User experience is the cornerstone of every digital product’s success. When you make people feel like your website or an app was designed “just right,” they’re more likely to do business with you. But the road to excellent UX design is long and comes with various challenges. And it all starts with exploring your users’ preferences, desires, and expectations. Luckily, you can make the whole process much smoother with the right UX research tools.
In this article, our digital marketing agency will show you some of the best UX research tools you can use at various stages of the UX process. Whether you need powerful tools for usability testing, user interviews, and diary studies, or you’re looking for advanced eye movement tracking systems and UX survey tools – you’ll be able to find the right user research software in this list. These UX tools have helped thousands of UX researchers collect user feedback, bridge experience gaps, and boost customer loyalty. So, read this article carefully and choose the user research platforms you believe will take your UX design to the next level. Let’s start!
Table of Contents:
- Why Does Your Business Need To Conduct UX Research?
- Different Tasks User Research Tools Can Help You With
- Must-Know Benefits of Using UX Research Tools
- A Simple Way To Find The Best User Research Software For Your UX Projects
- 7 Best UX Research Tools in 2023
- Final Thoughts on UX Research Tools
Why Does Your Business Need To Conduct UX Research?
Exploring the best UX research tools wouldn’t make much sense without clarifying what UX research is and how it can help your business.
If you decide to start a website creation process without conducting user research, you’ll leave dozens of important questions unanswered. Despite having a basic idea of your target audience’s preferences, you’ll lack knowledge of their specific pain points, unique expectations, favorite features on competitors’ websites, and much more. As a result, you might design a website full of experience gaps – the one your target audience won’t enjoy as much as expected.
To prevent this from happening, UX professionals emphasized the user research process. It’s their job to minimize the need for pure “guessing” in the UX design process. By utilizing the proper user research methods and techniques, you can provide your development and design teams with valuable information they can use to boost the quality of their work.
UX design is a broad field, and as a business owner, you should understand all the differences between UX researchers vs UX designers. This way, you’ll be able to hire the right people in your team, the ones who will be able to make full use of the various user experience research tools you’re about to discover.
Different Tasks User Research Tools Can Help You With
You’ll need to perform various tasks to conduct successful user experience research and gather valuable data. Knowing which tasks such research consists of is essential for understanding different UX research tool categories. So let’s quickly explore them:
Asking the right user experience survey questions is a great way to gather qualitative user feedback. However, keeping track of all the information you gather through user research interviews can take time and effort. That’s where UX research tools come in handy. These tools can make your life easier when preparing and executing user interviews. Some of the UX tools we’ll show you can help you with all the interview preparation needs, making user interview recordings and transcriptions, organizing insights, and much more.
User researchers often conduct surveys to collect quantitative data. Luckily, you can use many great UX survey tools to create and distribute your surveys and then automatically collect and analyze the responses. You’ll save lots of time compared to manually compiling the data.
Card sorting is a method where participants organize items into categories. You can use it to better understand under which category they expect to find a specific product. Various UX research tools can help you conduct card sorting tests online. And what’s best, these tools also have features that allow you to analyze the results quickly.
UX researchers use tree testing to evaluate the navigation of their websites. When conducting this type of usability testing, you’ll give participants a series of tasks and ask them to find the correct location to complete the task. We’ll show you some of the best tree testing tools that can help you streamline this process and get accurate usability test reports.
With this method, you’ll need to gather a group of participants so they can discuss your digital product. It’s a great way to gather various opinions and ideas quickly. However, keeping track of all the information participants share can be challenging. Luckily, some tools can help you recruit the right participants and analyze their conversations quickly and efficiently.
Must-Know Benefits of Using UX Research Tools
When it comes to creating a UX strategy and making it work, using UX research tools can benefit you in various ways:
- Gain deep insights into user behavior: One of the key benefits of using UX research tools is gaining insights into user behavior. Using tools like heat maps, click tracking, eye movement tracking, and session recording, you can better understand how people interact with your website or app. For example, heat maps can show you which parts of a page get the most attention from users, while session recordings can reveal where users are getting stuck or frustrated.
- Save time and money: Using the right UX research tools will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. These tools can help you identify areas for improvement early on to avoid costly redesigns down the road. And by utilizing some of the best feedback tools, you can avoid spending time and resources on designs that don’t work well for your users.
- Validate design decisions: Do you have several fabulous ideas for your web design but need help deciding which one to choose? By using A/B testing UX research tools, you can test those versions with real users to find the one that performs best. This can help you decide which design elements to keep and which to change.
- Boost conversion rates – Ultimately, the goal of UX research is to help you meet various user requirements for a website design to improve user satisfaction. Once you gain insights into user behavior and validate design decisions, you’ll have a much easier time creating a website that converts leads into loyal customers.
A Simple Way To Find The Best User Research Software For Your UX Projects
Before you start exploring some of the best UX research tools we’ve prepared, carefully read this list of UX research methods:
- Quantitative UX research: A data-driven method you’ll use to collect and analyze numerical data, such as statistics and metrics. UX surveys and questionnaires will be your best friend for collecting large amounts of data from a representative sample of users. For example, you can use quantitative UX research to determine how many users are satisfied with your website’s navigation.
- Qualitative UX research: If you want to better understand users’ experiences, motivations, and emotions, then make sure to utilize qualitative UX research methods. Qualitative research is more subjective and relies on gathering insights through user interviews, observation, and user testing. For example, you can use qualitative UX research to understand why users are struggling with a particular feature or to identify opportunities for improvement based on user feedback. Or you can use it to find out how people feel about how you’ve implemented typography in UX design.
- Moderated UX research: With moderated UX research, UX researchers observe participants in real time – in person or remotely. The moderator guides the user through a series of tasks while observing and asking questions on the go. For example, you can use moderated UX research to gather immediate user feedback and learn how they feel while navigating your site.
- Unmoderated UX research: Unmoderated research is conducted remotely without the presence of a researcher. You’ll give users a set of tasks to complete and then record their interactions for later analysis. To make this work, you’ll need specialized UX research software to collect user behavior data without observing them in real time.
7 Best UX Research Tools in 2023
It’s finally time to start exploring the list of the seven best tools for UX research. These tools are designed to make the research process faster, easier, and more accurate, so you can create websites that truly meet your users’ needs. From online surveys to user testing platforms, our web design agency in Chicago has tested dozens of tools, and here are our favorites:
Userbrain is one of the best tools for UX research you can use to check the quality of your UX design. The fact that UX researchers from popular companies like Spotify, Wish, Amazon, and AirBnB use this ser research tool tells enough about its quality.
The platform works by recruiting users from around the world who match the demographics of your target audience. But if you want to avoid recruiting users from this platform’s pool, you can invite your own testers. With Userbrain, you can test anything and collect user feedback in voice-over video form.
You can use dozens of preset templates for your user research, so it takes just a couple of minutes to get started. We also love the feature that allows you to schedule regular usability testing.
Userbrain comes with flexible pricing:
- Starter plan – $90 per month or $990 per year: With this plan, you get three testers each month and can have up to ten sessions with your own testers. The Starter plan also includes one year of video storage for recorded sessions and testing automation features.
- Pro plan – $299 per month or $2990 per year: You get ten testers each month, and you can have a maximum of 30 sessions with testers that you invite. The Pro plan opens space for two additional admins and a few more benefits.
- Agency plan – $799 per month or $7990 per year: You’ll get 30 testers each month and the ability to run 90 sessions with your own testers. With the Agency plan, you also get a dedicated account manager.
- Pay As You Go – $39 per tester: A flexible model that is handy when working with a tight budget. Userbrain will store your video recordings for three months, which is quite enough time to gather insights.
UserTesting is another powerful UX research platform that can help you with various user research methods. It comes with a wide range of features and three main products you can combine to conduct just any type of user research and market research for website design:
- Insight Core
- Product Insight
- Marketing Insight
Flexibility is one of the most significant advantages of UserTesting. You can use it to test various designs, from wireframes and prototypes to fully functional products. Depending on your needs, you can also choose between moderated and unmoderated testing. This UX research platform lets you speak directly to your testers and focus groups. You can also conduct 1:1 user interviews and gather real-time user feedback.
It also comes with an easy-to-use dashboard you can integrate with other tools. You’ll be able to quickly analyze your data and use it to enhance your UX design.
Prices are fully customizable, and all plans come with a free trial you can request. If you’re running a non-profit organization, you can get full access to UserTesting for free.
As one of the best usability testing tools available, UsabilityHub can help you test your design prototypes, website, and mobile app usability quickly and easily. It comes with a variety of features, including:
- Card sorting: This helps you find out how to organize content in a way your visitors want.
- Prototype testing: You can import your prototypes from Figma and get user feedback quickly.
- Design surveys: UsabilityHub’s UX survey tools can help you get all the necessary answers and empower your UX process with accurate user feedback.
- Five-second tests: This feature helps you measure people’s first impressions about your landing pages, so you can optimize them to achieve higher conversion rates.
- Preference tests: If you have multiple design solutions ready but are unsure which to use, ask users, and you’ll quickly find the path.
- First-click tests: This user research software can help you polish the hierarchy of your content and put essential page elements into the spotlight.
Now let’s check UsabilityHub’s pricing plans:
- There is a Free plan available
- $75 per month for the Basic plan
- $175 for the Pro plan
- Custom price for the Enterprise plan
Loop 11 is a cloud-based platform that lets you design and run different usability tests, analyze the results and make data-driven decisions to optimize your user experience.
What we love about Loop 11 is that it’s easy to use, even for people without a lot of UX research experience.
Another significant advantage of Loop 11 is its scalability. Whether you’re running a small usability test with just a handful of participants or a large-scale study with hundreds or thousands of users, Loop 11 can handle it all. You can customize your tests to fit your specific needs, from demographic targeting to task scenarios, and you can run multiple tests simultaneously to save time and resources.
This tool has advanced features to help you get the most out of your research. Here are just some:
- Information architecture testing: This helps you gather insights you need to improve the information architecture on your website.
- Search engine findability: This allows you to measure how easily people can find your website or specific pages through search engines.
- Mobile & tablet testing: Loop 11 helps you conduct usability testing on various devices and screen sizes.
- A/B usability testing: Not sure which of your designs will perform best with real users? With Loop 11, you can conduct A/B tests to find out quickly.
- True intent studies: This feature allows you to gain insights into actual goals people have when visiting your website and how easy it is for them to achieve those goals.
- Prototype testing: Save time and money by testing your wireframes and prototypes before you start the development phase.
- Benchmarking: Find out how your website stands compared to your competitors.
Loop 11 pricing:
- $179 p/m for Rapid Insights
- $358 p/m for Pro
- $533 p/m for Enterprise
Hotjar is one of the most popular UX research software among industry experts. Here are some of the features that make Hotjar a hot choice:
- Heatmaps: Heatmap tool makes Hotjar stand out. You can check where users click, scroll, and hover on your website or app. This way, you’ll be able to identify which areas of your site or app are most engaging and which areas users tend to ignore. Learning these patterns lets you polish your UX projects and craft more enjoyable experiences.
- Session recordings: You can record usability tests and playback videos of users’ interactions with your website. It will help you identify user frustrations and discover bugs or usability issues, which is crucial for creating a more accessible user experience.
- Conversion funnel analysis tool: With this Hotjar’s feature, you can identify where users drop off in your sales funnel or conversion process. By understanding where users leave your site or app, you can optimize those areas to increase conversion rates and revenue.
Hotjar’s pricing is customizable, and it all comes down to your needs and preferences. You can opt for pre-made monthly plans ranging from $0 to $80 or pick a custom package.
Optimal Workshop is more than a regular UX research tool, as it has many valuable tools for various tasks and research methods. You can also use it as a participant recruitment engine.
With this user research software, you can check responses in real-time. And it also has impressive data visualization features that allow UX researchers to share their insights with others.
Optimal Workshop consists of 5 high-quality tools:
- OptimalSort: A card sorting tool you can use to gain insights into how users expect you to organize categories on your website or app. You’ll find a lot of value in it if you’re trying to organize information on your website in a user-friendly way.
- Treejack: A tree testing tool you can use to find out if people can easily find the desired information on your website. With this tool, you’ll also be able to identify potential obstacles so you can polish your UX design.
- Chalkmark: If you have a design ready, and want to test it with users, then this first-click testing tool will show how well people understand your interfaces. You’ll find out where people expect to find the information they’re looking for, so you can polish your UX design. You can conduct such tests by uploading screenshots, prototypes, or wireframes.
- Questions: An excellent tool for conducting online surveys. It allows you to upload your wireframes to gather more specific user feedback. This tool can help you find the right question types for your surveys. And it supports more than 80 languages.
- Reframer: If you’re looking for a user research tool to help you organize all your insights from qualitative research, Reframer is the answer.
Optimal Workshop pricing:
- Free plan
- $166 p/m for Pro
- $153 for each user p/m for Team
- Custom price for Enterprise
Typeform is one of the best UX survey tools that can help you create surveys and collect responses from your audience in a user-friendly and engaging way.
One of the main features of Typeform is its customizable and visually appealing survey templates. Typeform surveys are designed to look and feel like a conversation, which makes them engaging and enjoyable for respondents. This can help you achieve higher completion rates and gain more valuable insights.
Here are some of the critical features Typeform offers:
- A range of question types you can use to collect different types of data, including text responses, multiple choice answers, ratings, and more
- Ability to add images, videos, and other multimedia to make your surveys even more interactive and engaging
- Advanced data analysis capabilities and built-in analytics tools
- Data visualization tools that will help you identify patterns and trends in your respondent’s answers
- Ability to export your data to other tools like Excel, Google Sheets, and more
Considering all the features it comes with, Typeform offers valuable deals:
- $25 per month for the Basic Plan
- $50 per month for the Plus Plan
- $83 per month for the Business Plan
Final Thoughts on UX Research Tools
That’s it; we’ve just explored the best UX research tools in 2023. With these 7 UX tools, you’ll be well on your way to conducting high-quality research that will help you improve your digital products and boost customer loyalty.
Also, if you need to decide which one to try first, consider the specific needs and goals you want to accomplish. This may help you narrow your options and find user research tools to elevate your UX design.
To find other exciting tools that can help you thrive in the digital space, you can check our tools blog section.