User research can easily become overwhelming for new researchers who are still learning the ropes. It’s easy to feel confused when you think of where to recruit research participants, which type of UX research method to apply, or choosing a tool to use at each stage of the UX research process.
Remote collaboration is easier with the right tools. Rather than wasting time on manual activities that won’t generate data-backed responses, UX research tools save time and ensure you’re getting feedback from your ideal audience.
In this guide, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of UX research tools to:
- Recruit research participants and conduct user interviews
- Analyze research findings and build user research repositories
- Collect product feedback
- Conduct remote usability testing
- Understand user behavior on your website or app
- A/B test specific elements for conversion
- Collect web analytics
- Conduct surveys
- Schedule and host remote meetings with research respondents
What is UX Research?
UX research is the systematic study of target users to collect and analyze data that inform product design. The goal of UX research is to understand the behavior, needs, wants, and desires of a target audience.
UX researchers use various research methods to uncover problems and reveal insight that feeds the design process. The two main parts of UX research are gathering data and synthesizing data to improve usability.
Rather than making assumptions, you’re empowered to give your users the best solution because you know what they need.
30 of the Best UX Research Tools to Explore
UX Research Recruiting
Great Question is a user research tool that helps research and product teams to build a panel of customers to survey, interview, and collect feedback on a prototype. If you have a user base of customers, you can import your data into Great Question. You can schedule interviews, batch invitations and manage incentives for research participants.
They offer AI-powered features to help you distill and share your findings with stakeholders via email or Slack.
Ethnio is a participant management platform for UX research. With Ethnio, product teams and researchers can integrate studies directly into their native apps and website. When users are browsing your site or app, they’ll either get an invite to participate in a research project or fill out a small survey. You can schedule meetings, pay incentives and track research activity in Ethnio.
Rather than trying to recruit participants who may not be a good fit, use live intercepts to recruit from people who already know and love your product. Ethnio’s pricing starts at $66 per month for 1 team member and $149 per month for three team members.
User Interviews is a UX research recruiting platform with an audience of over 500,000 vetted panelists. If you reward research participants, they can manage incentives for you. Other features include scheduling user interviews, screener surveys, and participation tracking. If you already have a list of research participants, User Interview can store and manage your participants.
User Interviews pre-screens each user to ensure they’re real humans from your demographic using filters such as location, income, age, and gender. Pricing starts at $45 per session on the Pay As You Go Plan and $175 per month for the Starter plan.
Userbrain is a user testing software with over 65,000 user testers. It allows you to see how users interact with your website. They provide a regular flow of first-time testers who complete a list of tasks on your website with live commentary so you know what they’re thinking as they complete each task.
There is no video of the participant’s face. Instead, Userbrain shows the participant’s screen and records audio as they interact with your website. Pricing starts at $35 on the pay-as-you-go plan. The subscribe & save plan costs $230 per month and includes 10 Userbrain testers.
UX Research Repository Tools
Brief History of Aurelius
Zack Naylor was fascinated with user research from a young age. He taught himself user research and learned everything he could about UX and building human-centered product designs. Later in his career, he moved to Minneapolis for a job and that’s where he met his business partner, Joseph Szczesniak. Together they created Aurelius in Zack’s basement. Cliché, but it’s true!
They wanted to build a software that would help researchers, UX designers, and product teams to make better product decisions without sorting through hours of research data manually.
Aurelius started as a product strategy platform in 2015. But Zack and Joseph agreed that the product could be doing more to solve the problem of research analysis. In 2017, they launched an optional beta version focused on research analysis and repository.
Soon, more people were using the beta version than the product strategy software they were paying for. It was the validation that Zack and Joseph needed to fully pivot to the Aurelius research insight platform you know today.
It’s interesting to note that Zack and Joseph have been careful to keep Aurelius mostly self-funded. Aurelius recently got accepted into the TinySeed accelerator program. While Aurelius received some seed investment from TinySeed, Zack and Joseph retain full control of the product direction. They’ve seen how venture funding changes a product’s priority and they want to stay true to providing a research repository software that works.
How is Aurelius Different from Other User Research Repository Tools?
Here are a few stand-out features of Aurelius
Use Magic Upload to turn a variety of research data into text. Examples of formats you can upload include videos, audio, transcription, diary notes, spreadsheets, and more.
Find out which words and phrases your research participants use the most with the Keyword Analysis feature. You can use patterns in data sets to get Insights.
Cross Project Insights
If you’re working on multiple research projects at the same time, use the Cross Project Insights to synthesize a higher volume of data, jump across numerous Projects and get Insights that help you make better products.
Cross Project Recommendation
If you’ve worked on a project in the past that’s related to a current Project, use the Cross Project Recommendation to harness your research findings and capture suggestions and ideas from multiple Projects.
Use Collection to create a custom group of Key Insights and Recommendations from past Projects and add it to your current Project. It’s a great way to leverage past research for answers to questions. Aurelius also lets you share your Collections with collaborators whether they have an Aurelius account or not.
Unlimited Storage and Unlimited Projects
While most research repository tools limit storage, the number of users, and projects, Aurelius empowers you to do more. Each Aurelius plan includes Unlimited Users, Unlimited Storage, and Unlimited Projects. You never have to worry about running out of space or losing your research data.
Aurelius pricing starts at $49 per month for the Professional plan (ideal for solo researchers) and $199 per month for the Premium plan (ideal for in-house research and product teams).
Dovetail is a research repository software that stores qualitative research in one place. Use Dovetail to upload videos, photos, notes, or other data from your research. Dovetail also allows product managers, UX designers, and researchers to analyze qualitative data, find insights and share research findings with stakeholders.
However, Dovetail repository pricing starts at $100 per month for five users which is expensive when compared to the Aurelius starter plan that costs $49 per month and includes unlimited users.
Formerly known as NomNom, EnjoyHQ is a product research management tool that integrates research data, customer feedback, app reviews, and data from other sources. Features include reports, highlighting, and tagging. Use EnjoyHQ to organize and share research data or customer insight in one place.
Airtable is a cloud collaboration service that works as a smart spreadsheet where your team can collaborate on projects. It has the features of a database but applied to a spreadsheet. User researchers can create databases, add records, set up column types, sort records and publish views to external websites.
While Airtable accommodates a wide range of research projects, it’s ideal for researchers who want to create their database and maintain complete control on how they import, use and synthesize data.
Atlassian confluence provides a shared workspace where researchers can add projects, invite teammates and organize tasks in a hierarchical structure.
Confluence keeps your team organized with everything from strategy docs to meeting notes and IT documentation to help you make more informed design decisions. It also allows researchers to create discoverable documents that collaborators can access.
Product Feedback Tools
Productboard is a product management platform that helps product teams to get their products to market faster. They make it easy for product managers to collect feedback from platforms like Slack, Salesforce, Intercom, emails, and more.
The platform organizes your insight, codes them into themes, and attaches your insight to the user’s needs and product ideas.
Uservoice is a product feedback management software that helps product teams to gather, aggregate, and analyze feedback from internal teams and customers. The core function is to provide user feedback and insight for product teams to build better products.
Uservoice is great for SaaS companies that want to collect feedback traditionally and allow users to vote on product features they love or hate. The feedback combines both qualitative and quantitative data so you can prioritize your product roadmap with responses from multiple sources.
Usabilia is a product feedback tool that uses quick emoji surveys to gather contextual feedback and optimize your digital products.
Usabilia uses an emotional trend line to display user reactions and show how users feel about your product over time. You can follow up with questions to gather more insight.
The feedback item includes a screenshot and page metadata such as screen resolution and type of device to give you a better understanding of your user’s experience.
Usability Testing Software
TryMyUI is a remote usability testing tool that shows you video recordings of real people using your website. You can test prototypes and wireframes in remote usability studies.
TryMyUI works with mobile apps and websites and even includes options for impression testing and written surveys. Other features of TryMyUI include demographic curation, screener testing, UX diagnostics, and analytics.
Pricing on TryMyUI starts at $99 per month on the personal plan for single users and $399 per month for teams.
dscout is a remote user research tool that helps remote teams to collect in-context insight from people who use your product. They boast an engaged pool of over 100,000 panelists. It’s a great place to recruit participants for diary studies and one-on-one user interviews.
For diary studies, you create missions for research participants to complete. Their response includes videos, pictures, and notes about their experience. For remote interviews, they offer inbuilt video conferencing capabilities that include live-notation, auto-transcribe, and screen sharing.
Userlytics is a remote user testing platform that allows you to test your mobile apps, websites, and prototypes. Test competitor assets to see what’s working for them and adapt it to your customer journey to improve user experience.
Userlytics allows UI/UX designers to create user testing scripts and send them to participants who complete the test as part of an unmoderated study. You can also download or share the videos with other project collaborators.
Researchers can create screener questions that disqualify candidates from the study and establish rules for deeper segmentation that leads to more accurate results.
Maze is a remote usability testing platform that turns your prototype into actionable insight from users. You can run usability tests and share a link with testers to get actionable insights quickly. Maze integrates with Marvel, Figma, Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch so you can import an existing prototype.
It’s great for hiring test participants, task-based usability testing, unmoderated testing, collecting metrics, and turning feedback into reports. Top features of Maze include heatmaps, multiple path analysis, task analysis, and guerilla testing.
Maze offers a free plan for single users with 3 active projects. Maze paid plan starts at $25 per month for 10 active projects.
Userzoom is a UX research platform with managed research options. It is ideal for enterprise clients and experienced UX researchers who can take advantage of its advanced offerings. Features include moderated and unmoderated usability testing, analytics, surveys, benchmarking, reporting, user recruitment, and more.
You can find research participants from a database of over 120 million participants. Userzoom is great for teams that want to manage research projects but works best for companies that want to outsource the entire research project in return for actionable insights.
Heat Mapping Tools
Hotjar is a website heatmap and behavior analytics tool. Watch how visitors and users navigate your site to better understand what they need and how they feel. Use the analytics to optimize your website and improve conversion.
Heatmap is the best feature on Hotjar. It allows you to visualize user behavior through a representation of user scrolling behavior, clicks, and taps. You also view which part of your site has the most friction for new users. UX designers can use the feedback poll to ask questions and receive feedback from specific visitors on your website.
Mouseflow is a heatmap tool that captures user behavior on your website to identify friction points and show you why visitors aren’t converting. Apart from heatmaps, Mouseflow also offers session replay, form analytics, conversion funnels, and feedback campaigns.
Mouseflow pricing starts at $24 per month for the Starter plan, $79 per month for the Growth plan, and $159 per month for the Business plan.
Crazy Egg is a remote usability testing tool that’s known for heat mapping, A/B testing, and website optimization. View attention hotspots on product pages. See if your visitors are clicking where you want them to, and identify navigation obstacles that hinder conversion.
CrazyEgg offers deep filtering options that allow you to dig deeper into audience segments and identify your most valuable visitors.
Use the A/B testing tool to determine if you’ve implemented the best solution. Select an element to test ideas on and experiment with features like headlines, product copy and sales copy to see what converts best.
CrazyEgg pricing starts at $24 per month for the Basic plan, $49 per month for the Standard plan, and $99 per month for the Plus plan.
A/B Testing Tools
Optimizely is a user testing tool that helps researchers to create advanced A/B tests with multiple variables. It offers deeper insights on user behavior that allows product and design teams to experiment with algorithms, design choices, and other elements that lead to great UX journeys.
Remote product teams can test micro-services, APIs, and architecture design to improve product performance. Experiment with algorithms like promotions, recommendations, and search results to deliver relevant content to your audience.
Just like its name, Visual Website Optimizer helps you optimize your website for user experience without relying on IT support or coding skills. VWO combines the power of its analytics software with A/B testing.
Build and launch A/B testing campaigns quickly within VWO. Researchers also use VWO to collect feedback from real users, segment reports, review heatmaps, and send personalized content to targeted audience members.
Website Analytics Tool
Woopra is a customer journey and product analytics software that automatically builds detailed customer profiles in real-time. Woopra helps product, sales, marketing, and support teams to optimize the customer lifecycle by delivering live behavioral data from various touchpoints such as mobile app, your company website, email, and help desk.
Researchers can use the analytics to pinpoint drop off points before conversion and optimize web pages. Woopra is free for small businesses with 30,000 actions per month, paid plans start at $79.95 per month for up to 40,000 subscriptions.
Google Analytics is a free tool for understanding user behavior on your site and gathering analytics such as conversion, acquisitions, and real-time use. Other analytics in the free version of Google analytics include bounce rate, pages per session, ad performance, and session length.
Kissmetrics is an advanced product and marketing analytics software. They combine email campaign automation with powerful analytics. To properly monitor user interactions, segment your key populations and use these populations to create targeted email campaigns based on actions users take on your site.
Kissmetrics pricing starts at $299 per month for the silver plan with 10k tracked users and $499 per month for the Gold plan with 25k tracked users.
Survey Monkey is an online survey tool. It allows researchers and product teams to create and send out surveys. On the paid plans, you can create advanced surveys targeted at specific users. Then, turn analytic data into insight that improves your product UX.
The free version of SurveyMonkey includes 100 surveys per month maxed at 10 questions. Survey Monkey paid plans starts at $25 per month for three users on the Team Advantage plan and $75 per month for the Team Premier plan.
Google Forms is a free survey software that allows researchers to create and administer online surveys. You can automatically integrate Google Forms with Google Spreadsheets to easily view results and sort through data. Google Forms also allows you to collaborate with your teammates on your Google Suite workspace.
Scheduling and Video Conferencing Tools
Calendly is an online appointment scheduling software that allows researchers to schedule meetings with research participants. Send your meeting link to a respondent and they pick an available time that fits their schedule. After they’ve booked a meeting, Calendly automatically creates a calendar event and shares the meeting details with you and your participant.
According to the State of User Research, 26% of respondents use Calendly to schedule research participants from their customer base while 14% use Calendly to schedule research participants from external sources.
The free Calendly plan includes one Calendar connection per user. Paid Calendly plans start at $8 per month for the Premium plan with two calendar connections and $12 per month for the Pro plan with six calendar connections.
Zoom is a video conferencing tool. It is great for user interviews, remote focus groups, and observing user behavior. Zoom supports chat, screen sharing, live transcription, and recording. They also support calendar integration with Calendly and other scheduling tools.
The free plan hosts up to 100 participants and is capped at 40 minutes. Paid plans start at $14.99 per month for the Pro plan and $19.99 per month for the Business plan.
Build User-Friendly Products with the Right UX Research Tools
As you can see from this exhaustive list, there are many UX research tools in the market to choose from. Hopefully, this list will help you recruit research participants, conduct user interviews, analyze research data, test prototypes and manage research projects more efficiently.