UX TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Following is a curated list of my favorite user experience apps and productivity tools, from UI design to cloud storage software. The tools are categorized in the major categories of UI design, code, collaboration, prototyping, user research, video editing, web hosting / portfolio and general productivity tools. 

Helpful if you sort by cost and category to find something you want.

ToolWhy It's GoodCostCategory
WebflowAs close as it gets to design-to-code: Webflow is an entire product that includes WYSIWYG page design, web hosting, all able to be exported at production-ready code. Perfect for designers with some frontend (HTML/CSS/JS) knowledge.$0 (Freemium)Code
BracketsAdobe's full-featured code editor$0Code
ZeplinAutomatically generate styleguides and code snippets based off of Sketch / PSD files in a format usable by front-end developers. Wonderful collaboration & design handoff tool.$0 (Freemium)Collaboration
AvocodeDesign handoff tool; the enterprise version of Zeplin$6.75/mo+Collaboration
Lingo AppCollect and organize design inspiration (images, UI, etc) in one beautiful, drag and drop interface. Amazing for competitive analysis and quick moodboard creation.$0 (Freemium)Collaboration
Macbook ProFor the simple virtue that most design programs are on the Mac and sometimes on Windows, get a Macbook If you hope to do any serious design. And skip the Macbook Air and get the Macbook Pro. The MBP is often necessary for large documents and video/photo editing, which Oz knows all too well is a pain in this ass with the svelte-but-underpowered Macbook Air. Make sure to get a machine with 16gb of RAM - which makes the biggest difference in speed for all designer workflows.$1999+Equipment
MailchimpBest and most advanced email management system that's FREE for up to 2000 subscribers. What Oz uses for all his emails. Great UX, intuitive campaign management & automation features.$0 (Freemium)Marketing & Freelance
BonsaiAll-in-one freelancing platform to generate beautiful contracts, invoices, and even time tracking.$0 (Freemium)Marketing & Freelance
ImageOptimIncredible free Mac app that dramatically reduces image file sizes, just drag & drop and automatically compress!$0Productivity
GIFBreweryModify & compress GIFs, like ImageOptim but for GIFs. Mac only.$0Productivity
TimeOut by DejalMac app that saves your eyes, ability to set screen "time outs" to remind yourself to take a break, stretch, look away from the screen.$0Productivity
PrincipleEasy to use Mac app to build animations in a familiar Sketch-like interface.$129Prototyping
FramerOriginally an animation-focused tool, Framer is now a full-blown, browser-based prototyping tool that enables you to create designs that export cleanly to code.$15/mo+Prototyping
OrigamiFree design & prototyping tool from Facebook's design team$0Prototyping
InVIsionPopular prototyping tool that imports. Invision has also developed its own browser-based prototyping tool$0 (Freemium)Prototyping
DropboxSuper fast file hosting and sharing, Dropbox now offers some integrated collaboration apps like Dropbox Paper.$0 (Freemium)Storage
Sync5GB free, great alternative to Dropbox because it offers password protection (think portfolio items & PDFs) for FREE. Stable company that's been around for a long time, on all platforms.$0 (Freemium)Storage
FigmaBrowser-based UI design tool with an awesome "forever free" plan. Quickly becoming dominant for not just UI design, but also seamless same-document collaboration.$0 (Freemium)UI Design
UX PinPopular browser-based design tool with deep collaboration & prototyping features.$29/mo+UI Design
AxureHigher learning curve, but ability to execute amazingly detailed interactions and flows. Available on both Mac & Windows, important tool to know if you're working in enterprise UX design. Free for users with a student email: www.axure.com/edu.$29/mo+UI Design
Sketch AppThe de-facto user interface design tool that's easy to learn and wildly extensible. Mac only.$99/yearUI Design
Adobe XDAdobe's heavyweight UI design + animation tool in one. Benefit of being on Mac and Windows.$9.99/mo+UI Design
UserTestingThe 800 lb gorilla in User Testing offers extensive options to get users to test your product, including the free user-testing on peek.usertesting.com.$0 (Freemium)UX Research
HotJarTop all-in-one analytics tool that offers heatmaps, click tracking, user behavior recording, surveys and tons more.$0 (Freemium)UX Research
Optimal SortThe best online cardsorting software; validate your content & information architecture with remote open & closed cart sorts.$0 (Freemium)UX Research
FullstoryLiterally watch your users use your website, with in-depth analytics. Awesome research tool.$0 (Freemium)UX Research
ScreenflowMac only video editing software that Oz uses to make tutorials & lectures. If you're on a Mac, Screenflow performs leaps & bounds better than Camtasia.$129Video
CamtasiaPopular Windows and Mac video editing software Oz used in the past for making tutorial videos and quick animations.$200Video
HandbrakeDrastically compress video sizes; like ImageOptim but for video. Mac only.$0Video
HostgatorEasiest & cheapest cloud hosting to build your custom site (including Wordpress)$4.99/mo and upWeb hosting & portfolio
ElementorExtends Wordpress into a powerful drag & drop builder tool. Regular version is free, Elementor Pro is only $49 for 1 site. Oz uses Elementor Pro for his personal website, OzChen.com$0 (Freemium)Web hosting & portfolio
X ThemeGreat for customizing Wordpress sites, X is a popular theme + drag & drop builder. UXBeginner.com is built on X Theme.$45Web hosting & portfolio
WordpressThe de-facto blogging platform. If you plan to write, build a brand or market your own product, Wordpress is wildly extensible (themes, plugins) but can take some time to learn how to configure. Wordpress.org is the free open-source version that can be easily installed on web hosts like Hostgator (what I do for UXBeginner.com), while Wordpress.com is freemium web hosting + blogging platform in one. $0 (Freemium)Web hosting & portfolio
SquarespaceIdeal for designing small, beautiful websites & landing pages. A bit lacking in blogging & content management features, but makes it for it with easy aesthetics & drag & drop designs.$12/mo+Web hosting & portfolio
NamecheapDomain name registrar with the best UX and competitive pricing.$0.99 and up per domainWeb hosting & portfolio
UlyssesOz's favorite writing tool, it's a minimalist (but full-featured) Markdown editor that has the best library view & workflow out of most text editors. Great for writers and content strategists.$4.99/mo+Writing
Copy Paste 'EmNobody uses clipboard managers; everyone should use clipboard managers. And Copy Paste 'Em is the best-in-class option that makes you 10x more productive by making your copy & paste history accessible, replete with shortcuts. It's the tool that Oz can't live without.$9.99Productivity