Chapter 10

A Comprehensive List of the Top 10 UX Research Tools

Building your UX research tool stack is an essential step in establishing an effective research practice. In this chapter, we are rounding up some essential tools that will help you conduct UX research and move the needle in your organization.

What tools do UX researchers use?

UX researchers have access to many different solutions to conduct user research and manage different stages of their workflow. For instance, there are tools for conducting usability testing, surveys, interviews, or more specialized tests, such as card sorting or tree testing.

Other common tools make it easier to document research, take notes, and transcribe interviews. Finally, UX researchers can use specific tools to recruit participants, capture remote or in-person sessions, and generate real-time reports to share with the rest of the team.

To give you a better sense of what tools are available for different types of research and stages of the process, we put together a list of tools that every UX researcher should know about.

The modern UX researcher essential tools

UX research tools do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to user research. From recruiting participants and planning the interviews to getting feedback, and sharing your findings, having a great tool stack is important for running a great research practice.

Selecting the right UX research toolkit depends on where you are in the research process, the research method you’ll be using, the size of your organization, and the type of product you’re researching. Ready to get hands-on with research? Here are some tools to consider.

Tools for usability testing

Maze

Maze is a rapid testing platform that turns your prototype into actionable insights from real users. Maze integrates directly with Adobe XD, Figma, InVision, Marvel, and Sketch, and allows you to import an existing prototype from the design tool you use.

With Maze, you can create and run in-depth usability tests, and share those tests with your testers with a link to get actionable insights in minutes. Its usability testing solution includes task analysis, multiple path analysis, heatmaps, A/B testing, guerrilla testing, and more.

Maze Discovery allows you to run surveys and collect user feedback early in the design process. Maze also enables you to test your information architecture with features such as Card Sorts and Tree Tests.

Maze's reporting functionality automatically records and documents completion rates, misclick rates, time spent, click heatmaps, and more. Maze also generates a usability test report instantly for each test, that you can share with anyone with a link. You can run one usability testing project with the free plan, and paid plans start at $25 per month.

Make informed design decisions with user research

Maze lets you validate ideas and concepts, test prototypes, usability, copy, or gather user insights through feedback and satisfaction surveys.

Loop11

Loop11 helps you conduct moderated and unmoderated usability testing on live websites, prototypes, and competitors’ websites, among others. With Loop11, you can start testing at the wireframing and prototyping stage to ensure your designs are headed in the right direction.

Beyond usability testing, Loop11 can help user researchers conduct competitive benchmarking, A/B testing, and IA testing. All their plans include a 14-day free trial, and their starting price is $63 per month which includes three tests.

Userlytics

Userlytics is a user testing platform that helps you conduct research at scale by testing digital assets like websites, applications, mobile apps, prototypes, etc. You can collect both qualitative and quantitative data and set up advanced metrics and graphical reports.

With Userlytics, you can run any combination of moderated or unmoderated user experience studies, usability tests, card sorting, and tree testing using a diversity of features. The pricing starts at $49 per participant for the Quick & Easy tier.

Tools for user interviews

Lookback

Lookback is a comprehensive UX research tool that offers you the ability to do live user interviews contextualized through a live recording of the user’s screen. Lookback helps you conduct moderated, unmoderated, and remote research and includes a collaborative dashboard that lets you sync all your research and customer feedback and share it with your team.

Lookback sessions are recorded automatically, so you can rewatch them at your convenience and create highlight clips to share with colleagues and stakeholders. Among other things, the team plan allows you to do remote or in-person research, test with prototypes, invite observers to see in real-time, and is priced at $99 per month.

Userzoom

Userzoom is a UX research platform for remote usability testing and includes features such as participant recruiting, heatmap and analytics recording, etc. You can use it to collect quantitative or qualitative feedback and create A/B tests with mock-ups to get feedback from users before product development.

With Userzoom, you can run unmoderated task-based studies with test participants from all around the world on a website, prototype, wireframe, or mock-up.

dscout

dscout is a remote qualitative research platform that helps you collect in-context insights from the people who use your products. One component of the platform is dscout Live, which lets you run remote user interviews and collect feedback from participants. You can also use dscout Diary to see people’s everyday product experience as it happens either on video or in photos. And with dscout Recruit, you can recruit research participants without the hassle and cost associated with traditional recruiting.

dscout is also helpful because it streamlines the most time-consuming parts of interviews with research-centric features such as participant scheduling, automatic transcriptions, on-call observers, and an interactive timeline for taking notes and clips.

Tools for recruiting participants

User Interviews

User Interviews is a well-known platform that helps you make better product decisions with seamless access to quality participants. The platform is known for allowing you to build your own pool of participants or access their panel of over 350,000 vetted research participants who can be filtered by profession.

User Interviews offers features like screener surveys, scheduling interviews, and participation tracking for your existing users. The median turnaround time is 2 hours, though it can vary based on the project. If you choose to use their audience, the pricing starts at $40 per session for the Pay As You Go plan, and there is also an Essential tier for $250 per month, which includes 15 sessions.

Ethnio

Another tool for selecting participants is Ethnio, which enables you to create screeners for intercepting people on your website or app so that you can find the right participants for user research. Ethnio provides various filters for screeners and automated scheduling options that help streamline the process of getting in touch with users.

Within the platform, Ethnio also includes a tool called Research Incentives, a calculator that helps you reward your participants by instantly paying them using different online services. Pricing starts at $79 for five screeners, and they also offer a Big and Pro plan for unlimited screeners.

Notable mentions: specialized testing tools

Optimal Workshop

Optimal Workshop offers a suite of testing tools to help you conduct information architecture (IA) tests. For card sorting, you can use their OptimalSort tool to understand how people think your content should be organized and categorized.

Another component of Optimal Work is Treejack, which helps you conduct unmoderated tree tests to identify if users are currently getting lost on your site and where they expect to find key information. Pricing starts at $99 per month per user for the starter plan. There are also team plans available to support your company’s needs.

UsabilityHub

UsabilityHub is a remote research platform that offers a range of testing tools, including first click testing, design surveys, preference tests, and five-second tests. These tests enable you to collect data and validate design decisions.

With UsabilityHub’s Panel, researchers can recruit test users from a pool of participants based on criteria such as age, gender, education, and more to get feedback from a relevant target audience.

Usability Hub’s plans start at $79 per month for solo researchers and basic plans. For teams and frequent research, plans start at $199 per user every month.

Other research tools

From analytics tools to note-taking, the research tool market is quite comprehensive, so here are a few more tools that can help you maximize research within your organization.

  • For surveys: SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Usabilla
  • For analytics and heatmaps: Hotjar, Google Analytics, Kissmetrics
  • For documenting research: Dovetail, Notion, Google Docs, Evernote
  • For transcriptions: Otter.ai, Rev, Reduct
  • For remote user testing: Zoom, Google Meet/Hangouts
UX Research Tool Pricing Features
Maze From $25 per month Integrations with leading design platforms, remote testing, surveys, IA testing, real-time reports, collaboration features, pre-built templates
Loop11 From $63 per month Online usability testing, prototype testing, benchmarking, A/B testing, IA testing
Userlytics From $49 per month Usability testing, user experience studies, prototype testing, live conversations, card sorting, tree testing
Lookback From $99 per month Remote user research in real-time, moderated and unmoderated testing, collaborative dashboard, live note-taking
Userzoom Available upon request Usability testing, interviews, surveys, intercept testing, click testing, tree testing, card sorting, participant recruiting
dscout Available upon request Unmoderated research, remote user interviews, participant recruiting, automatic transcriptions, on-call observers, interactive timeline for taking notes
User Interviews From $40 per session or $250 per month Participant recruitment, screener surveys, scheduling interviews, messaging participants, automatic incentives, participation tracking
Ethnio From $79 per month Participant recruitment, central participant database, incentives, screeners, intercepts, scheduling options
Optimal Workshop From $99 per month Card sorting, tree testing, first-click testing, IA testing, online surveys, qualitative research, participant recruitment
UsabilityHub From $79 per month Remote user testing, first-click testing, design surveys, preference tests, five-second tests, participant recruitment

Frequently asked questions about UX research tools

What tools do UX researchers use?

Some common tools that UX researchers use include tools for usability testing, user interviews, surveys, card sorting, tree testing, and first-click testing. A UX research tool stack may also include solutions for recruiting participants, documenting research, and transcribing interviews. Other examples are analytics and heat-mapping tools and remote user testing tools.

What is user experience (UX) design?

User experience design is the process designers use to build products that provide great experiences to their users. UX design refers to feelings and emotions users experience when interacting with a product. It focuses on the user flow and how easy it is for the user to accomplish their desired goals.