No matter how nice a website design looks, it’s useless if the UX is bad. These days, users aren’t supposed to just look at a website, they’re supposed to INTERACT with them. Or at least use them. According to Usabilitygeek.com, “user experience” is a combination of a variety of factors, including but not limited to user-interface, functionality, information architecture, typography, and more.
Training programs like Austin Coding Academy teach coding, design, development, HTML, etc…, but what about user-experience? What kind of tools will you require to get the job done?
Here’s a look at some of the most useful tools for web designers:
It’s free to get started with this simple testing tool, which is a good tool for new web designers who don’t have a lot of experience yet. In addition to websites, it can also be used for wireframe and prototype usability testing. Loop11 integrates well with some of the top prototyping tools on the market (such as InVision).
This powerful powerful prototype (desktop application) is also compatible with Loop11. Keep in mind that it is a highly professional UX tool, and as such it requires a learning curve. The full version is available as a 30-day free trial. Axure adapts to businesses and works well with a wide range of platforms, including WordPress, Joomla, Windows Phones, HTML5, etc.
Good news: this one is free, open-source, and compatible with Windows, Linux and macOS! There are nearly 6,000 “packages” available for download that allow Atom to do many things, from making color improvements to auto-detecting indentations.
How can you know if your design offers a good user-experience unless you actually let users try it out? A free version of this “user research platform” is available, as well as The Suite Plan and Enterprise Plan. Optimal Workshop can be summarized as a “condensed suite of usability study tools”.
Another useful free tool, LucidChart allows users to create diagrams, prototypes and UI markups. More than one person can collaborate on a document. Plenty of neat widgets, icons, diagramming shapes, and UI components are built-in. There is plenty of versatility to keep both beginners and advanced web designers happy.
This powerful, desktop-based application allows users to create prototypes of a wide range of applications. It’s available in two versions: Free Community Edition and Unlimited Pro Edition. Some of the prototypes you can “compose” with Serena include simple, high-fidelity prototypes (clickable), interfaces, graphical process designs (to model how users will navigate when the application is finished), and so forth.
Typography and readability play an important role in UX design. Don’t get so caught up in the colors and images that you forget about the text. Smashing Magazine explains that “poor readability scares readers away”. With this generator, you can specify the number words, paragraphs and sentences you need to serve as filler content during the design and testing phases. You can also specify which html tags you need. It can’t get any simpler.
Your UX designing experience will improve even more if you learn how to code. You will get even better job prospects.