The convergence of digital marketing and user experience isn't coming; it's already here. You can't have successful website without both.
The following eight UX tools can't substitute having a UX specialist on staff, but they can help you immensely in better understanding how your actions affect a user's experience and how you can not only drive traffic, but increase conversions.
Cost: From $49
You want to make some changes to a client's site. They're hesitant, and the only thing you have in your arsenal is that it could bother users, and you think it'll improve conversions.
We've all been there.
Having UserTesting.com in your arsenal means you don't have to rely on assumptions anymore. You can get feedback from your target audience about what frustrates them about your site (or a section of your site) and how they expect it to work. Take that to client, and you're better prepared to rationalize those changes.
Cost: Free to $65/month
Successful digital marketing means starting with a deep understanding of your users. Knowing what they like, how they shop, where they buy, what influences their purchasing decisions (i.e., knowing everything about their buying journey of your product or service) means you're best prepared to market to them when they're ready to listen.
SurveyMonkey allows you to do just that. Set up a list of questions (no more than 10) and send them out to past customers, current customers and potential customers in your target audience. The kicker is that you have to have that list of respondents, or gather via social media, which brings me to my next tool that eliminates that.
Cost: 10 cents to $3.50 for each survey
Priority: Nice to have
If you don't have contact information of people in your demographic, Google Consumer Surveys are your best bet to gather information about what your users want.
With Google Consumer Surveys, you can ask, on the cheap, folks who aren't coming to your site about what they like or survey the folks who are coming to your site about what they'd change. It's a much less intrusive option than services that put a popup on the site asking for feedback right when a user lands on your home page.
Prototyping and Design Tools
Cost: Free to $100/month
Priority: Nice to have
Being collocated with your team is ideal, but that's not always possible. If you work with people spread across multiple offices, you know the frustrations of collaborating through email.
Invision lets you share a design mockup with your team (and your client) where everyone can view, review, and leave feedback in one centralized place.
Cost: Free to $129/month
Visual Website Optimizer has changed the way we approach digital marketing. Before we were only focused on driving traffic. Now, we can better analyze (and easily test) design and optimization that moves people through a client's marketing funnel.
We can't always have a designer at our beck and call to mock up four variations of a CTA color and placement. Visual Website Optimizer lets you easily change the CSS and HTML of sections of your webpage, test the variations, and run with which ones works best.
Cost: From $20/month
There's no worse feeling than launching a site you've labored over for months to find out that visitors don't understand it.
UsabilityHub makes it ridiculously easy to gather initial feedback on designs and mockups before you launch. Upload your screenshot, select which test you'd like – Five Second Test, Click Test or Nav Flow Test – UsabilityHub shows your design to the number of people you specify, and you get a report of results quickly.
If it's this easy getting real-time impressions of what people think about your designs, there's no reason why everyone shouldn't be using it.
Cost: From $109/month
Optimal Workshop includes a suite of three tools, each of which equally important to the UX process:
- OptimalSort: Card sorting tool to show how users would organize your content. Great for planning information architecture, navigation, and overall site structure.
- Treejack: Removes visual design to test site structure and navigation labeling to see why and where people are getting lost in your content.
- Chalkmark: Get users' first impressions of designs or screenshots through first-click testing. Gives you quick feedback before making them live.
Priority: Nice to have
Where Google Analytics tells you what your users are doing on your site (e.g., leaving before filling out your lead form or dropping off in your checkout process) ClickTale tells you why they're doing it.
ClickTale gives you heat maps, click maps, visitor recordings, form performance analytics and more so you're better armed to improve your sites optimization of conversion flow. It also executes things in real time so you don't have to wait a while to get your results.
What UX tools do you consider a necessity? Share it in the comments.