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11 product discovery tools to level up your process

Sometimes it seems like product managers, designers, and UX researchers get more inbound messages on LinkedIn than some of the most popular people on Tinder.

Last updated

22 Feb 2022
Product discovery tools

There’s always a new tool that promises to be ten times better than the one you’re using. But if you took the time to investigate every product discovery tool available, you’d hardly have time left to actually do product discovery.

To help you out, we’ve curated a list of popular product discovery tools and categorized them by key activities in the product discovery process.

Looking for a product discovery tool to level up your process?

Hotjar's product experience insights help you understand what your customers need, so you can build a product they'll love.

Types of product discovery tools

There are tools to help at different stages of the product discovery process; we recommend you organize your tool stack according to these continuous product discovery insights and activities:

  • Behavior analytics and product experience insights

  • Collecting customer feedback

  • Customer journey mapping

  • Stakeholder alignment and communication

Here are some popular product discovery tools to help get you started:

Product discovery tools for behavior analytics and product experience insights

One of the most important elements of product discovery is understanding the product experience to learn not just how users interact with your product and website, but why they take certain actions. 

Tools that track user behavior give you key information about the user journey and their experience in your product, including highlighting blockers, pain points, and gaps that need to be filled to help them accomplish their jobs to be done (JTBD).

Here are some tools that can help:

1. Hotjar Heatmaps and Recordings

Hotjar (that's us!) is a powerful product discovery tool that lets you analyze user behavior in your product and quickly translate your learnings into actionable product experience (PX) insights.

Hotjar’s Heatmaps show you how users interact with your product, revealing the most popular and unpopular areas of your website pages. Heatmaps expose opportunities to improve your design, messaging, and functionality within the product to guide users towards the actions that will help them accomplish their JTBD.

#An example of a Hotjar scroll map and click map
An example of a Hotjar scroll map and click map

Watch Hotjar Session Recordings to see how real users experience your product. See replays of clicks and mouse movements, and identify blockers or issues that users encounter as they navigate your site. 

Recordings help you go beyond what users experience on your site to understand why they behave a certain way. For example, you can filter by sessions with rage clicks or u-turns to see where people get stuck or frustrated, and expose problem areas in your product.

#Hotjar Recordings example
Hotjar Recordings example

2. Google Analytics and Tag Manager

Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM) are great website analytics and behavior tracking tools.

Many of your new users’ journeys begin by visiting your website to learn more about you and your product—but they'll explore your site before and after they become active users. 

Create specific conversion goals to track the user journey on your site to understand how easy (or not-so-easy) people can navigate from one step to the next. Both GA and GTM integrate with Hotjar, so you can connect the dots between what's happening on your site, and why it happens.

#Google Analytics homepage
Google Analytics homepage

3. Segment

Segment is a powerful data platform that serves as a single source of truth for user data and events from across other platforms. It helps you categorize users according to specific behavior.

Use Segment to help uncover which user segments get the most value from your product, and use this insight to improve the product experience and prioritize feature development based on what these users actually want.   

You can integrate Hotjar as a Destination for Segment data. This way, you can use user attribute information from Segment to isolate a specific group of users you want to analyze. For example, you can filter recordings by specific user attributes to understand which bugs certain types of users face so you can fix them faster.

#Segment workspace
Segment workspace

Product discovery tools for collecting customer feedback

Comprehensive product discovery includes both quantitative and qualitative user data. Complement the data you get from analytics and product experience insights tools with voice of the customer (VoC) feedback from user interviews, surveys, and feedback widgets. 

Understanding the user journey helps you uncover users' goals and motivations in your product so your team can empathize with customers and build a product experience based on their needs.

4. Hotjar Surveys and Incoming Feedback

Back on the list is Hotjar, which gives you actionable customer feedback to complement the insights you get from heatmaps and recordings.

Hotjar’s Incoming Feedback widget lets users provide direct feedback about their experience. The widget serves as a virtual suggestion box, where users can select an on-page feature or element to reference with in-the-moment feedback.

#The Hotjar Incoming Feedback widget in action
The Hotjar Incoming Feedback widget in action

Use Hotjar Surveys to ask questions about the product and user experience. Sometimes the best discovery feedback from users comes at the very moment they’re experiencing frustration within your product. 

When your users are showing signs of frustration, like when a user is about to abandon a page, you can trigger a survey to ask why and capture valuable feedback about your product when it’s fresh in your user's mind.

#An example of a Hotjar Survey
An example of a Hotjar Survey

5. UserTesting

UserTesting is a platform that lets you capture video-based feedback. Seeing people's expressions and body language while using your product can give you a good sense of how they feel about it and help you empathize with their needs.

Adding this sort of qualitative user insight to what you learn from behavior analytics tools and surveys will give you a better understanding of the user experience, which will help your team to plan and prioritize your product backlog.

#Soliciting video feedback with UserTesting
Soliciting video feedback with UserTesting

Product discovery tools for team collaboration and user journey mapping

Mapping the customer journey according to what you’ve learned about the user experience (UX) helps your product team generate hypotheses, identify questions to ask customers, and realize new features your users need. 

Journey mapping is a vital part of the product discovery process and requires the right tools to help your product team and stakeholders collaborate towards shared goals.

Here are a few tools we recommend:

6. Miro

Miro is a powerful online whiteboard that lets virtual teams collaborate in real-time. Its sticky notes feature helps your product team hold digital affinity mapping sessions, while the diagramming tool makes user flow exploration easy.

Use Miro with analytics and tracking tools like Hotjar to visualize your insights and share an overall picture of the user journey.

For example, you could use Miro to create a visual walkthrough of your user journey map with screenshots of your app, and add heatmaps to illustrate the pages that need improvement.

#Miro ideation in action
Miro ideation in action

7. ProductPlan

ProductPlan is a drag-and-drop roadmapping tool that helps product teams collaboratively build product roadmaps in just a few clicks. It comes with customizable layouts and unlimited roadmaps, which help teams align on product strategy.

Use the roadmaps you create in ProductPlan to align your entire team on your product strategy. You can also share your roadmap with stakeholders across the business to give everybody a clear picture of where the product is in the development lifecycle—and keep everyone pulling in the same direction (more on that later!).

#A roadmap in ProductPlan
A roadmap in ProductPlan

8. Jira

Jira makes it easy for cross-functional product teams to plan, track, release, and report throughout the product development process using Scrum and Kanban boards to create easy-to-follow workflows with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

You can also use Jira to create roadmaps to keep a clear view of the big picture, track product requests, and use extensive reporting features to keep the team in the loop.

#A kanban board in Jira
A kanban board in Jira

Product discovery tools for stakeholder alignment and communication

Getting stakeholder buy-in for a user-centric product vision is one of the biggest challenges for a product manager, and one of the most important outcomes of the product discovery process. 

During product discovery, focus on capturing user stories to share with your team and stakeholders to effectively communicate user needs. This will help your team understand user data guides your product decisions.

Here are three tools we recommend:

9. Loom

Loom is a simple tool that makes it easy to record and share video messages using your camera, your screen, or both. It has a handy browser extension so you’re only ever a couple of clicks away from starting your video message.

Use Loom to walk your team and stakeholders through your product discovery process. For instance, you can record a video while you share your customer journey map on Miro, and in the same recording, look at Hotjar Heatmaps of problematic pages.

Loom is great for async collaboration, especially as more teams begin to work remotely and need to communicate with teams distributed across different time zones.

#Loom screen capture with video example
Loom screen capture with video example

10. Zoom

Zoom probably needs little introduction, but in case you’ve somehow missed it, it’s a robust video conferencing platform that makes it easy to hold engaging, collaborative meetings with colleagues and customers. 

Not only is it a great way to host virtual team meetings, but Zoom makes it easy to record and save customer interviews or product team collaboration sessions to the cloud. You can then trim snippets to share with stakeholders.

Sharing short clips of customer interviews is a great way to keep stakeholders informed about the user experience and help them understand the data inspiring your product choices.

#Zoom video conferencing
Zoom video conferencing

11. Slack

Slack enables communication and collaboration within your company through private and public channels. It makes it easy to share frequent, bite-sized updates with your team—which might include short Loom walkthroughs or clips of customer interviews from Zoom.

Slack also has many integrations that make it easy to share your work and customer insights. For example, with the Hotjar and Slack integration, you can automate posts of new Hotjar Session Recordings, Incoming Feedback, and Survey responses.

#Slack integration with Hotjar Recordings
Slack integration with Hotjar Recordings

Choose your tools wisely

The best product discovery tools make it easy for your team to collaborate, communicate, and stay on top of customer insights while bringing you ever-closer to creating customer delight.

While selecting tools for your team, keep factors like company size, individual experience, budget, and product development stage in mind.

Choose tools that help you connect the dots between what users are doing, and why.

Looking for a product discovery tool to level up your process?

Hotjar's product experience insights help you understand what your customers need, so you can build a product they'll love.

FAQs about product discovery tools