Best AI Tools for Design and Research

We challenge you to find someone who hasn't heard about generative AI. This allegedly magic technology appeared almost overnight and can write copy, create images, produce videos, and more. AI tools can also generate ideas and answer almost any question we can think of.

It’s a different question how well they do that, though. Before we get to that one, there’s an even bigger question to consider: What can this magical technology do for us as designers and researchers? How can it help us? Will it take over our jobs any time soon? Read our article about AI tools for design and research to get a closer overview.

AI tools in design and research

To answer the above questions, we set out to do some research of our own. Sure, ChatGPT takes the lead in most conversations regarding AI products, and nearly everyone knows about Midjourney. But we truly believed that other AI products are out there – especially for design and research.

Also, we believe it’s crucial to start experimenting with these as soon as possible. Young as this technology may be, it’s poised to have an impact, especially on productivity. There are countless studies in this area, so we won’t go into details. But if you’re curious about these, Jakob Nielsen talks about some of them in his article.

How we collected these tools

To ensure we covered everything, we went as broad as possible. We checked all the AI tool repositories we could find, searched for AI design and research tools, reached out to our networks on LinkedIn, and asked inside UX Studio as well. 

With this approach, we hoped to find all the tools with great potential – no matter how small these might be for now. Even so, it’s not a 100% guarantee that we found everything – new ones are coming up each day. Also, seeing most of the tools on the market is key to understanding this product space, how they can help us, and if they can actually take our jobs. 

Once we collected these, we started looking closer to see if they were legit. Here, we looked at trustworthiness through the quality of their website design and trust badges (e.g., Trustpilot reviews) to get an overall idea. We ranked these products in terms of high, medium, and low trust. 

We also checked if they were using templates or not – as best we could. In some cases, what’s called an AI product is just a few elements combined into a new result, which, to be fair, is not necessarily an AI product. 

What is not included in this list

For now, we focused on tools that would most impact design and research activities. We also wanted to include tools that mostly rely on AI rather than having AI in one specific area of the product. 

For example, Dovetail has some great AI capabilities for summarising transcripts. However, since AI is mostly a part of the product rather than the product itself, we didn’t include it in the list of tools we present here.

Also, there’s quite an extensive list of Figma plugins that use AI to some extent. Since we wanted to keep it tool-independent, we will focus on those in later articles. We’ve also been thinking about other perspectives of AI recently; for example, one of our articles discusses AI in UX writing.

Best AI design & research tools

AI tools for design and research

What’s next

We put together a general list. And to be realistic, it’s a lot. That’s why we went one step further and tested the products. We wanted to see which tools are the most relevant in the design and research process and how they perform – whether they deliver on their promise or not. 

Some of our designers and researchers went through these tools, selected the most promising ones, and tested them. They’ve also shared their opinions on the products. We’ve put together one analysis for design tools and one for research tools. Curious to see what’s next? Follow us on Linkedin and Instagram so you don’t miss out on the following articles.

Additionally, if you have a product or feature in mind, check out how we can help you with AI UX design and research services.

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