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25 great free UX tools « UX for the masses

25 great free UX tools « UX for the masses
There might be no such thing as a free lunch but thanks to the wonders of Open Source software, freeware and trial software there most certainly is such a thing as free software. In this article I list 25 great free UX tools, including tools to help with prototyping, annotating, screen grabbing, site mapping, usability testing, accessibility and analytics. Prototyping tools Pencil Pencil is a nice little Open Source tool for creating prototypes, UI mockups, and UX diagrams, such as user journeys. Pencil – A free prototyping and diagramming tool LucidChart LucidChart is an online tool for creating diagrams, UI mockups and prototypes. LucidChart – A prototyping and diagramming tool with a free trial version Balsamiq Balsamiq is another online UI prototyping tool and like LucidChart it’s not fee but does allow you to create simple single pages for free using the trial version (just click on the ‘take a tour’ link). Balsamiq – A prototyping tool with a free trial version Serena Prototype Composer

Unmoderated, Remote Usability Testing: Good or Evil? By Kyle Soucy Published: January 18, 2010 “Recently, there has been a surge in the number of tools that are available for conducting unmoderated, remote usability testing—and this surge is changing the usability industry.” Conducting traditional synchronous, or moderated, usability testing requires a moderator to communicate with test participants and observe them during a study—either in person or remotely. Recently, there has been a surge in the number of tools that are available for conducting unmoderated, remote usability testing—and this surge is changing the usability industry. To clarify, there are a lot of tools out there that label themselves as usability testing tools, but don’t actually offer the capability of doing usability testing with users through task elicitation. and clickdensity —or Web analytics tools that turn analytics data into videos of actual user sessions—such as Userfly, ClickTale, TeaLeaf, and Clixpy. What You Can Learn How Actionable Is the Data? Define the study.

User Experience quotes and articles to inspire and connect the UX community | inspireUX Subject-Matter Experts: Putting Users at the Center of the Design Process By Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain Published: February 7, 2011 “The insights we gain from interacting directly with users are invaluable.” This month we’ll discuss the process of putting users at the center of the design process and what that means in regard to both design and product strategy. We’ll also discuss some different approaches to a user-centered design process that we’ve come across and outline their positives and negatives. Finally, we’ll outline the steps necessary to make user-centered design a reality and how to get the most out of a user-centered design process when working on different types of products. Why Users Matter “When we design a product to meet a market need, we’re addressing the problems, concerns, or desires of people who would use it on a regular basis.” Knowing our users is everything—without them, we’d have no one in mind to design for and few would purchase our products. User-Centered Research Strategies Working with Subject-Matter Experts Conclusion

From Wireframes to Code, Part I By Bill Schmidt Published: December 20, 2010 “Why not create a design artifact that is not disposable, but instead, one your team can convert to actual production code?” Within many companies, the use of wireframes in user experience design can be a contentious issue. People typically think of wireframes simply as artifacts designers create when generating design concepts, then later discard. Why not create a design artifact that is not disposable, but instead, one your team can convert to actual production code? The Question “I was already aware of several software tools with which I could accomplish this goal and, in fact, had taken this approach on a recent project.” My exploration of this idea began when a software developer—who was in the audience during a recent presentation on wireframing and prototyping—asked me, “Why can’t you just use the code from your wireframes as the basis for the final code?” But What Are Wireframes? Blueprints for Software Figure 2—A house Two Approaches

Usability Testing Is Qualitative Only If You Can’t Count By Jon Innes Published: February 21, 2011 “Too many VP- and C-level folks still have no idea how to measure the value of usability or UX design initiatives.” I’ve recently found myself in a lot of discussions over the value of traditional user research methods. In particular, the value of that staple of user research we know as the usability test and its relevance in today’s world of Google Analytics and A/B and multivariate testing. Business Leaders Don’t Understand the Value of Usability Testing Having spent the past several years consulting on both UX management and user-centered design best practices—and, for about eight years prior to that, working with senior executives as a UX leader on staff, I’ve come to realize that too many VP- and C-level folks still have no idea how to measure the value of usability or UX design initiatives. Failing to Defend Small Sample Sizes “The use of the term quantitative research confuses many teams when researchers apply it to small-sample studies.”

Customer account experience - Neo Insight January 2011 newsletter Neo Insight's e-newsletter on Customer Experience topics and techniques. We invite you to subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter: We’ve been applying some new online research techniques to the evaluation of both proposed and existing information architectures on our clients’ websites. These techniques focus on the words and labels that drive visitors through their top tasks. “The primary purpose of web navigation is to help people to move forward. Results from these types of studies will help you identify which words or labels are moving people forward, and which are hindering progress. Choose a technique to improve navigation Let’s assume you already have identified the top tasks on your site. 1. Which words and labels move people forward? Example of the TreeJack task process Moderated sessions provide the 'Why' In parallel with the collection of the tree data, you can hold moderated sessions – online of course, using remote screen sharing. Related book and articles Back to Top

"Strategic UX" by Leisa Reichelt at London IA I was going to start this blog post off with a quote from Leisa Reichelt’s recent London IA talk, but she came out with so many pithy one liners that it was impossible to pick one. Leisa’s basic premise was that if you read some of the very best books about management strategy and techniques, they sound awfully familiar to anyone who has ever read a UX book. For example, they have a focus on businesses being successful by serving customer needs - a criteria for design success that we are all familiar with. The problem, Leisa suggests, is that actually a lot of the managers you’ll come across during your career haven’t been to business school or read the very best text books about management strategy. Therefore, Leisa argued, we should be playing up our role as facilitators in a business, to help the rest of the company to come to the conclusion that a good business strategy usually requires there to be a good UX strategy. So, as Leisa put it: “Business needs to get more from their UX team.

Asking Questions About Internet Behavior By Caroline Jarrett Published: February 7, 2011 “Steve Krug’s newest book … inspired me to think again about my whole approach to usability testing.” Have you read Steve Krug’s newest book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems? testing far more often—maybe monthly rather than twice a year testing with just three participants rather than my usual five to ten forgoing a written report in favor of a post-session debrief meeting Having said all of that, there was one point in the manuscript that I just couldn’t agree with. We Rarely Know How Long We Spend on Habitual Behaviors “Most people … have no idea how much time they spend on … habitual behaviors.” My objection to the question is that it’s asking something most people couldn’t answer accurately—or even confidently, but inaccurately—because they have no idea how much time they spend on such habitual behaviors. What Is the Purpose of Steve’s Question? It’s part of everyday life. Summary

A Beginner’s Guide To A/B Testing: Exceptional Web Copy Optimizing the copy on your website is at least as important as optimizing the design, especially if the primary goal of that site is to convert visitors. A pretty design can only get you so far. If you really want to gain new customers, you need to optimize the text on your site to instill trust in visitors and make them want to purchase from you. We often spend hours or days reading about the best techniques to use to sell products. But that doesn’t give us a complete picture, and what works great for one company or one product might not work at all for another. A/B testing is the simplest type of testing you can do to figure out which variations of copy, headline, and other factors are most effective in direct relation to your site and your offerings. Things to Test There are a ton of things you can test on your site to see what’s most effective. Here’s a brief list of the web copy elements on your site you might test: Tools for A/B Testing A/B Testing Best Practices