We all have our go-to tools. Websites, platforms and applications we use to solve problems, perform tasks, acquire assets, streamline workflow and generally make our jobs easier. When I come across a helpful new tool, I’m always grateful. I thought I’d share a list of 22 of my favorites in the hope that you may find one or two that are new to you. Perhaps a couple of these will help make your 2022 just a little more productive, creative or fun. Most of them are free, a few are paid as indicated. In return I’d love it if you shared some of your favorite tools with me in the comments box below.
Trademark search: USPTO TESS
Use the Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System to research your new brand or product name and determine if there is a trademark conflict.
Domain registry: Hover
Simple, uncluttered, easy to use and unlike GoDaddy they are not trying to constantly sell you things you don’t want.
CREATIVITY AND CONTENT
Presentations and Animation: Apple Keynote
Keynote runs circles around PowerPoint for building great presentations, but often missed are its very powerful animation features (can be exported to movies or GIFs).
Stock icons: Iconfinder
Search 6 million stock art icons, find free and paid stock art.
Free stock photos: Unsplash
Surely everyone knows about this site (but if you don’t, once you visit you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard of it before).
Free video footage: Pixabay
Great for video clips, but also includes images, vectors and music.
Video/Audio Capture/Conversion: Handbrake
Need to convert a video or audio file from one format to another? VLC (below) works great and has more format options, but Handbrake is a simpler tool.
Another for Video/Audio Capture/Conversion: VLC
Download an online video from YouTube, copy it from a DVD or practically any other source. Capture most media formats and covert them to almost any other format.
Video screen capture and editing: Screenflow
A super versatile video capture and editing application. Great for basic video editing, screen recordings, camera capture, creating instructional videos with highlighted mouse movements, and much more. Paid software. A nice alternative to Camtasia or an expensive Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.
Prototyping for websites and apps: Axure
Relatively expensive (unfortunately Axure has followed Adobe, Microsoft and others into the subscription model). That said, no other prototyping tool comes close in my opinion.
Moderated User Testing Tool: Zoom
It’s hard to beat Zoom for moderated tests because the UI is familiar to most people these days, and it’s excellent for desktop or mobile. Recording is simple. Great for one-on-one or team observation.
Heat maps: CrazyEgg
Subscriptions start at $24/month. More helpful than Google Analytics to see where people are clicking on your website.
UX newsletter: UX Design Weekly
Ok, not really a tool, but a great resource: weekly email with curated UX articles, clean and simple with very minimal advertising. Buy editor Kenny Chen a virtual cup of coffee.
Collaborative whiteboard: Miro
Simple way to create whiteboards to organize thoughts, brainstorm, do card sorting and much more, alone or in collaboration with other team members.
Online surveys: SurveyPlanet
Nice free alternative to Survey Monkey.
SEO page crawler: Screaming Frog
Want a quick list of all the meta page descriptions on a website? Crawl a website to get a page list, copy meta tags and more.
Identify fonts on a web page: WhatFont
Chrome plugin – click a font to see its name, size, weight, line height and color.
Email QA testing: Litmus
Pricy at $99 a month, but essential to make sure your broadcast emails look good in all desktop and mobile mail clients and your emails stay out of SPAM filters. (A paid MailChimp subscription gives you access for less.)
Browser compatibility testing: CrossBrowserTesting
A little pricy with plans starting at $41 a month, but an essential tool to test your website on desktop and mobile devices across all platforms.
What tools do you love?
Please add to the list. If you have tools or resources you like better that those above, or ones that you use for purposes not mentioned in this post, please share in the comments box — thanks!