User Experience Design (hereinafter “UX Design”) is a process aimed at making a user interface usable and pleasing. In the case of e-commerce the goal could be, for example, to offer an experience of use of such quality to encourage purchases and build customer loyalty. Designing a UX can be challenging without the right tools, for this reason the market offers various solutions that Designers can exploit to create wireframes or prototypes, perform tests before and after the transition to the production phase, design sitemaps, control user flows, or carry out UX Research activities, in order to verify that a Design is adequate to users’ needs and expectations. The choice of the most suitable tool for a project depends on the task to be performed, for example a wireframe and a prototype are not equivalent and do not perform the same task. The first one is nothing more than the first representation of an interface with a limited number of details, while prototyping allows to concretize an abstraction by providing an example of what could be a working product, instead. To summarize what should be the evaluation criteria with which to select the best UX Design App, you can ask yourself these questions:
- What problems do I need to solve? Or rather, does this UX Tool have all the features I need?
- Is the application easy to use and offers an intuitive UI?
- Do the available functions allow us to obtain the expected result?
- Is it possible to share a project with collaborators?
- Can the application be integrated with other tools I use for my work?
- Is the expense justified by the features of the tool?
Let’s provide some answers by analyzing 5 options chosen from the most tried and tested solutions by professionals of this field.
Talebook is a UX Design App strongly oriented to UX Research which includes three work stages: discovery, analysis and prototyping. In the first, the actors involved in a project (stakeholder) and users are interviewed, and then move on to the analysis of the competition. While in the second, an evaluation is made based on the problem to be solved and the solutions to be adopted. Also, the needs and opinions of the different target users will be taken into account, and the issues concerning user flows are tackled, in order to devise paths aimed at maximizing the UX quality. Finally, in the last stage, simple paper prototypes, or more complex interactive drawings are designed in view of the creation of the final product. As far as costs are concerned, Talebook offers three formulas:
- Starter: $ 6 per month for 3 active projects at a time;
- Pro: $ 12 a month for 12 projects;
- Agency: $ 26 per month for an unlimited number of projects.
In all cases, there are no limits regarding the number of collaborators that can be involved, and a free trial period of 7 days can be activated.
Overflow is a solution that allows you to study and design user flows using both simple objects (geometric shapes, arrows…) and screenshots taken from pre-existing applications or websites. The screens of the presentation can be rearranged, positioned on different levels and linked together to create stylizable flowcharts in which it is possible to add annotations. It is a UX Design tool that can be integrated with various other applications such as Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD and Photoshop. There is also a “Presentation” mode with which to show the diagrams created, and the sharing of projects is supported through a specific Cloud infrastructure where contents are password-protected. There are currently two pricing plans to choose from:
- Pro: € 12 per month for 1GB of Cloud Storage, advanced sharing tools, support for printing to PDF and exporting to PNG. It is possible to try the service for free.
- Enterprise: the cost is established from time to time with customers, all Pro features are included, plus support for unlimited versioning, more advanced tools for security and user management, and the limits relating to users who can access the platform are removed.
Figma is first and foremost a full-featured tool for collaboration between users participating in a design process. This tool allows you to share any aspect of UX Design starting from diagrams and notes, it is also possible to arrange workshops via an online whiteboard, called FigJam, offered as a space for brainstorming within teams. Figma and FigJam are two integrated and interoperable environments, thus enabling to follow step by step any workflow related to the design of the UX, from their conception to the execution phase. There are functions dedicated to project presentation and the feedback collection from participants and testers. An interactive prototype, in fact, is made available to users, so that they can create animations and dynamic overlays whose behavior faithfully follows the mode of operation of a final product. There are three different versions of Figma:
- Professional: $ 12 per publisher / month (paid annually or $ 15 month-to-month);
- Organization: $ 45 per publisher / month (billed annually);
- Enterprise: $ 45 per publisher / month (billed annually).
Depending on the rate chosen, you will have a varying number of tools available for file management, access to plugins, customization of workspaces and access administration.
Cornerstone of the brand of one of the historical companies of the high-tech sector, Adobe XD is a solution for the design of realistic prototypes in the creation of UX for applications, websites, video games and brands. It supports import of content from other software of the same parent company, such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch. It allows you to choose from thousands of Adobe Fonts and synchronize them in different projects through a Creative Cloud account. Adobe XD also provides vector drawing tools with which to create layouts and elements for UI and allows you to develop prototypes capable of incorporating playable videos, defining voice commands for controlling prototypes, and inserting micro-interactions and animated effects in them. It does not lack features for real-time collaborative development and coediting. Resources for project realization can be easily shared via links, and integration with Behance‘s creative network for presentations and showcases is supported. Adobe XD offers a 7-day free trial version while the purchase formulas include:
- Adobe XD tools for creating and sharing designs for websites, mobile apps and other UXs at € 12.19 per month;
- Over 20 Creative Cloud apps including XD, Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects for € 36.59 per month.
“Design with empathy for your user” is the slogan of the developers of UserTesting, a UX Research tool that enables you to easily conduct usability tests and obtain useful results for the design of UX and products conceived for maximum user satisfaction. UserTesting allows to verify how the target user interacts with a particular type of design, and to collect feedback through which is possible to have useful data to identify which aspects of a UX generate difficulties of use and confusion. It is a tool designed to allow developers to act proactively, which means that defects and bottlenecks in a wireframe or prototype are detected before even a single code line is written. UX Research activities can be carried out regardless of the device and operating system (Android, iOS…), on which the tests are carried out by stakeholders. It is also possible to create film presentations with which user behaviors are tracked while using the UI in different scenarios. It is possible to access a trial version of UserTesting and test its features for free. To know the prices of the service it is instead necessary to contact the developers directly.
User Experience Design is a professional activity and to operate in this sector it is necessary to have the skills required to choose the best work tools. From this point of view, it is essential to face a specific training course, such as the one offered by Talent Garden with its UX Design Master, the only one in Italy that allows you to become a Junior UX Designer in just 14 weeks. The next edition of the Master is scheduled for March28, 2022 and it will be held in blended learning mode with more than 11 weeks of live online lessons. The 1st, 4th and 8th week there will be in-person lessons in Talent Garden’s Campus of Milan and Rome. The Master boasts a collaboration with the Pantheon Design & Technology Institute thanks to which attendance ensures 24 academic/university formative credits recognition.