- sometimes as little as $0.05 to complete your user tests.

  • Domain Polish - Inexpensive, on-demand focus groups
  • EasyUsability.com - Usability test your website with targeted users for $15
  • Ethnio - Place one line of JavaScript on your site, then intercept visitors live for research
  • Mechanical Turk - Find user testers on Mechanical Turk!
  • Pick Fu - Fast, lightweight market polling for logo designs, marketing material, product ideas, and much more
  • TryMyUI - Software & Web User Experience Testing
  • UserTesting.com - Usability Testing Has Never Been Easier: The fastest, cheapest way to find out why users leave your website

Conclusion

User testing gives us the the data we need to make informed changes that improve, not only the website and its purpose as a whole, but the overall user experience. User testing tools give us valuable insight into our users (our customers) actions, thoughts and perceptions about how they are experiencing the website and the product. Iteration is the key to the user experience and a good website that performs. If we want to keep iterating the process, we need to take advantage of the many tools available. Whats in your UX toolbox?

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