Free stuff seems to be good for traffic… my article on how to download free UX books is one of my more popular posts on this blog, a real traffic driver.
This time I set out to find some more good stuff for you guys… this time ZURB is the word, don’t you know about the ZURB? Everybody knows that the ZURB is the word… sorry, couldn’t help myself (reference).
Have you ever heard of the species called ZURBians? Well, they seem to work at a company called ZURB. Started back in 1998 by Bryan Zmijewski, ZURB claim to be a team of T-shaped product designers who help grow businesses and from what I can see, they are doing some pretty cool stuff. But what’s the deal with the name ZURB?
According their website:
Realizing that the obscure URL zbdesign.com was taken helped Bryan realign our name around our business goal of helping people use design to grow their businesses. After going through 50 four-letter domains, ZURB was chosen for its energy and also because it appropriately described Bryan’s hair. Today, ZURB’s fast “z” and stable “b” capture the energy and strength of the business.
Apart from being a bunch of designing rockstars, they offer some really useful applications for us non-ZURBian types, like myself
ZURB’s Free UX Research Tools
ZURB is in business to create awesome and effective designs, but did you know they also develop and distribute applications which you can use for your own UX design research? Now, you might know some of their premium tools by name, tools like Verify and Notable, and Solidify and Influence the latter two still being in Private Release. But did you know ZURB also offers some free UX research tools? Here is a quick rundown of 5 of my favorite free UX research tools by ZURB. Yes, they have 8 free tools, but I didn’t find the other tools as related to UX as I had wished.
Ever wanted to get some feedback on your design idea presentations? Do you find that you are getting nothing from sharing your Powerpoint presentations? Then try Reel. Reel will allow you to upload your presentation as individual slides (images) or documents (PDT, PPT etc.) and then present/share these online with your friends, colleagues… well, anyone really, they just need the unique URL to your presentation.
But wait, there’s more. Presenting your idea is one thing, but like I just mentioned, sometimes you just want to get some feedback. Reel will allow viewers of your presentation to give a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down to your individual slides. All that for Free!
Spur will allow you to critique any web page design using 7 classic design principles. According to ZURB, the classic design principles still prove true today. In Spur, upload an image of your design (or any other design for that matter) and walk through the 7 different settings. The settings will alter your image and force you to look at the design from a totally different perspective.
The settings include: Grayscale, Intersections, Contrast, Blur, Mirror, Rotate, and 50% Zoom. For instance, Blur will make you look at the design at a glance, without the finer details and readable content. Grayscale will drain all the colors from your design and leave to looking at the leftovers, how does you design hold up then? Powerful stuff… again, for free!
Have you ever experienced that moment, where you found an error on a page, or just thought of a great idea for a webpage? Now, how do you normally communicate this idea? You take a screenshot, dump it in an email, write your thoughts down and send it on its merry way… Well, that process has just gotten a whole lot easier.
With Bounce you can do all of the above from one simple too. On Bounce you paste in the URL of the website or page you want a screenshot of. Let Bounce snap the screenshot, after which you can use its annotation tool to add notes. Use the notes to say what you want, then send the ‘bounce’ to whoever you want and get the conversation started! Yeah, yeah, even this is free.
Remember my article on that 5 second test tool… the free one, well, it was all about Clue. Clue is a powerful (maybe the most powerful one of the bunch here) tool that does 1 simple thing. Clue can be used by anyone, simply enter the URL of the page you want to create a 5 second memory test of, share the link with friends, colleagues or anyone interested and wait.
Participants of your test will see the screenshot of the URL you entered for 5 seconds (well, actually it’s 5 1/2 seconds) and then be asked to recall as much as possible from what they saw. This way you can effectively research if the page meets the right purpose, and that that purpose is communicated in such a way that it can be noticed quickly enough. How about that…. and it’s… alright I won’t mention the ‘F’ word…
The newest kid on the block is Plunk. Plunk was launched about 3 weeks ago and I ran into it sometime last week. Plunk make it possible for you to do touch interaction analysis on a mobile design. By uploading your image of a mobile webpage, wireframe or application interface, you can ask participants ‘Where would you click…’ type questions.
The cool thing about Plunk is that it emulates the scroll effect. By moving you mouse (or finger on an iPad… iPhone was too small) you can scroll through the test page in order to answer the question. When you click/tap on the area that best matches the question, the click is recorded. The result is a neat heatmap of your page/wireframe.
Free is good, but high standard stuff for Free is fantastic. ZURB has done an excellent job of creating and sharing these tools. I would like to thank them personally for being transparent and free in their efforts to assist others in the community.