UX design is the method of creating a digital product that enhances the user experience. As such, it involves branding, usability, design, and functionality. It also applies to all stages of the product development process, from conception to marketing the finished product.
Great UX design has many benefits for your business. For instance, greater customer satisfaction, improved efficiency, and higher profits. But to achieve it, you need the right tools. In this guide, we’ll review the eight best UX tools that can help you achieve your design goals in 2022.
What Are UX Tools and How Do They Work?
UX design tools are what product designers use to create their design concepts, such as software. Some tools handle all stages of the UX design process, from research and design to prototyping and analysis. Others are more specialized, such as wireframing or usability testing tools.
There are no-code tools and tools that need coding, tools for beginners, and tools for experts; the list is endless! Many design tools allow collaboration, so your whole team can create prototypes together. But the best UX tools focus on the user and how they’ll view and interact with the product.
8 Best Tools for UX Design in 2022
Now let’s look at the eight best UX tools in 2022. Together, they cover every stage of the UX design process, so they’re the only software tools you’ll need. They are:
- Optimal Workshop: The best user research tool
- Balsamiq: The best wireframing tool
- Adobe XD: The best design tool
- UsabilityHub: The best user testing tool
- Zeplin: The best collaborative design tool
- Hotjar: The best feedback and analytics tool
- Airtable: The best documentation tool
- Bubble: The best no-code web app design tool
Optimal Workshop began in 2007 as a tool for researchers, designers, and information architects. With it, you can conduct qualitative and quantitative research to inform and improve your design. It offers a single source of truth to view, analyze, and share your results.
You can recruit participants yourself or choose from 80 million participants worldwide. Optimal Workshop includes demographic filters, custom consent forms, and participant screening.
- OptimalSort: learn how users organize and categorize information
- Treejack: see how people use your website
- Chalkmark: discover where users click first to complete a task
- Questions: create and send online surveys
- Reframer: organize and analyze your research findings
Optimal Workshop has a free plan for one user with unlimited drafts and one live study. Paid pricing plans include:
- Pro: $166/month for one user
- Team: $153/month/user for up to five users or $139/month/user for six to nine users
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
Balsamiq started in 2008 as a wireframing tool that mimics the feel of sketching on a whiteboard. It minimizes unnecessary features and add-ons while providing hundreds of built-in components. It’s easy to use, and the Balsamiq Wireframing Academy offers many guides to help you get started.
- Built-in and community-generated components and icons
- Export to PNG and PDF
- Quick Add shortcuts
- Customizable and re-usable symbols
- Interactive prototypes for testing or demonstrations
All versions of Balsamiq come with a free 30-day trial. There are three versions to choose from:
- Balsamiq Cloud: starts at $9/month
- Wireframes for Desktop (Windows or Mac): starts at $89/month/user
- Integration with Google Drive: starts at $5/month/editor
Balsamiq also integrates with Confluence and Jira.
3. Adobe XD
Adobe XD is a vector-based design and prototyping tool that’s part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s ideal for web design, app design, branding, and game design.
Anyone can use Adobe XD, from UX designers to product managers and design thinkers (for those who don’t know, design thinking is another name for Agile manifesto planning). Plus, it’s perfect for animators, voice designers, and illustrators.
- Text and object hyperlinks
- Organization controls for design components and assets
- Video and Lottie animation playback
- Vector tools like Outline Stroke, Inner Shadow, and Angular Gradient
- Real-time co-editing
- Customizable menu
- Integrations and plugins for Workfront, Asana, and Monday.com
Adobe XD offers a free Starter plan with limited functions. Paid options include:
- For individuals: £9.98/month for Adobe XD only or £51.98/month for the full Creative Cloud suite
- For small to medium teams: £16.85/month for Adobe XD or £61.99/month for Creative Cloud
UsabilityHub is a usability testing tool. Like Optimal Workshop, you can invite your own participants or choose from UsabilityHub’s 340,000+ panel.
You can filter participants with demographic targeting, and there’s a dedicated QA team to ensure participants are high-quality. Testing options include prototype testing, first-click testing, surveys, preference tests, and five-second tests.
- Audience split testing features
- Open text response and funnel analysis
- User click counts and heatmaps
- Filter responses by question or task completion
- Multi-section and multi-method tests
- Customizable variables, including device targeting
For basic or occasional testing, UsabilityHub is free. Otherwise, there are three paid options:
- Basic: $79/month for one user
- Pro: $199/month/user
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
Zeplin is a collaborative design tool that helps designers and developers work together to complete a project. It works as a plugin for Photoshop, Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD.
With the Zeplin workspace, you can publish and collaborate on designs with your product team. Just choose which platform you’re designing for and use Zeplin’s tailored specs and code snippets to realize your vision.
- Organize designs with style guides you can link to several projects
- Integrations with Slack, Jira, Microsoft Teams, VS Code, and Trello
- Map user journeys and document designs with Flows & Annotations
- Create and manage design versions and tokens
- Access components and design templates from Storybook, GitHub, and other sources
Zeplin is free for one project, then the pricing plans are:
- Team: $6/month/seat for 12 projects
- Organization: $12/month/seat for unlimited projects (minimum 12 seats)
- Enterprise: custom pricing
Hotjar is an analytics and user testing tool that helps you see your product from your users’ perspective. It began in 2014 as a way to help designers create websites their users love. With Hotjar, you can see what works and what doesn’t by mapping the user journey and getting first-hand feedback from customers.
- Heatmaps: visualize user behavior like where they click, move, and scroll on your website
- Feedback: get live feedback from users on your website
- Integrations: integrate Hotjar with thousands of apps without coding
- Screen recordings: watch users navigating your website in real-time
- Surveys: connect with real customers and find out what they think
Hotjar has two pricing plans: Observe (Heatmaps and Recordings) and Ask (Surveys and Feedback). You can get them both for a combined price of €113/month/user. Or, you can use either of them for free with the Basic plan. Other options are:
- Plus: €31/month for Observe or €59/month for Ask
- Business: €79/month for either
- Scale: custom pricing
Airtable is a database and design tool where you can create and store all your project content. With its pre-made templates, you can create no-code apps for your business, from productivity to labor forecasting apps.
The Airtable workspace consists of bases (folders) that each represent a project. Bases contain tables that store your data and content.
- Interface designer: design custom interfaces for your team
- Sync: keep your data synced across your organization
- Views: choose how to view data, such as Gallery View or Kanban View
- Automations: automatically trigger workflows, integrate tools, and more
- Marketplace: contains hundreds of ready-made apps and services
- Templates: includes popular templates like Product Roadmap, Organization Chart, and Marketing Campaign Tracker
Airtable is free for individuals or small teams. Otherwise, the pricing plans are:
- Plus: $10/month/seat for teams
- Pro: $20/month/seat for teams and companies
- Enterprise: custom pricing
Bubble is a great option if you have no previous coding experience to call upon. Using their base template, or Bubble Boilerplate, you can build a web app that is visually impressive with next to no technological knowledge.
With flexible and responsive design templates that are easily customizable, you have the freedom to create an app that is truly unique and appealing to your users.
It’s also a great tool to use alongside the others listed to take your UX to the next level.
- Comprehensive visual elements library
- Access to hundreds of plugins such as Airtable, Localize Translation, and Zapier
- Design templates and pre-built modules to easily create a design that is appealing to users
- Performance metrics so your team can gather necessary data
- Step-by-step guides to help build apps with a strong UX design
- Workflow management to support the development of the project
Bubble offers its basic plan for free. For more advanced features the payment plans are:
- Personal: $29/month
- Professional: $129/month
- Production: $529/month
Best UX Tools At-a-glance
How to Choose the Right UX Tool
Strong UX design is essential to attract customers to your business and keep them hooked. To give users the best experience, you need to design websites and apps that are fun and easy to use. For that, you need the right UX design tools.
In this guide, we looked at the eight best UX tools in 2022. Which tool is for you depends on what you want to use it for. You might even need to combine tools to create the best possible UX experience.
But if you’re new to coding or have no experience to draw upon, look no further than Bubble. It’s easy to use features will have you creating your app in no time and it can be used alongside many of the other tools listed here.
So what are you waiting for? Get started with Bubble; it couldn’t be easier.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 2 million users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble – many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.