UX research is the lifeline of any product team: the minute user data stops flowing into your system, all vital signs of your company begin to flatten out.
A product becomes useless when the users it was designed for can’t put it to practical use. Your team, of course, has the best intentions of building a product that your users love and use on a daily basis. But your team is not your user.
Any team that aspires to build the best product must first understand it can only build the best product for its users: a product, in other words, that solves a given problem in the best possible way for its particular use cases and its specific user base. Good products think beyond absolutes.
That means your team needs to keep the wants, needs, opinions, feedback, and reactions of real users at the very center of your product’s development and iteration processes. Deviate from that and your product’s usability—not to mention your profits—will begin to nosedive.
So, how do you know what your users really want, need, like, and dislike? You talk to them. You observe, watch questions, gather customer feedback, and distill that into insights you can use to build a better product.
Traditionally, doing this meant creating a list of users, sitting them down in a room, and watching them interact with a product or a prototype firsthand. Nowadays, there are a lot of tools that make this process faster and more scaleable, from session recording tools to heatmaps and click analysis.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of 43 tools for UX research, and split them into eight different categories based on function.
User testing tools
Organization and project management
Analytics and heatmapping
User surveys and studies
Design evaluation and iteration
Wireframe and prototype testing
User onboarding and in-app messaging
We’ll dive into each tool and discuss their applications for UX research.
User testing tools
User testing tools offer a broad umbrella of UX research tools under one platform, and collect information in various combinations and detail levels that can apply to different use cases.
UserTesting provides insights into how users use your product, so you can understand where they get excited, where they get stuck, and where they drop off without converting. The tool allows you to conduct website and app testing through video, where you watch real users speak their thoughts as they explore your website or mobile app — following specific instructions that you provide before the test. UserTesting is especially good for UX researchers without a large base — it helps source user testers from over 1 million people.
UserTesting offers plans at the individual and enterprise level to accommodate small and large teams. Pricing can be obtained through contact with the company.
UK-based WhatUsersDo offers user testing through on-demand videos of users replicating your entire customer journey so you can find and analyze bugs anywhere in your conversion process.
The tool’s main platform offers a DIY solution for digital professionals who have the capacity to design and analyze their own UX tests and results. Teams that want further help—either in building good tests or in gathering insights at a speed and scale that’s not limited by their internal capacity—can opt to have UX research experts help them gather information, produce meaningful reports, and achieve their goals.
Plans start at £500 for 10 user videos and from £7,200 per year for unlimited UX testing, while help from expert researchers comes at custom prices depending on needs.
TryMyUI has an all-around UX research solution for teams with products running across various platforms that want to tune into their users’ thoughts and impressions at various stages of the development process. It offers remote user testing for web and mobile apps. It also captures interactions like mouse movements, taps, swipes, and keypresses, and written responses gathered in post-test surveys.
Depending on the plan, you can submit your tests to TryMyUI’s panel, or have specific users test your product. You can start testing with TryMyUI’s platform for free and simply pay for each test you order at the price of $35. Teams can sign up for 10 free test credits and 10 test results from their own user base per month for $200. The Agency and Enterprise plans offer greater options based on needs.
Loop11 helps you conduct usability testing on websites, live environments, subdomains, multiple domains within a network, and even competitors’ websites. With Loop11’s integrations, you can start testing from as early as wireframing and prototyping to make sure your projects start off in the right direction.
Loop11’s tests have achieved Section 508 compliance in independent audits by a third-party accessibility consultancy, offering viable solutions for teams that need to run user testing where participants have accessibility requirements.
Pricing starts $199 per month (or $149 per month when billed annually) and builds up to custom enterprise packages with multiple seats, professional services, and special requirements.
If quantitative data doesn’t satisfy the needs of your app’s development team, Appsee adds a layer of qualitative data on top of all your information for a complete picture of user behavior. This UX research tool shows you everything that happens between your app and your users through features like:
realtime in-app analytics
crash reporting and videos
Appsee offers a Free plan for small teams handling one app with 2,500 sessions, a Premium package for growing teams and startups working on three apps with 5 million monthly sessions, and custom Enterprise packages for teams that scale.
One of the big struggles with UX testing is reaching out to, and interviewing, users at a regular cadence. UserBrain helps solve this problem by providing your app with a constant flow of first-time testers. New users go through a list of tasks you ask them to perform on your website and speak their live commentary out loud so you know what goes through their brain as they complete each task.
Each screen recording can range from five to 15 minutes long with the Starter plan offering one video per month for $29, the Most Popular plan offering one video per week for $49, and the Advanced plan offering three videos per month for $139.
While advanced UX research tools can be great for running broad research projects with several touch points and data inputs, sometimes you need a simpler tool that helps you communicate with qualified users in a more direct manner. With Soapbox, your users can record their screens, webcam, and audio live as they go through your site, and instantly generate a share link to send you their impressions.
Built as a Chrome extension, users can install Soapbox with a simple click and record their videos for free. With the option to have both the webcam and the screen capture displayed side by side, Soapbox can not only give you your user’s thoughts as they go through your website, but also their reactions, which can be even more telling.
Lookback offers live user interviews that are further contextualized through a live recording of the user’s screen and webcam for getting complete reactions to your product. Testing can take place in moderated, remote sessions, in unmoderated user-only sessions, and even in person. A collaborative dashboard lets you sync all your research and feedback and share it with your team.
Lookback plans come in three tiers: Standard, for $29 per collaborator per month, with unlimited recordings and participants; Pro, for $59 per collaborator per month, and the additional options to export recordings and get priority support and better permissions; and Enterprise, for custom solutions with advanced features.
Organization and project management
The more information you collect on users, the better equipped your team will be to create the best product available for your target audience. But this will only work if you can organize all your incoming research data into a meaningful system that helps you categorize, analyze, and synthesize the information provided.
Airtable can accommodate all kinds of team and research projects, but is ideal for those who want to create their own organizational structure and maintain total control over how they import, use, and synthesize their data. With an array of tried-and-true templates built on our platform by other startups and businesses, you can start importing and analyzing data right away, prepare for user interviews, easily share your insights with collaborators, and maintain your entire UX research system on autopilot.
You can start using Airtable today on our free plan for unlimited bases of up 1,200 records. For larger projects you can get our Plus plan that holds 5,000 records per base for $10 per month (billed annually) or our Pro plan for 50,000 records per base for $20. Larger teams that need a comprehensive solution with robust features can contact us for a custom Enterprise quote.
Woopra helps you create comprehensive customer profiles by syncing customer data you collect from various touch points, such as your website, mobile app, email, and help desk. Leveraging this rich data, the tool lets you segment users by behavior and pinpoint where customers drop off before conversion.
Small businesses can use the tool for free for up to 30,000 actions per month, and then sign up for tiered subscriptions starting at $79.95 per month (or $799.50 per year) for up to 40,000 subscriptions.
Ethnio lets you create screeners for intercepting people on your website or app, so you can find the right participants for your UX research. The tool provides various filters for screeners, as well as automatic scheduling options that simplify the process of getting in touch with your users. Dynamic responses and social lookup features help you prepare for each research participant in greater detail.
Ethnio pricing starts with a Little plan at $79 per month for 100,000 pageviews and moves all the way up to Huge at $349 per month for 1 million pageviews, with the option to get Enterprise quotes for bigger volumes.
Usabilla helps you optimize your digital properties by gathering contextual feedback with native tools that don’t redirect users through a survey maze. Each feedback item comes with a screenshot paired with page metadata — device, screen resolution, and more — so you always understand your user’s experience first-hand.
For pricing, contact Usabilla for a demo to discuss the details of your team and project and get a custom quote.
Analytics and heatmapping tools
While a lot of UX research occurs through qualitative interviews and studies, it’s just as valuable to have a quantitative understanding of your users — how they’re flowing into your app, where they’re coming from, and where they’re actually interacting. Analytics and heatmap tools provide you with hard data and numbers that scale for product development.
13) Google Analytics
Google Analytics comes free with a Google account and gives you reports about the use of your website from desktop and mobile users. It also provides insights about your audience and their behavior on your site through reports like real-time use, acquisitions, user behavior, and conversions.
Hotjar is a comprehensive analytical and feedback tool that can help you glean important insights into your user behavior. Heatmaps help you visualize user behavior through representations of users’ clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior, while visitor recordings show you what people think when they explore your site. A form analysis tool can show you which fields hold the greatest friction for new users, while feedback polls let you target questions to specific visitors on your web or mobile site.
New users can test out Hotjar through the free plan for 2,000 daily pageviews while businesses can choose the best rate for their traffic starting at $89 for 20,000 pageviews and building up to custom agency programs with unlimited pageviews for client accounts.
Mouseflow lets you view visitors’ behavior on your site and fix the flow of your UX with session replays, heatmaps, funnels, form analytics, and feedback campaigns. Filters and segments in the tool let you sort users by location, language, IP address, page count, session duration, browser type, operating system, platform, traffic source, visitor type, and more, so you can get deeper insights into how users use your product.
Mouseflow offers four pricing tiers: Starter at $29 per month for 10,000 monthly pageviews; Growth at $99 per month for 50,000 monthly pageviews; Pro at $399 per month for 100,000 monthly pageviews; and custom-priced Enterprise packages for unlimited pageviews on unlimited sites per month.
Crazyegg shows you what makes your visitors click and what makes them leave from your site, so you can improve your users’ UX journey across your pages and funnel. The tool’s insights reports fall into three main categories.
Clicks tell you where people are clicking on your website and where they aren’t
Scrollmaps show you how many people scroll down your pages and where most people stop
Audience reports let you discover where people on your site are coming from, and who clicks on what the most.
Crazyegg’s basic plan goes for $9 per month (billed annually) for 10,000 monthly visits and builds up to Pro for $99 per month (billed annually) for 250,000 monthly visits.
FullStory’s Free plan offers access to the basic features of the tool. Those interested in the full feature list can opt for the Professional plan at $199 per month with the option to add a Page Insights Pack and Data Exports Pack for an additional fee. Larger teams can get custom quotes for Enterprise features.
For UX research and tracking in an app environment, Mixpanel offers a robust solution that helps teams gauge user engagement by measuring the actions taken in an app. The app’s automated insights reports help you quickly understand complex data while its A/B testing capability helps you discover the best experience for your users.
Mixpanel’s basic plan is free to use for up to 20 million data points per month, the Startup plan is available for $99 per month with full reports starting at 1 million data points, the business plan comes at $999 per month for 10 million data points. Bigger teams can also get custom Enterprise quotes based on their needs.
A/B testing tools
Part of your product team’s job is understanding what your customers want, so they can solve a problem based on their specific use case. Nevertheless, no amount of thinking or data analyzing can show you what makes users click better than users themselves. A/B testing tools let you run different experiments to build the best solution possible.
Optimizely gives product teams deep insights on user behavior by allowing them to experiment with everything from design choices to algorithms to build great UX journeys. You can personalize your product through targeted content and experiences in real time, experiment with recommendations by tweaking your algorithms, placement, and presentation to understand the best way to engage your customers.
Plans come in Standard, Professional, and Premium editions based on needs, and quotes are given through consultations with the sales team.
VWO, short for Visual Website Optimizer, lets you do just that: optimize your website for the best user experience without having to rely heavily on IT for help. The platform offers users the ability to conduct A/B testing, get real feedback from users, review heatmaps and segment reports, and deploy personalized content to target specific users, among other things.
VWO Standard plans start at $49 a month for 10,000 visitors and $129 a month for 30,000 visitors. Larger teams can get custom quotes through the Enterprise plan.
User surveys and studies tools
While user studies tools are helpful for running in-depth analysis and gathering qualitative feedback at specific points in your UX development, you also want to build a system for receiving a constant stream of feedback from your users at all times. User survey and interview tools can help you set these up and send them out at a steady cadence.
Uservoice focuses on providing user feedback and data insights that help you build a better product. Rich customer feedback that combines both quantitative and qualitative data helps you prioritize your product roadmap from responses gathered via native website widget, a dedicated portal, and seamless mobile surveys. Categories and labels help you easily sort your feedback and make sense of the data you collect.
To begin using Uservoice, you can request a free 14-day trial to start a conversation with the Sales team about plans and pricing.
Polldaddy lets you create and embed online polls and surveys to get insights into what works for users and what doesn’t. Filter and analyze your data, and create reports to share it. Attach ratings to any piece of online content to understand what appeals to users and what leaves them indifferent.
You can sign up for a free Polldaddy account with Polldaddy branding or create a Pro account for white-label branding for $200 per year. For larger teams, the Corporate plan offers up to 10 user accounts for $899 per year.
Qualaroo helps you tune into customer insights with targeted website surveys that let you know what’s stopping your customers from moving further in their journey towards purchase. Enhance your understanding of your website analytics by targeting questions at the right customers, at the right time, on the right page and use skip logic to only show them relevant questions based on their answers.
Qualaroo comes in four plans based on needs and size of team: Startup is geared towards small teams and is available for $199 per month (billed annually); Growth addresses growing teams and is available for $499 per month; Turbo Growth is for businesses that are ready to scale and comes at $2,250 per month; Enterprise offers advanced solutions to agencies and larger corporations at custom package prices.
SurveyMonkey lets you create advanced surveys to target your users and turn raw analytics data into actionable insights you can use to improve your product. The tool’s inbuilt survey quality metric can even predict how well your survey will perform to help you build the right survey for the best results possible. Instant reports and data exports let you analyze and categorize the incoming information based on your needs.
SurveyMonkey offers a free Basic plan up to 100 surveys per month of 10 questions each. The Select plan offers 1,000 surveys per month of unlimited questions each for $35 a month, while the Gold Plan offers unlimited surveys for $400 per year. For more complicated surveys utilizing advanced logic, the Platinum plan offers unlimited surveys for $900 per year.
YesInsights helps you better understand your users’ expectations, needs, and objections so you can improve your product to better serve them based on behavior. Target specific users on your website and ask them your one most-pressing question to get insights into what they’re thinking while using your product.
YesInsights offers various tiered plans starting with Personal for 1,000 survey responses at $20 per month, moving to Startup for 5,000 responses per month at $79, and Growth for 25,000 responses at $149. Enterprise quotes are available at custom prices.
26) Feedback Lite
With Feedback Lite you can build and publish user feedback widgets on your website. The tools come with a broad selection of widgets and forms to choose from and customize based on your particular needs. Detailed response metrics for each feedback response submitted let you analyze your reports and drill down to the most essential insights that will help you implement change in your product.
You can sign up for Feedback Lite’s free plan for up to 30 monthly survey responses. The Starter plan give you 2,000 responses for $29 per month, the Plus plan includes 4,000 responses for $49 per month, and the Premium plan give you 6,000 responses for $69 per month.
27) User Interviews
User Interviews helps you make better product decisions by getting feedback from real users. The tool pre-screens each candidate to verify that they’re real members of your target audience, and lets you choose from pre-set demographic filters like age, gender, income, and geographic location. Automatic scheduling lets users pick up the available times you preset for interviews, and studies can be conducted both in-person and online.
User Interviews’ pricing starts at $20 per recruited participant in the Basic package, at $30 per recruited participant in the Premium package that includes advanced screener flow options, and at $40 per recruited participant in the Custom package that offers demographic quotas and hands-on support.
Design evaluation and iteration tools
Your product’s functionality isn’t the only thing affecting user experience. The design of your product plays as much a role in UX as its underlying structure. If your design doesn’t draw users into the next step, the functionality of your product will remain unused and undiscovered. The following tools will help ensure you have a compelling design that moves users to the next step of the process.
UsabilityHub offers a broad spectrum of tools that can help teams settle design debates through user feedback. Click tests can show you where users click the most, while preference tests let you know which design variations appeal most to users. The five-second test allows you to optimize design based on first impressions, while fast design surveys can give your team invaluable user feedback.
Single users can use the tool for free with the UsabilityHub branding or opt for the Basic or Pro subscriptions ($79 and $99 per month respectively) for unbranded and custom branded designs. Design teams can get a four-member license with custom branding for $396 per month.
29) Optimal Workshop
Optimal Workshop offers design teams a unique suite of usability tools to help them build meaningful user experiences. You can test your website’s information architecture and design with Tree Testing, discover usability kinks on your wireframes and prototypes with First-Click Testing, and get a deeper understanding of your users and segments with surveys and qualitative research questions.
The Free Plan lets you try out the tool on small projects without cost, while The Suite comes at $166 per month.
30) Concept inbox
Concept inbox gives design teams an easy way to get visual feedback on images and videos with in-content annotations. It also provides an easy way to create web and mobile app prototypes for direct UX testing from the early stages of your project.
Concept inbox pricing offers a free plan for one project, a Starter plan for up to 3 projects at $14 per month, and an Unlimited project plan for $25 per month. Small teams of up to four team members can iterate on 10 projects a month for $49, while bigger teams can have up to 10 team members collaborate on unlimited projects for $99 a month.
Capian lets UX researchers get expert usability reviews easily and quickly via a Chrome extension that lets users take screen captures, annotate images, and share them all from the same place. The tool also includes criteria sets, such as Nielsen’s heuristics, Shneiderman’s golden rules, and Bastien & Scapin’s criteria for diagnosing issues and giving insightful statistics on the issues at hand.
The Capian Premium plan comes at $39 per month (billed annually) for single users, while custom Enterprise plans can accommodate larger teams that need access to internal collaboration features on the platform.
32) Feng Gui
UX researchers interested in computerized tests and instant feedback should give Feng-GUI a whirl. The tool provides a visual analysis of designs simulating human vision, and produces review reports with graphic representations of your design’s strengths and weaknesses. The results can help you refine the layout, placement, and format of key design elements to increase the engagement and conversion of your users.
Feng-GUI’s offers plans that start at $25 per month for a Basic account that gives you 25 analyses. The Professional account comes at $50 for three months and includes 50 analyses, while the Business account costs at $100 for one year and includes 100 analyses.
Wireframe and prototype testing tools
You don’t have to wait to have your first product fully designed and ready for the market to start your UX research. The following UX research tools let you start testing with just a wireframe or prototype to get user feedback early, and detect possible issues before you sink valuable resources into building something that users won’t use.
UXPin is a full-stack design platform that lets you design, share, and test your prototypes with potential users and consolidate incoming feedback in one place. The tool also lets you easily create and review design iterations and auto-generate specs for developers.
UXPin plans can accommodate small teams on the Prototype plan with up to three users for $29 per user per month. Larger teams can opt for the Systems plan for a maximum of 10 users for $49 per user per month, while those interested in larger-scale solutions can call for custom Enterprise quotes.
Balsamiq Mockups is like sketching on a whiteboard using a computer. The tool lets you create quick wireframes for your digital products to test your ideas and get feedback on content and interaction for early iterations. That means you have more time for developing code and can discuss important details later.
Balsamiq pricing starts with a one-time payment of $89 for a single-user license of the Mockup 3 desktop tool, while volume license packages are also available for teams of up to 220 users. Subscriptions to the myBalsamiq web app start at $12 per month (or $120 per year) for up to three active projects and advance incrementally to reach $199 per month (or $1,990 per year) for up to 100 active projects.
With Mockingbird, you can easily mock up an application to show users your initial idea, the information included, or the interaction that will be available in your product. The tool lets you link various mockups together so that users can click on the important sections and get a real sense of the UX flow and interaction pattern.
Mockingbird offers several tiers of monthly plans starting at $12 per month for three projects and going all the way up to unlimited projects for $85 per month.
Justinmind helps you define your user experience though interactive wireframes and prototypes that can be easily created through the tool’s web and mobile widgets. You can start your design from scratch, or use one of the available templates and pre-loaded UI kits and add smart behaviors and rich interactions. Once done, you can publish your wireframe online and get feedback from real users.
Professional subscription to the tool comes at $19 per user per month billed annually, with custom Enterprise quotes available for teams with advanced needs. Perpetual licenses are also available for $495 per user at the Professional level, and as custom pricing for the Enterprise edition.
Pidoco allows design teams to build fully interactive prototypes to simulate the exact flow and feel of their application. The tool lets you test-drive your prototypes on iOS and Android devices in real-time as well as web browsers without installing any code. You can also create layers and masters as reusable components to improve design consistency across your digital properties.
The Pidoco Starter plan goes for $12 per month (billed annually) for two active projects, the Standard plan for $25 per month for eight active projects, the Premium plan for $55 per month for 30 active projects, and the Platinum plan for $175 per month for 100 active projects.
MockFlow provides designers with a full UX research suite and easy wireframing options for quick improvements through meaningful iterations. The tool lets you create UI mockups for websites and apps, and visually plan your Information Architecture with SiteMaps and UI Flows. You can also annotate designs and create fully interactive pictures for showcasing your product’s full functionality.
MockFlow subscription is free for single users with one project, while freelancers and startups can start off with the Premium plan at $14 per month (billed annually). The Team Pack offers medium-sized teams and agencies collaborative features for $29 per month, and the Enterprise package gives larger organizations unlimited seats and projects for $160 per month.
Proto.io lets you create fully interactive, high-fidelity app prototypes without using code. The tool lets you validate your idea early by testing it on the real device and getting feedback on your app’s flow, interactions, and animations before you begin development. You can share your prototype with specific people or open it up to all users, so you can collect comments or video feedback from your intended audience.
Annual plans are available at $24 per month for Freelancers with up to five active projects, $40 per month for Startups with two users and 10 active projects, $80 per month for Agencies with five users and 50 active projects, and $160 per month for Corporate teams of 10 users and 30 active projects.
Gliffy is an online tool that runs on an HTML5 editor and lets you create and edit large diagrams without wasting time. The tool’s library of templates and pre-designed shapes lets you create wireframes and sitemaps through a simple drag-and-drop function. You can then easily share your diagrams with anyone online though a protected, view-only URL to gather feedback and improve your UX design before you go into development.
Gliffy offers various annual plans depending on needs: Professional comes at $7.99 per month for single users; Team starts as low as $4.99 per user per month; Enterprise plans are available at custom prices.
Wireframe.cc offers a clutter-free environment for sketching out your product ideas. It lets you focus on functionality without distractive design options that aren’t needed in the wireframing stage. The tool lets you choose from three design templates: a browser window, a tablet, and a mobile phone. Design annotations can be turned on and off so that users can view and evaluate your product with or without them as appropriate.
You can sign up for a free Wireframe.cc account for creating single-page wireframes shared publicly. For privacy options and multi-page wireframes, you can get the Premium version of the tool at three different tiers: Solo for $15 per month for a single user, Trio at $30 per month for three users, and Enterprise at $99 per month for unlimited users.
User onboarding and in-app messaging tools
One of the obstacles of doing UX research is that, oftentimes, users aren’t aware of the full scope of your product’s features that can dramatically improve their experience. Adding in-app annotations and user tutorials to your product can help you guide users towards a better user experience without building any additional costly features. The best UX research begins by ensuring that your users have a good grasp on the full extent of your product.
Appcues helps you build walkthroughs and in-app messages to guide users to success with your product in the long run. The codeless system of the platform helps you iterate on onboarding tutorials fast, so you can provide new users with the best experience possible from the minute they log into your product. Segmentation and personalization tools help you target the right users in the right way, while A/B testing helps you optimize experiences based on effectiveness.
Appcues plans come at $159 per month (paid annually) for the Starter package, which includes everything a startup needs to improve activation, $249 per month for the Standard package, with robust features for growth-focused teams, and $2,500 per month at the Enterprise tier.
WalkMe is a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) that helps you walk users through the most efficient and tailored route for them. Functioning as a code-free extension, WalkMe layers on top of existing websites, systems, and platforms to guide users, grab their attention, make suggestions, anticipate behavior, and ensure successful goal completion. In addition to raw data and insights to user behavior, artificial intelligence and machine learning help you identify patterns and suggest where the biggest impact can be made in your product.
WalkMe pricing starts with a Free plan for three walkthroughs with five steps each. From there, you can build your own Custom plan and get a quote based on your specific needs.
Tap into your vital user data with UX research tools
It doesn’t matter whether your product is still at the idea stage or if it’s already been on the market for a while now. Every day your product is alive is a day you need to get some vital UX data flowing into your system — or risk death by uselessness.
Every product is ultimately built to serve the needs of its users, and as such, only your users can tell you what your product needs to improve and become even more useful. There’s no need to play the guessing game, wasting valuable time and resources on iterations no one cares about. Pick the UX research tools from the list that best fit your product goals and go ask some real users that they think: their feedback will prove invaluable.