The UX design process has six stages, and while each stage is critical, the research stage can make or break a design. 

That’s why UX researchers focus on evaluating a user’s experience with a product and what can be changed to improve that product. They apply numerous different research methods and tools to test products, learn how users interact with products and understand how users can best achieve their goals with a product. 

To conduct this research, several tools are used that cover a wide range of objectives. Here’s our list of the top tools for conducting UX research with users and some of their pros and cons.

Our Top 5 UX Research Tools

UX research is a combination of market analysis and recent UX trends. UX research tools can be grouped by objective — recruiting and participant management, moderated testing, self-moderated testing, automated testing, research repositories and surveys.

Many of the UX research tools available offer multiple features that serve more than one objective. Let’s take a look at some of the best UX research tools currently available.

#1. Ethnio

This tool is used by leveraging your website or mobile apps to find users for research purposes. 

Pros: Offers easy set up with a sleek and user-friendly interface. Ethnio provides you with full customization, targeting for user types, integration of user and session information and helps cut recruiting costs.

Cons: For branching, it has inflexible logic and it doesn’t provide abandonment metrics. Also, it’s not always easy to add recruits found outside the system, and it can be challenging to navigate some of the settings. 

#2. Lookback

This UX research tool records the user’s voice and a video of their screen interaction, allowing UX teams to collect data and confirm usability. 

Pros: Observers can enter and exit the room without interrupting the session. Lookback also gives you the ability to create video snippets and draft notes in real-time. Also, it includes easy-to-facilitate features such as a live stream chat. 

Cons: There are some connectivity issues, it requires a Google Chrome plugin and there are  known usability issues on iOS.

#3. Loop 11

This enables users to run UX tests on any domain or website by recording the sessions and can be used on any device. 

Pros: It’s easy and intuitive to use and provides insights on key markers like speed or ease of use. Additionally, it records audio and video, while offering comprehensive testing frameworks with prototype testing, wireframe testing, user testing and A/B testing. 

Cons: A less friendly user interface, it doesn’t scale for all regions and a lack of features related to AI technology. 

#4. Userlytics

This is a user testing platform focused on running user experience tests on any digital asset. 

Pros: Userlytics offers a user-friendly mobile app and provides high-quality participants. It also provides you with visual data to review results and comprehensive options for reporting.

Cons: A drawback is that two users can’t work on a project at the same time and there’s no quality control for user interviews. Plus, there’s the limitation of not being able to send links to multiple groups’ user personas. 

#5. Usability Hub

This platform specializes in fast, unmoderated user tests, like first click or preference tests, and creating large surveys. 

Pros: With Usability Hub you can gather feedback quickly while easily collating and exporting results. It offers high-end visual design with the ability to use your pool of respondents or theirs.

Cons: Has a limited ability to sort data into groups and the pool of participants isn’t always broad enough. It has a finite amount of customization and test instructions for participants are sometimes inadequate.  

Honing Your UX Research Skills

For those working on building their UX design portfolio, being able to demonstrate how you’ve effectively executed on UX research will make you even more appealing to potential employers and secure a competitive UX designer salary.

Understanding the different UX research tools available and how each one can be valuable helps show employers you’re up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry. 

Are you interested in a career where you design impactful user experiences for products in today’s digital world?

The Udacity UX Design Nanodegree program gives you the skills you need to thrive in the innovative and fast-paced world of UX design. Learn design research fundamentals and how to go from concept to design while building a strong portfolio. 

Start Learning