New UX Tools and Resources

by | June 15th, 2015

The user experience (UX) space changes pretty quickly. Trends and tools come and go at an almost daily pace. As a result, UX professionals generally appreciate anything that makes it easier to stay on top of the latest things happening in our area of expertise. To help this cause, I’ve put together a list of some favorite UX tools and resources of late.

UX Tools


Atomic is a new web-based prototyping tool that tons of people are talking about. The creators of Atomic were inspired to create a prototyping tool to fill the hole left by the now defunct Adobe Fireworks.

First impression: Atomic is a pretty robust and lightweight tool — a good combination. The tool works well for mocking up screens and is especially useful for defining animations between them.

Details: Unlike other tools, like Axure, each interaction requires a new page. This means you can’t animate objects within a page. That approach has strengths and weaknesses, but it means this tool is probably intended for mapping out relatively small flows — although it’s definitely capable of handling more. At the very least, it’s a tool that’s pretty easy to learn and use, and it’s free (for now).

thumbs up rating gif
Definitely worth checking out.

Editor’s note: In October 2015, Atomic officially launched, along with new pricing.

A Web Whiteboard

This app is super simple. However, it could definitely be useful for those who don’t…
whiteboard_wall for ux
…have whiteboard painted walls at your office. Just using this opportunity to show off our newly-renovated digs!

First Impression: If you need to jot down a quick idea, wireframe, flow, etc., then a web whiteboard might be the tool for you.

Details: This is basically a simplified web-based MSPaint that allows you to download your sketch and/or share with collaborators.

high five rating gif
Simple and useful, what’s not to like?

UX Resources

UX Checklist

Good user experience depends on the coordination of various details across many different levels — from high-level IA to the microinteractions that reduce stress (or maybe even create happiness) — and there are UX considerations to be made at each stage of any given project. For anyone who is paranoid about forgetting things, behold: UX Checklist.

Details: The UX checklist is a helpful reminder of the details that comprise a good experience. A quick look here would benefit anyone working their way through the UX process, or even working on a specific piece of it. You can use it as a checklist, as it’s intended, or simply as a tool for explaining UX to anyone unfamiliar with the notion.

rating gif I'll allow it
Pretty good, as far as checklists go!

UX Design Weekly

UX Design Weekly is a curated weekly newsletter of UX-related links, sent via email every friday curated by Kenny Chen.

Details: It’s a mix of articles, tools/resources, designer profiles, and jobs. This can be delivered right to your inbox, and is well-curated (read: useful).

rating gif cheers
UX is hard to keep up with sometimes, so this is one of many ways to stay on top of the important conversations happening in UX.

Designer Hangout

Designer Hangout is a UX community based on everyone’s favorite new platform: Slack.

Details: You can join or follow along with discussions happening on Slack channels dedicated to topics you’re interested in (like UX tools, or user research), or join a local channel to connect with designers in your area. They also feature regular AMAs with ‘key players’ in the industry. AMAs are archived on their site (accessible to the general public) if you’re interested in reading, but not joining.

rating gif - nod
It’s still pretty young, but definitely has potential to be a powerful tool, if participation continues to grow.

All the Slides + More from the 2015 IA Summit

It seems like there are UX-related conferences happening all the time. And one of the great things about the internet is letting the information from these events come to you.

Details: If you didn’t make it to the IA Summit in Minneapolis this year, don’t feel left out: here’s a huge repository of resources from the event.

rating gif - tiny dance
Is it as good as going to the real thing? Probably not, but we’ll take what we can get.

Your Favorite New UX Tools

Have a favorite new UX-thing that we missed? Favorite Community tv show gif? Let us know either one in the comments section below.


  • Micah Tinklepaugh

    Atomic looks promising. Though you can put many interactions all on one page in Axure using dynamic panels. Atomic seems to just gives really great animations that you don’t have to build from scratch which can be tedious. I’m gonna check Atomic more for sure. Great find. Another tool akin to A whiteboard is UX Design weekly is pretty rad. Another resource like this is UX Thought of the Day Those are pretty inspiring. I REALLY like the check list you included. Nice blog!

  • Carrie Nusbaum

    Thanks Micah! I’ll definitely check out + UX TODT. To clarify – I definitely use dynamic panels all the time in Axure, I was just noting that it’s one way the two tools differ (although Atomic is really not any worse for it). Atomic’s strength is definitely in the great animations, as you say. Thanks again for the thoughts!