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The 22 best UX tools to improve the user experience (and how to use them)

PX insights and behavior analytics

Last updated

2 Feb 2022

By now, you know how the basics and best practices of UX design can help you relate your website, app, or product to your users. This leads to a new question: how do you implement them?

There’s a variety of UX tools that will help you get the job done. The trick is finding the right ones and learning how to use them in the context of a user-centric UX design strategy to achieve the best results.

UX tools help reconcile your vision of your product’s user experience with how your users actually use it. Finding the right UX tools can support product-oriented teams across the entire development process—from the ideation phase, through prototyping and design, up to the testing and iterating stage.

If you’re looking for an example of how to use UX tools for digital product design, you’ve come to the right place. This page of our UX hub will list the best tools to help you solve the problems you and your users face, and tell you how to use each one (or a combination of them) to deliver an outstanding user experience.

Let’s dive in!

What are UX tools?

UX tools are the digital tools that UX and product designers use at different stages of their work to create usable websites, apps, and products.

UX tools will help you with various tasks at various stages in the product development process, from research and user testing, to wireframing and prototyping, and even managing design activities. They'll also help you structure information architecture, product experience, and user flow.

3 types of UX tools to create a better user experience

Learning how users behave on your site, use your app, and interact with your product is one of the best ways to improve their experience.

Since Lean User Experience (UX) Design is user-centered and relies on a collaborative approach and rapid experimentation and prototyping to get user feedback, it’s a great way of structuring and combining your UX tools into a holistic approach towards a better user experience.

Here are three types of UX tools according to each Lean UX design phase:

  1. THINK phase: user research tools

  2. MAKE phase: design tools

  3. CHECK phase: user testing tools

THINK phase: user research tools

Knowing your audience is the first phase in UX design and helps you develop experiences that reflect the voice and fit the needs of your users. To learn about your audience, you'll need user research tools and a few other UX resources.

Observing customers and collecting feedback is incredibly powerful: based on UX research, you can develop a problem statement or hypothesis, and identify areas you want (or need) to improve.

Some user research tools answer questions about why or how to fix a problem with qualitative insight. Others do a much better job of answering how many or how much questions using quantitative data.

Both types of user research tools— qualitative and quantitative —work together to help you identify UX issues and how to solve them. (More on this later.)

Here are four types of user research tools used by UX designers:

  • Interview tools give you detailed information about a user’s attitudes, desires, and experiences, straight from the users themselves.

  • Survey tools give you useful and reliable information about your user experience, at scale.

  • Persona creation tools show you what types of users are interested in your product and how you can address their concerns.

  • In-house testing tools help you find the difference between what people say versus what people do by putting your product through rounds of tests.

1. Interview tools

User Interviews

#An example of a user interviews dashboard
An example of a user interviews dashboard

What it is: User Interviews is a user research platform that helps UX and product teams recruit audiences for remote or in-person studies. The platform helps user-centric companies find participants for interviewing and testing so they can create better products for their users.

What it helps you do: find and interview the right users for your UX research. The platform handles everything from recruiting, screening, scheduling, and compensating for any type of research project, with automated features that help you save time and effort.

Price: free for Up to 100 contacts in your participant CRM or starts at $40/session for a personalized audience


What it is: Dovetail is cloud research software for notetaking, data repository, research analysis, and synthesis. They pride themselves on featuring a rich text collaborative editor, inline tagging, images and files, insights, and sentiment analysis.

What it helps you do: once you have your interview data, use Dovetail to collate and store user research notes, transcripts, images, videos, audio recordings, and more in a single repository. Then, scour through the data to discover patterns and easily tag, filter, and search for highlights.

Price: starts at $15/month, 7-day free trial available

2. Survey tools

Hotjar Feedback

#What the feedback widget looks like in real life
What the feedback widget looks like in real life

What it is: Hotjar Feedback gives you instant visual feedback from your website users. No need for guesswork—ask visitors exactly what they like, dislike, and need from your website.

What it helps you do: you can use the Hotjar Feedback widget to collect feedback from users at scale and in context. Users can:

  • rate their level of satisfaction

  • describe their experience using certain web pages and their elements (i.e. product images and descriptions, buttons, headlines, checkout page)

  • screenshot a specific page element

  • provide context and details

Use this tool before and after making changes on your website to see how users feel about them.

Price: from free for 35 sessions per day. Paid plans start at 100 sessions per day for $39/month. See full pricing here.

Improve UX with product experience insights from Hotjar

Use Hotjar to understand how real users are experiencing your website or app—then improve it for them!

Google Forms

#An example of a Google Forms survey
An example of a Google Forms survey

What it is: Google Forms is a web app included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.

What it helps you do: create a form to see if potential participants meet the criteria for your research study. Add targeted questions, such as name, role, observation, and time. When responses come in, you can send them automatically to a spreadsheet and easily filter key user journeys, pain points, and other important results.

Price: free

3. Persona creation tools

Google Analytics

#An example of a Google Analytics homepage
An example of a Google Analytics homepage

What it is: Google Analytics (GA) is a traffic analytics tool from Google that tracks and measures website traffic metrics like bounce and exit rates, goal conversions, sources of traffic, and user demographics.

What it helps you do: tools like GA are a great source for understanding user behavior within your product. After your qualitative research, use quantitative data collected from GA to create user (or buyer) personas.

User persona research can reveal users’ concerns and help you create a content strategy to address them. It can also show you the types of users who are interested in your services (age, location, medium they use, social network preferences).

Look at user data from GA to identify key patterns that drive conversions to understand your core audience. Collect data from primary dimensions like demographics and interests, and secondary dimensions like age and gender. You can also use GA for cohort analysis, which is all about breaking users down into groups (cohorts) and studying each group's behavior.

Then, combine the information from each report to create personas representing users’ demographics, location, behaviors, and interests.

Price: free

🔥 Pro tip: combine quantitative and qualitative data to get the full picture of your user experience. This will reveal more about what your users are experiencing and what your next steps should be.

Learn how to use Hotjar and Google Analytics together to make this happen.


#An example of a UXPressia buyer persona
An example of a UXPressia buyer persona

What it is: UXPressia is a Customer Journey Map (CJM) building tool that lets you easily see customer touchpoints and create customized journey maps.

What it helps you do: once you have your defined buyer personas, use UXPressia to create a visual overview of how customers interact with and experience your website, app, or product across multiple touchpoints.

This type of UX tool is useful for working on CJMs with colleagues to identify areas of opportunity. When you're done, you can export your customer experience maps as PDFs, PNGs, CSVs, and PowerPoint files.

Price: free for 1 user, then $16/month per user

4. In-house testing tools

FitNesse Tool

#FitNesse user acceptance testing framework
FitNesse user acceptance testing framework

What it is: FitNesse is an automated user acceptance testing tool for software.

What it helps you do: identify all possible issues or bugs through Alpha testing before releasing a product to the public. Once you enter input, FitNesse interprets the data and automatically creates tests, which are then executed by the system. This way, you can access fast user feedback—reducing failures and risks and increasing your product quality through customer validation.

Price: free


#Bugwolf user testing dashboard
Bugwolf user testing dashboard

What it is: Bugwolf is a web-based user testing software that engages testers to professionally audit quality for software, websites, and mobile apps.

What it helps you do: get a detailed picture of how real users feel about your product, website, or app through Beta testing. This type of testing takes place in a real-time environment with the feedback of real users. Beta testing can help you:

  • accelerate digital releases

  • lower customer support calls

  • reduce defect costs

Bugwolf works with various types of user tests, including performance, usability, content, SEO, security, black-box, cross-browser, software, load, and more. After testing, you'll get an overview of all bug reports, prioritized by severity, complete with video and audio commentary.

Price: on request

MAKE phase: design tools

User interface (UI) design tools deal with the visual part of UX design—they help designers brainstorm, schedule, and turn ideas into something real. During this phase, designers and developers try to build features to solve a problem or improve the website, app, or product.

Here are three main types of design tools UX designers use on a regular basis:

  • Flowcharting tools help predict users’ needs, thoughts, and actions based on findings during the research phase, and align these with business needs.

  • Wireframing tools are used to generate basic visualizations of potential solutions to problem statements.

  • Prototyping tools create more sophisticated visualizations of design solutions.

1. Flowcharting tools


#An example of a Lucidchart flowchart
An example of a Lucidchart flowchart

What it isLucidchart is a flowchart and diagramming software with real-time collaboration and drag-and-drop functionality.

What it helps you do: visualize the user journey and experiment with different design ideas.

Start by making low-fidelity mockups. If elements of your user journey match existing UI design components of your product, drag-and-drop screenshots of your product to your design instead of replicating the components from scratch. Since Lucidchart is cloud-based, you can easily share your design sketches with Project Managers or other stakeholders early on in the process.

You can connect Lucidchart to apps like Salesforce, Microsoft Office, Jira, Confluence, and GitHub to import stored data and create live diagrams that update in real time. Lucidchart works across all devices, supports Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, and works offline, which means it can run faster.

Price: free for 3 editable documents, then starting at $7.95 for unlimited ones.


#An example of an OmniGraffle flowchart
An example of an OmniGraffle flowchart

What it is: OmniGraffle is a native diagramming app for Apple's OSX and iOS users. It's a flexible tool with a focus on creating software and website mockups.

What it helps you do: the ideal flowcharting solution for the UX designer that feels most at home on Apple devices.

Use OmniGraffle's diagramming and flowchart capabilities to start mapping user journeys through your product. The interface is laid out just how Mac and iPad users expect, which is something web applications can’t deliver. Being native means OmniGraffle also works offline.

Price: $12.49/month for a subscription or $149.99 for a traditional license, 14-day free trial available

2. Wireframing tools


#An example of a Balsamiq wireframe
An example of a Balsamiq wireframe

What it is: Balsamiq is a low-fidelity wireframing tool that can be used to quickly create an informal visual representation of any kind of software interface.

What it helps you do: create lightning-speed wireframes with built-in UI design elements.

Balsamiq uses a non-pixel-perfect visual aesthetic to encourage brainstorming and is optimized for communicating design concepts and generating ideas in the early stages of the software process. It intentionally has "just enough" prototyping capabilities, but not more.

It's easy to use, and anyone can work with it, including UX design beginners.

Price: from $9/month per user for 2 projects, 30-day free trial available


#Marvel wireframe dashboard
Marvel wireframe dashboard

What it is: Marvel is a web-based wireframing tool with support for interactivity and animations.

What it helps you do: Marvel shines as a rapid wireframing tool. Use it in the early stages of the design process, when you’re forming your concept into something tangible and want to translate it to your team, clients, or stakeholders. Create wireframes within minutes on any device.

You can create screens directly in Marvel or add images from Sketch or Photoshop and sync designs from your cloud storage. There's also a Sketch plugin, which is great if you use it for app design work and want to take advantage of some of Marvel’s features, like the range of gestures and image layering.

Price: free for one user with 1 project, otherwise plans start at $16 per month.

3. Prototyping tools


#What prototyping looks like in Figma
What prototyping looks like in Figma

What it is: Figma is a collaborative design and prototyping tool. It features a clean interface that allows for the insertion of elements, animations, and code, to create high-fidelity prototypes.

What it helps you do: Figma helps you build dynamic prototypes of your product, test it for usability, and sync up your progress.

Figma's multi-user real-time collaboration features let you view and work on your project as a team (we're big fans of Figma, ourselves!). Much like Google Docs, you’ll see who’s working and what they’re doing, and you can leave comments. Everything is synced, so if one team member changes something, it affects the whole project without publishing changes.

Another pro: since CSS is already there, you don’t have to use a separate handoff tool.

Price: free for 3 projects, 2 editors, and 30-day versioning, then $15/month per editor, unlimited projects and version history


#An example of an InVision prototype dashboard
An example of an InVision prototype dashboard

Sketch, InVision Studio, or as standalone files. Pairing the InVision app with InVision Studio gives designers access to a self-contained ecosystem.

What it helps you do: quickly and easily create interactive prototypes of your designs in a way that reflects a real web experience.

InVision is a great prototyping tool if you're just getting started in UX design. Tools like Figma have a larger feature set, but if you don't need it (or are already using other design tools and aren't looking to change your entire workflow), InVision is an amazing tool, especially for beginners.

It all boils down to convenience: with InVision, there's a faster learning curve, but keep in mind that you'll have to switch from various tools and import/export the files and libraries you want to work on.

Price: free for up to 10 active users and up to 3 documents, then $9.95/month per user

CHECK phase: user testing tools

Now that you’ve created an awesome prototype, there’s one more step before you hand off your project to developers: testing.

The testing phase is when product teams test the new feature, website, app, or product using UX tools to figure out whether their hypothesis was correct, see how users respond, and refine their approach accordingly.

User testing tools are a great way to validate your hypotheses and determine if the changes you made are working. Once you’ve got that result, you can implement changes with confidence.

Before you spend too much time coming up with new designs, try these four types of user testing UX tools to validate your first ones:

  • A/B testing tools help you find the variation of your website, app, or product that performs or converts the best.

  • Heatmap tools let you identify opportunities to build and fix your product to provide a better user experience.

  • Survey tools give you direct, valuable feedback from your userswhat your customers are really feeling and thinking about your business or product, in their own words.

  • Session recording tools help you visualize how individual users experience and interact with your website.

1. A/B testing tools

Google Optimize

What it is: Google Optimize is a free website experiment platform that lets you run A/B tests with different ways of delivering your content.

What it helps you do: create altered versions of your web pages to test different content options against each other.

Google Optimize natively integrates with Google Analytics and lets you run A/B tests, multivariate tests (MVT), and redirect tests. Here's how that works:

  • First, use Google Analytics to identify website pages that need improvement (i.e. pages with high bounce rates or low conversion rates).

  • Then, use Google Optimize's Editor feature to make changes and see if they make a difference to the metric you’re analyzing.

  • Finally, analyze your test results and use Google Optimize to launch the variation that gives your visitors and customers a better user experience.

Price: free

🔥 Pro tip: use Hotjar and Google Optimize together to see how customers really feel about your test variants.

Filter Session Recordings by Optimize experiment IDs to watch individual users as they move their mouse, scroll, click, and browse each test page.


#Omniconvert A/B testing dashboard
Omniconvert A/B testing dashboard

What it is: Omniconvert is a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tool for ecommerce websites. Their Explore package features A/B tests, advanced segmentation, exit-intent overlays, and API access.

What it helps you do: highlight specific user behavior and make improvements to cater to your users’ needs.

Use Omniconvert's split testing feature to learn how your visitors interact with your website. Your tests can include design, calls to action (CTA), and text for mobile, desktop, and tablet. You can base testing segments on traffic source, geolocation, behavior, UTM parameters, and custom parameters like customer lifetime value (LTV).

Price: starting at $320 per month, 30-day free trial available

🔥 Pro tip: connect your Omniconvert experiments to your Hotjar account to see what's really going on with your users.

To do this, just filter your Recordings and Heatmaps by Omniconvert experiment ID.

2. Heatmap tools

Hotjar Heatmaps

#An example of a hotjar scroll map (left) and move map (right)
An example of a hotjar scroll map (left) and move map (right)

What it is: Hotjar Heatmaps are a graphical representation of data, where values are depicted by color to show you what users, in aggregate, do on your website. The tool displays a range of colors from red (most popular) to blue (least popular) over different elements of your web pages.

What it helps you do: understand what users do on your website—where they click, how far they scroll, what they look at or ignore.

Heatmaps help you identify opportunities to improve most of your page elements: copy, layout, CTA placement, messaging, and design. Each type of heatmap helps you investigate a slightly different aspect of your website performance:

  • Scroll heatmaps show you the percentage of people who scroll down to any point on the page. Do users see your CTA or unique selling proposition (USP)?

  • Click/touch heatmaps show you where and how frequently users click their mouse on desktop devices or tap their finger on mobile devices. Are they clicking on a non-clickable element or overlooking the buttons you want them to click?

  • Move heatmaps show you where desktop users move their mouse as they navigate a page. Is there a lot of movement on relevant sections of the page?

Price: from free for 2,000 pageviews per day. Paid plans are measured by sessions and start at 100 full user sessions per day for $39 per month. See full pricing here.

Lucky Orange

#A lucky orange heatmap report
A lucky orange heatmap report

What it is: Lucky Orange is a conversion rate optimization tool that offers the ability to track live visitors through heatmap insights and analytics.

What it helps you do: watch your users while they browse your site, toggle menus, open popups, or fill out a form in real-time.

With Lucky Orange, you can view live screen recordings, meaning you can offer support on a case-by-case basis. Their heatmaps tool allows you to segment metrics, device types, and timeframes to learn how users browse and interact with your website.

Since you can only access Lucky Orange heatmap data for 30 days, you won't be able to spot patterns over a long period, but you can quickly identify bugs and find out where support is needed most.

Price: from $10 per month, 7-day free trial available

Note: read our full Hotjar vs. Lucky Orange comparison to learn which tool will suit your needs.

3. Survey tools

Hotjar Surveys

Hotjar surveys setup

What it is: Hotjar Surveys give you direct, valuable feedback from your website users by asking questions and getting answers directly from them.

What it helps you do: take the guesswork out of user experience by finding out exactly what users need or think, in their own words.

Use Hotjar Surveys for UX analysis to discover pain points that traditional analytics tools can’t identify . You can launch a survey on a specific webpage or after a user takes a specific action, limiting surveys to specific user segments.

You can also figure out key customer success metrics using Net Promoter Score® (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys.

Ask questions that will give you actionable insights: consider both open-ended questions (which can be answered in detail) and closed-ended questions (which offer a limited number of options, like yes/no or multiple-choice).

If you need additional inspiration, here are over 70 survey question examples to ask your users.

Price: from free for 2,000 pageviews per day. Paid plans are measured by sessions and start at 100 full user sessions per day for $39 per month. See full pricing here.

🔥 Pro tip: ask a variety of survey questions that will give you actionable insights.

Here are a few examples of questions to try:

  • What other information would you like to see on this page?

  • Were you able to find the information you were looking for?

  • Is our pricing clear? If not, what would you change?

  • What's the next feature or functionality we should build?

Online UX surveys are one of the best ways to get direct user feedback. Here’s how product teams can reach their goals by asking the right questions.


#Refiner survey report
Refiner survey report

What it is: Refiner is a user feedback & customer survey tool designed for data-driven SaaS, ecommerce, and Membership sites.

What it helps you do: take a better look on a case-by-case basis, using post-signup surveys.

Refiner has a strong focus on SaaS companies, so it can easily integrate into customer success efforts. Use Refiner to survey users on a variety of use-cases, like market research, user profiling, product and UX research, and NPS, CSAT, and CES surveys.

While Hotjar surveys anonymous website traffic, you can use Refiner to survey specific users, tie their response data to a user profile, and then follow up with individual users and segment your customers. Features include alerting your team, enriching CRM profiles, triggering personalized campaigns, or updating your backend API with webhooks.

Price: from $39 /month, 7-day free trial available

🔥  Hotjar takes privacy seriously: our software suppresses information like credit card and phone numbers by default, and you can block (or allow) other specific fields or elements as needed.

Learn more about Hotjar's approach to privacy.

4. Session recording tools

Hotjar Session Recordings

#Example of a Hotjar session recording
Example of a Hotjar session recording

What it is: Hotjar Session Recordings show you how individual users navigate your website and give you the insight you need to improve the user experience and increase conversions.

What it helps you do: understand and identify roadblocks in your user experience. These can include anything from a broken link to an unclear CTA to an element that looks clickable, but isn’t.

Use Hotjar Session Recordings to truly understand how users interact with your website—then use that knowledge to fix issues, optimize UX, create customer delight, and ultimately increase conversion rate.

Putting yourself in your users’ shoes allows you to empathize with them and experience what they’re going through as they browse your website, so you can build a more enjoyable and efficient experience.

Plus, once you identify and implement changes to improve the user experience, recordings give you visual, qualitative proof of the positive impact your changes make.

Price: from free for 2,000 pageviews per day. Paid plans are measured by sessions and start at 100 full user sessions per day for $39 per month. See full pricing here.

💡 Keep in mind: analyzing session recordings helps you remove blockers, fix UX issues, and improve your website for an enhanced user experience—and a higher conversion rate.

Use session recordings to answer questions like:

  • Where do users focus? What do they spend time on, and what do they ignore?

  • What causes users to get confused or stuck?

  • What drives them to leave your website? What do they do in the moments before they abandon a product or checkout page?


What it is: Loop11 is an online tool that offers usability testing for websites, wireframes, prototyping, and accessibility.

What it helps you do: record video and audio of your users to see and hear their exact experience with your product.

Loop11 focuses on usability testing, and you can use it on websites, wireframes, and prototypes early in the development phase. It also integrates with prototyping tools like Axure, JustInMind, and InVision.

You can use Loop11’s panel of verified UX participants, or bring your own. This is great for businesses who want to survey current customers and have niche demographics available.

Price: from $79 for 3 tests per month, 14-day free trial available

Improve UX with product experience insights from Hotjar

Use Hotjar to understand how real users are experiencing your website or app—then improve it for them!

A 3-step roadmap to a user-centric UX design strategy built around driving better user experiences

UX tools are key to any successful user-centric design workflow.

Some UX tools give you qualitative insight into how users experience your website, app, or product, including methods like interviews and observation, which are key to uncovering the why behind user actions and developing a deep understanding of a topic or problem.

Other UX tools give you quantitative data around traffic and demographic metrics like task success rates, time on task, completion rates, clicks, and goal conversion rates. This data can answer questions about where, when, how many, how often, and how much.

But to truly nail UX, you have to go beyond numbers and data and explore emotional user connection.

Traditional analytics tools like Google Analytics (GA) show a statistical reality based on data: how much traffic your website gets, where it comes from, and which channels convert best. Behavior analytics and product experience insight tools like Hotjar are perfect for seeing exactly how users emotionally and intuitively react to your website.

To understand what your users want and need, you need to combine qualitative data (from tools like Hotjar) with quantitative data (from tools like GA).

By combining tools based on your goals, you can get even deeper, more actionable insights and a fuller picture of the user experience. For example, monitoring heatmaps of A/B test page variations will show you what’s making one page more successful than the other, and on-page feedback can help you understand any unusual behavior you uncover with recordings.

As you use these tools, keep the big picture in mind: you’re building and implementing a holistic UX design strategy that works for your website, app, or product—and your audience. Think of more than just improving numbers; instead, help your users achieve their goals so you can achieve yours.

Here’s how to use your UX toolkit to make changes that improve user experience, increase conversions, and lead to more meaningful engagements with your customers.

Step 1: THINK

Gather feedback from users

What you want to learn: how users actually experience and interact with your website, app, or product, instead of playing a user behavior guessing game.

Tools that can help: Hotjar Feedback, User Interviews, and Google Forms

Define the actual problem

What you want to learn: understand and identify roadblocks in your user experience—what users focus on (or ignore), what causes them to get confused, stuck, or even leave your website, app, or product.

Tools that can help: Hotjar Session Recordings, Dovetail

Categorize projects according to goals

What you want to learn: the types of improvements you need to make to improve the user experience according to your goals (leads, sales, revenue, customer satisfaction) and your user’s goals (why people come to you).

Tools that can help: FitNesse, LucidChart

Step 2: MAKE

Generate ideas

What you want to learn: how to solve user pain points and take action on individual user experiences at scale.

Tools that can help: UXPressia, LucidChart

Turn ideas into actual problem-solving solutions

What you want to learn: what new features or improvements you can implement to solve pain points and improve user experience.

Tools that can help: Marvel, Balsamiq, Figma, and InVision

Step 3: CHECK

Run user testing to drive more informed insights across the board

What you want to learn: if a particular design change will be effective before you implement it and which version is consistent with the goals you’ve set.

Tools that can help: Google Optimize, Omniconvert

Diagnose, then iterate and improve the user experience

What you want to learn: how real users feel about your new design. If users respond well to a new feature, it becomes part of the new design. If it doesn’t improve the user experience, return to the Think phase and try something new.

Tools that can help: Hotjar Heatmaps, Hotjar Session Recordings, and Loop11

Create value by proactively driving more conversions and revenue

What you want to learn: evaluate the entire user experience people have while interacting with your website, app, or product and make sure they find value, satisfaction, and delight.

Tools that can help: Hotjar Feedback, User Interviews

UX tools FAQs

Improve UX with product experience insights from Hotjar

Use Hotjar to understand how real users are experiencing your website or app—then improve it for them!