Aids for the most important questions
At the moment, creatives have an incredible number of different tools at their disposal. Sketch, Invision, Axure, Loop11, Hotjar, Optimizely and others help us with wireframing, design and user testing. But which tools allow us to get to know the user better and to comply with accessibility standards? These seven tools answer the key questions of good user experience.
Who are my users?
Personas are often used to understand the daily tasks, needs, desires and obstacles facing a target group. Anyone who has ever created even a temporary persona knows how much time it can take.
This is why Xtensio has come up with a User Persona Generator, which helps to define the right persona. This tool provides a range of different templates that can be customized. Companies, concepts, people and names are imaginary and can be easily edited, as can the designs and layouts. They range from travelers and software developers to a customer support persona. There is a free trial, and the tool starts at USD 5 per month.
Those who want to learn more about their users can survey them using an online tool, for example. Typeform is my choice here, as it is fun to use the tool both as a creator and as a user. You can use ready-made templates or create your own survey with your own unique design and animation. It is also available as a free version with ten questions for 100 participants. Those who want more have to pay, starting from EUR 25 per month.
Is the information architecture understandable?
Good navigation is half the battle. Nothing is more annoying as a user than being driven to despair by the navigation interface. This is why the Treejack tool makes it possible to evaluate the information architecture of a website or app. Users are provided with simple tasks to this end and use the navigation interface to call up the pages where they would expect to find the information. This gives you an idea of how understandable your navigation interface is and how easy it is for users to find their way around. There is also a free trial version of Treejack, limited to ten participants per study.
Is my product accessible?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 help to make web content accessible. The following two tools provide UX experts with support implementing WCAG recommendations.
Color Tester can be used to generate color palettes and validate color contrast to achieve accessibility in line with WCAG 2.0. The tool also allows users to simulate color blindness. The final color palette can be shared with the team and exported as a CSS file or a swatch for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Gimp and OpenOffice. Unfortunately, there is no export function for Sketch yet.
By contrast, HTML CodeSniffer is a client script that checks HTML source code and detects violations at all three levels of WCAG 2.0 conformance. It is possible to carry out a live test on the website itself. The test results are displayed below the code block.
Do visitors perceive the content and elements of the website?
Mouse and eye tracking are both processes that shed light on this question. The Danish company Mouseflow offers a tool of the same name that tracks all mouse and scroll movements, clicks, keyboard strokes and form entries made by users. The results are Click Heatmaps that show where visitors have clicked and where they have not. It also analyzes the most frequently clicked links. The tool can be tried out free of charge, and a starter package is available from EUR 29 per month.
Eye tracking studies are usually very cost-intensive, which is why Feng-GUI is an interesting tool. Feng-GUI simulates human vision and predicts where in the design users will focus their attention. According to the provider, it is a 91 percent match with classic eye tracking at a fraction of the cost and time. The site offers a free trial, and packages start at USD 25 per month.
So, there are countless tools out there. Do we need all of them? Probably not. But finding the right one at the right moment can help us to design better digital products.