The foundation of any UX design project is the user research stage. User research provides us with the qualitative and quantitative data we need to begin building the product.

But how does a UX researcher find out how a target customer interacts with a product or how a target customer feels about a products’ usability?

From interviews, to surveys to user testing, a UX researcher must use a variety of methods to analyze a consumers’ behavior.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of tools out there that can help. Determining which ones are going to actually be useful can take a lot of research itself.

Happy Scribe can help.

In fact, we’ve already done the research for you. We’ve both scoured the web and reached out to our service designer friend Raúl Chávez from Unsettled to isolate the top-rated UX researcher tools.

Below are the results: our favorite tools that all UX researchers should use.

USER INTERVIEWS

Interviewing a user from your target demographic can help you discover potential client needs and issues with your product.

Lookback is a popular platform used by UX researchers. It allows you to conduct remote user research by communicating with participants in real time as they navigate through your product. You can ask questions, get candid responses, and observe your participants body language. Additionally you can set up in-person app tests and easily share the interviews with team members.

The main benefit of this platform is that it allows you to precisely understand what your user is thinking as they navigate your product.

SURVEYS

Online surveys involve asking your target audience a very precise set of questions. These are usually sent via the Internet in form format.

A popular UX Research tool for this stage of the product design is UserReport

The features include launching the survey within your website, a simple and intuitive format, option for product branding, and elegant reports.

WIREFRAMING

Wireframes can range from a low tech pencil sketch to a fully annotated diagram.

They’re useful as a basis for prototyping and for testing user ideas early on. Think of them as an architectural floor plan for your website. Before you add all the branding elements and visual design, the wireframe sets out the hierarchy of items on the screen and helps identify which of these items should be on the page based on user needs.

Making sure the the web space functions well before adding all of the creative design makes wireframing an important part of a UX researchers function. By extension, choosing an easy and flexible wireframe tool is essential to getting the overall webpage right.

Axure is considered the industry standard tool because in addition to wireframing it also allows for prototyping capabilities (more on that later!)

However, our friend Raul swears by wireframe.cc In his own words,

‘It’s suuuuuper easy to use. It's functionality is superb. Simple, clean and useful.’

The super minimal interface is wireframe.cc's key selling point. It’s clutter free toolbar allows you to simply focus on your ideas and sketch.

Prototyping

Prototyping has historically been one of the later stages of the UX design process, the step after you finished a full set of wireframes. With new techniques, prototyping can now been seen at various stages of the UX research and design process.

As a quasi-realistic representation of what you are building, they still remain a useful tool for a number of reasons, no matter what stage of your product. At their core, they can be interacted with and tested on users to observe how users want to interact with your design, identify usability issues, and work out complex screen flows before going to code.

Like wireframes, prototypes range in complexity, from pencil sketches to fully coded HTML.

Again Axure ranks as one of the more commonly used prototyping applications available. It is basically a wireframe that offers different interactions applied to various user interface elements.

Our friend Raul prefers Invision He describes it as a super functional;

‘They take you by hand on how to make the tool useful and efficient.’

Whatever prototype tool you go for, just make sure it has the ability to test what you need to with a level of reality to give you accurate test results.

Best Overall Tool

Raul told us his favorite overall tool right now is Realtime Board

Real Time Board is extremely useful for the user research stage. You can create customer journeys, blue printing, business canvas, user personas and much more. It could even be used for wireframing as well.

The tool acts like a white canvas where you can develop any project using the right tool or template in an easy and collaborative way.

In Raul’s words,

‘Realtime Board has a really amazing usability.’

Conclusion

We have only touched on a few of the many UX researcher tools out there.

Do you have any other favorites? Let us know!