UX software is becoming a big set of tools common to the computing industry. Each year, new companies introduce new tools for an increasingly diverse set of solutions and capacities. With that in mind, there are a boundless number of UX tools out there to choose from and there are a multitude of basic types of software that all coexist within this category as well. For someone new to UX, UX software can be very overwhelming due to its diversity and sophistication in some cases. So, with that in mind, I think it may help newbies to take a list of the best UX software, and break the choices down to phases of UX development in the order in which one would develop.
First of all, you need a core engine. This is the application in its unpolished form. It is around this core functionality that you will design the UX layer which works as an interpretive surface between the user and the internal functionality. Now, with a clear view of both polarities, the functionality engine and the user which it must cooperate with, you can work out a flow of how the two cross-communicate. This is usually done first by some flow charting, which can be done in whatever you find easiest to use really. But, after this, a basic concept model of the interface must be worked out. There are a few ways to do this, but many use a program like Balsamiq to do this. It doesn’t create a working GUI, but it makes models of them that work for plotting the real one from a visual base.
You can also use a program like Fireworks or use the Visual Studio or MonoDevelop GUI editors to work them out in a prototype that may be demonstrated if you desire. Following this, you will need an implementation system as well as a graphical design system for your interface, interface being the core of UX. The former entails the system in which the working interface will be built. This may be something you have little choice in depending on the deployment platform targeted. But, the most common ones you will experience are the Visual Studio and MonoDevelop mentioned above, as well as NetBeans, multiple visual IDEs by Borland and other specialized environments like AIR or Flash. Implementation of the framework is one thing, but visuals are another, and common software used here are go to graphics suites like Photoshop, Fireworks, or Corel software.
The final step in UX is actually something you may not have expected, that of help systems. It is the UX designer’s responsibility to interpret the programmer’s technical instructions into something organic to the user, should the interface ever stump them. This requires some psychology skill, and writing skill. Usually, help systems like this are designed using XML editors like DreamWeaver, to create indexed blocks of formatted text that can be displayed by the interface. From here, the rest of the process is handled by the testing and releasing teams, and the UX designer’s job is to monitor the outcomes of tests and marketing results from a distance, watching for signs of failure in interface. This requires no special software, only focus and patience.
But, you’ve seen what I’d call the most standard UX software in use through the process now, so you’ve got a head start on what to learn as a UX newbie. Good luck and god speed!