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Top UX/UI Design Tools for 2021

education tools Jul 29, 2021

 

With so many design tools currently in the market in 2021, it can be difficult to find the one that’s the perfect fit for you. 

The Guac has you covered. Let's dig into the insights of the top UX/UI design tools for 2021 to make sure that you find the guac to your mole when it comes to the tools you need to succeed.

UX Research Tools

1. Google Forms

Google forms are not as fancy and do not have as many features as some other research tools on this list, but it is still a useful free tool for UX research. You can build surveys, collect responses, and analyze your results.

2. Typeform

Typeform's free account allows you to make surveys and questionnaires easily. With the free plan, you get to create as many type forms as you want and share them anyway you want. You can include 10 questions per Typeform and collect 10 responses per month. You will also have access to basic reports and metrics so you can check your Typeform's performance.

3. Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey is a good option for conducting online surveys. The basic plan is free and allows you to create and send as many surveys as you want with up to 10 questions in each. You can only view 40 responses per survey. 

4. Video Call Tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype

Don’t underestimate the power of more traditional user research chats. Sometimes simply speaking face to face with a user can help you gain the best insights. Tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype can help you easily get that user interaction and feedback.

Tools like Otter.ai can transcribe meetings so you don’t have to worry about taking really good notes during your Zoom meeting. These transcriptions can come in handy later on in the design process.

 

Ideation Research Tools

5. Miro 

Miro is a fantastic tool for digital ideations. Miro is a collaborative online whiteboard tool that has a lot of useful templates and features that are especially helpful for UX design teams. Miro is ideal for ideation sessions, design sprints, journey mapping, data clustering, and rapid wireframing. You can even invite stakeholders to make comments directly to your board. It is an especially great tool for remote work because of its collaboration features that include digital sticky notes, live cursor tracking, and voting sessions. Your team is sure to be able to take their work and productivity to the next level!

6. FigJam

Many UX designers use Figma as a design tool, but Figma offers another tool that is great for UX designers. FigJam is an online whiteboard tool that allows teams to ideate and brainstorm. You can easily collaborate and build off of other team members’ ideas. Users can jam live with your team and there are a lot of fun and useful communication features such as emojis, stickers, or a cursor chat so you can share what you feel in the moment.

FigJam is also great for organizing research by theme or mapping the user journey. You can also create mood boards to highlight your vision.

Unlike Miro, FigJam is not used for design. It is only used for ideations and research, but you can still be connected to your designs. You can have Figjam and Figma live side by side so you can have everything you need in one place.

If you are already a fan of Figma for your design work, we recommend taking a look at FigJam for brainstorming and research.

7. Pen and Paper

In this digital age, it can be easy to get caught up in the latest tools that can make our lives easier, but sometimes tried and true methods are the way to go. Learning and playing around with design tools can take time and can hinder your creative process. Sketching your ideas with a pen and paper can help maintain your imaginative flow and is a good way to get the ideation process rolling.

You can always move into more advanced digital tools later, but sometimes it's just easier to get started the good old-fashioned way!

 

Prototyping/Wireframing Tools

8. Figma

Figma is a very popular UX Design tool and for good reason. Figma is easy to access because it is built for the browser so you don’t need to worry about installing anything or using plugins. It’s also a plus that Figma files are in sync and are a link so you don’t need to worry about sharing or losing work.

Figma is great for designing, brainstorming, wireframing, and prototyping. Figma has a lot of useful collaboration tools which makes it great for design teams. 

There are different tiers when it comes to pricing. The free plan has a lot to offer with unlimited files in drafts, and unlimited viewers and commenters. However, you only get one team project per month, so if you design on a team it might be best to upgrade to the pro.It’s definitely worth it to check out what the free plan has to offer and see if upgrading to the pro plan is worth it to you. 

If you are a student or an educator you can get Figma pro for free. You can apply here. This is a great option, since you will get all the features of a pro account for free! 

9.  Sketch

Sketch is another very useful tool for UX designers. Sketch is a vector-based tool, however it is also great for wireframing and prototyping. 

There are a couple of different pricing options. The standard plan for individuals or teams is $9 a month per user. With this plan, you will get a native Mac editor where you can collaborate on projects in real-time, design and prototype, and work offline. You will also have access to a web app that any user can use, not just Mac users. Designs can be viewed in any browser or shared by simply copying a link.

The Mac-only license is available for a one-time purchase of $99. You can use the app as long as you like. The one-time purchase includes a year of updates. If you would like to update the app after a year, you will need to renew your licenses. 

10. Adobe XD

Adobe XD is an all-in-one UX/UI design tool. Adobe XD is great for designing, prototyping, sharing, and collaborating on projects for websites, apps, and even voice. You can work together in real-time and quickly design prototypes and mockups. Adobe XD is available for PC or Mac. You can also download the app to your Android or iPhone.

You can download Adobe XD for $9.99 per month or get all creative cloud apps including XD, Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects.

11.  InVision

InVision is great for UX designers who want to use a separate tool for prototyping. InVision is an excellent tool for creating interactive prototypes. It is not an all-in-one tool like Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD. You have to import designs made in other programs, such as Sketch and you cannot change the designs within InVision. Nevertheless, InVision is a great prototyping tool for teams. InVision boasts a wide range of collaboration features such as digital whiteboards, annotations, and chat.

You can also use InVision for user testing. Once you upload your designs, you'll get a URL for a high fidelity prototype which you can then share with test participants and get feedback on your designs. 

InVison offers a free account, although it is rather limiting. You get up to three documents which include prototypes and boards, and you get unlimited freehands. The pro account is $7.95 per user per month. It can’t hurt to try out the free plan and see if a pro plan would be worth it. Besides, it is always a good idea to be familiar with popular UX/UI programs like InVision. You never know when it might come in handy. 

 

User Testing Tools

12. UserTesting

UserTesting is a great tool for UX singers. You can connect with your audience of users or target UserTesting’s network of test participants. You can engage with your users through self-guided video recordings. UserTesting also has some unique features such as chatting with users live as they interact with your designs. You can also make a highlight reel of important testing clips. You can bring these clips back to your team to share results. Through transcripts, metrics, and analysis, you can also get better insights into your products. 

13. Hotjar

Hotjar tracks user behavior through heatmaps and recordings of web-based interfaces. You can also get feedback from your user through questions and surveys. Hotjar can help UX designers see what your users are struggling with and empathize with them.

The free version of Hotjar boasts a lot of features that make it suitable for usability testing. You get up to 3 heatmaps, 300 recordings, and can create and store 3 surveys and feedback widgets. That being said, if you would be using this tool for multiple projects, it would be best to upgrade to the plus version in which you get automatic data capture, unlimited heatmaps, and surveys, plus up to 3,000 recordings per month.

Try out the free version so you can get a good feel for what Hotjar has to offer.

 

Choosing the Right Tool

It is important to note that your place of work will probably have a preferred tool that they use, but it is still important to stay up to date on the latest design tools so you can easily adapt. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “The best investment is in the tools of one’s trade.” Take your time becoming familiar and staying up to date on the latest tools. You won't regret it, and it will make you a better UX designer.

 

Ready to start a new career as a UX designer? Schedule a free mentoring session with a UX designer today

 

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