User researchers need to be consistently resourceful.
The parade of tools that they have to maneuver in a single project’s work can be overwhelming. However, with the right stack of tools, the process can be exponentially more manageable.
With the infinite number of solutions available in the market, just focus on filling your stack with tools that work well with each other. Your choices should be determined by your individual approach and the type of your research.
Top 5 User Research Tools used by industry experts
When you operate your testing and UX research cycles remotely, you depend even more on the efficacy of your tools.
The scope of these tools cover a vast number of aspects including logistics, usability tests, recruitment of participants, recording remote sessions, and generating reports.
Your user research is not isolated during any one phase of the process. You can prepare a strategy that allows the process to naturally flow through the network of your stack of tools
Here we have curated a list of five tools that will help you automate the process of user research for maximum efficiency. You can choose a few or all of them to combine with your existing strategy or create a new user research strategy altogether.
This list will look at the comprehensive features and advantages to give you the information you need to make a decision.
Let’s dive right in!
Maze has an established brand image as one of the industry leading rapid testing and user research tools. The platform allows you to turn your prototype testing to real insights that offer actionable points of solutions. The platforms’ cross channel integration is perhaps its best asset in creating user research strategies meant to work in compatibility with other tools.
Collecting testing data in the early stages of the design process allows you to cut back troubleshooting efforts during post production. Not only design but information architecture can also be taken through successful testing on Maze.
The tool automatically records all steps of the process including mis-click rates, heat maps to document clicks and completion rates of the project. For every step of the process, the tool generates instant reports in shareable formats to allow for team introspection.
Here is a list of benefits that makes Maze such a favorite with User researchers.
- a) Automated reporting functionality for every test phase of the usability testing
- b) Tree tests and Card Sorts feature to test information architecture products
- c) Direct integration with Figma, Marvel Invision and Adobe XD for direct import of design prototypes to the Maze platform
Maze offers a free plan for three active project testing. You can also explore the Professional plan at $25 per month for 10 active projects. The Organization plan allows for unlimited projects and it is available at custom pricing.
2. Crazy Egg
If you are looking for a platform to pull together a multi-format testing strategy, Crazy Egg is the platform for you.
You can avail multiple analytics tools directly integrating with your website to run click heat maps, click reports, A/B testing, and scroll maps for a complete recording of every user session. You can collect these data formats as the foundational research on the functionality and design problems of the site.
The tool also provides a visual editor that can help you take immediate action on your live content according to the information you collect from the analysis mentioned above.
The approach of detailed feedback collection and immediate remedial actions to fix the problem sets Crazy Egg as the most efficient tool for live website testing
Here are some of the prominent advantages specific to this tool.
- a) Easy to integrate with your website platform in three steps
- b) 5 Visual Snapshot reports to document live user behavior
- c) Document live visitor navigation through the website
- d) A/B testing tool integrates with popular ecommerce platform to research new design elements for maximizing sales
Crazy Egg provides a 30-day free trial option regardless of your team size.
You can start a plan at $24 per month. The Standard plan is at $9 per month. The Plus plan is available at $99 per month. The Pro Plan is available at $249 per month and the Enterprise plan is available at custom pricing options according to your needs. All plans allow unlimited website testing.
Whether you want to test a live site or a prototype design, Userbrain has you covered. This platform offers a task-based testing format, which can drive continuous runs for your website or application. Simply submit the design or the live site URL and create a set of tasks to clarify the actions that your users need to take for the testing.
The application pulls live recordings with full screen captures of the design interface. You can see the patterns in which the users are navigating in real time. The platform also records audio so you can hear the users if they discuss their process as they continue with the testing.
This tool is an excellent option for continuous testing with a diverse audience pool even when your budget is limited.
Here are some major advantages of the Userbrain tool for UX research:
- a) Set up easy tasks approach for testing with custom strategy or tasks templates available on the site
- b) Assured quality of tests across a wide demographic range and number of devices
- c) Video recording of real testers interacting with your prototype or live product within few hours of setting up tests
Userbrain offers a pay as you go plan for $35 per tester. You can also subscribe for $230 per month and get up to 10 testers available for all project testing. For the $99 per month plan, you can invite your own pool of testers to set up your live tests.
Lookback has been up and running in the industry experts’ list of favorites for user research. The tool is specifically gaining momentum because it allows for incredible collaborative possibilities. You can conduct moderated and unmoderated testing for websites, applications and designs. The platform has built-in features for recording interviews, taking notes, and tagging team members during the live testing sessions.
The live recording does not just capture full screen but also documents the screen touch options. This means wherever your users are touching on the screen is also recorded for the metadata report from the tests.
Here are a few benefits of using this tool:
- a) Simple interface and real insights for a powerful research experience
- b) The platform can test live websites, applications, prototype designs and beta products for advanced usability features.
- c) Private video calling option for moderating user interviews
- d) Timestamp the notes, tag you team members or monitor though the virtual observation rooms
The Lookback tool calculates pricing based on the number of sessions per year. The Team plan is priced at $99 per month and it allows 100 sessions per year. The Insights Hub plan is available at $229 per month and allows 300 sessions per year. The Enterprise plan allows unlimited sessions and you can avail the custom quotes on request from the platform.
With UsabilityHub you can test to validate all your design decisions with elaborate testing meant to check user preferences thoroughly.
The research platform operates remotely and has a wide collection of testing tools to help you with the testing process.
UsabilityHub allows you to recruit your own test users from a selected participant pool based on specific criteria to target the tests towards exact audience profile. You can design user surveys, use click testing and preference tests to collect expansive data insights for your designs.
Here are the key advantages of this tool.
- a) Remote user testing platform for validating design decisions against real user insights
- b) First click tests to understand user preferences and navigation patterns
- c) Surveys for direct feedback on images or Audio Visual files
- d) Preference tests for up to six design choices
- e) Iconography, interaction workflow and easy to operate test interfaces for intuitive test experiences
For basic level testing and occasional research options, you can try the free plan. The tests at this level cannot be more than 2 minutes long.
The Basic plan is available at $79 per month and allows solo researchers to continue basic testing not more than 5 minutes long each. The Pro plan is for teams with more routine research requirements. The plan is priced at $199 per month. The bespoke pricing can be availed at request and it allows you to customize your package for your enterprise.
Conclusion On User Research Tools
Each of the platforms listed above has their own unique selling points that give them an advantage in the field. You might respond to a particular testing format better than the others on the list.
Preface your search for a user research tool by very clearly outlining what data you need to collect from these tools. Never assume one tool is probably better than the rest purely based on its price factor.
The kind of reports you want and the type of product or prototype that you need to test should determine the technology you pick for your cache of leading user research tools.