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"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works!" Steve Jobs said.

Each one of us interacts with information differently, and a design that works for one person may turn someone else off entirely.

No matter how much effort you've put into designing your website or mobile app, the proof of the pudding is in the testing—user testing, which allows you to learn what the actual users of a product think about it and how they use it.

Here are 10 tools that will help you gain insight into what you can do to improve user experience (UX) and win your users' hearts, minds, and business.

1. Peek

How amazing would it be if you could somehow know what your visitors were thinking as they browsed through your website? Well, prepare to be amazed, because Peek lets you do just that.

Have real users review your website, mobile website, or mobile app, and send you a 5-minute video of their feedback.

That's feedback you can use to make necessary changes and make your product more appealing and accessible for users.

The best part? It's totally free, and you can run up to three tests in one month.

2. UserTesting

UserTesting is the company behind the Peek tool and offers added features and functionality, for a price. Aside from user feedback videos, you get useful metrics to quickly identify problems, and you can benchmark your UX over time and against competition.

For more personalized testing, you can select and filter participants based on region, device type, user location, user demographics, Web expertise, and more.

You can have your website evaluated at any stage of development, from wireframes to prototypes to production.

Apart from websites and mobile websites, specialized app testing is available for iOS and Android.

3. Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a suite of tools that help you answer one question: Why are visitors leaving your website?

There's a heatmap tool that visually displays what visitors are clicking and what they aren't, a scrollmap tool that shows where on the page you should place your most important content so that it has the highest chance of being seen, an overlay reporting feature that shows the number of clicks on call-to-action links and buttons, and a confetti tool that shows all the traffic you get on your website segmented by referral sources.

It's like wearing a pair of X-ray glasses and looking at your website.

If you want free software with similar functionality, have a look at ClickHeat, although you'll need some tech savvy to install it on your server.

4. Visual Website Optimizer

VWO is an A/B-test (split-test) tool that helps marketers with limited technical knowledge to tweak, optimize, and personalize websites using a point-and-click editor.

With split-testing, marketers can test multiple versions of a website or landing pages and choose the one that performs best. This helps drive higher engagement among users, increase conversion rate, and increase sales.

VWO also comes bundled with a bunch of other helpful tools, such as behavioral targeting, heatmaps, and usability testing. Integration is easy, too; you just need to copy-paste a code snippet on to your website and you're ready to go live.

If you're looking for an alternative, you could look at Optimizely.

5. Mouseflow

Mouseflow is a mouse-tracking and heatmap app that lets you record visitor activity and see website heatmaps showing where visitors click, scroll, and even stop to pay attention. It's like getting inside the mind of users and watching what they think.

With the intelligence from mouse tracking, heatmaps, in-page analytics, and link analytics, website owners can spot problems that are causing visitors to wander off the page. If, for instance, you discover that a bad design element or a certain field in a form is making users close the page, you can make the necessary fixes.

6. UserZoom

A customer and user-experience research and analytics platform based on a SaaS model, UserZoom provides an end-to-end product and services solution for getting your product tested.

Starting with participant recruitment for getting the right participants in the shortest amount of time, to survey tools to customer studies to data analysis and reporting services... UserZoom's got it covered.

The UX design tools include card sorting, tree testing, timeout testing, and click testing.

If you're looking for alternatives, have a look at Liveminds.

7. Optimal Workshop

Optimal Workshop builds products that help you discover and test mental models for your information architecture. Its site tree testing product, called Treejack, evaluates the findability of topics in a website. The card sorting tool, called OptimalSort, uses a group of subject experts or "users," no matter how inexperienced with design, to generate a category tree or folksonomy. Finally, a first impressions tool called Chalkmark gathers user feedback on your designs and mockups.

8. CheckMyColours

CheckMyColours is a tool for checking foreground and background color combinations of all document object model (DOM) elements and determining whether they provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits. All the tests are based on the algorithms suggested by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

9. UsabilityHub

Find out how people will react to your website before you launch it: Are your landing pages easy to understand? Where do your users click? Is your website easy to navigate?

Just upload an image and choose the type of test you'd like to run. You can specify how many people you want to see your test, or even bring your own testers, and create reports showing detailed breakdown of the interactions each tester had with your design.

10. Google PageSpeed Insights

Fast and optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions. The PageSpeed family of tools is designed to help you optimize the performance of your website. PageSpeed Insights products will help you identify performance best-practices that can be applied to your site, and PageSpeed optimization tools can help you automate the process.

If you're looking for alternatives that are even more informative, check out GTmetrix and YSlow.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Vishveshwar Jatain

Vishveshwar Jatain is a content marketer at AdPushup, which helps websites optimize the ad revenue generated from their existing ad units.

Twitter: @eclecticv