When it comes to Design Thinking in practice, there are three inextricable truths. It is better to do things by hand when you’re in discovery mode. Live interaction with stakeholders and users yields the best results. Designers are always seeking to add new tools to their toolkit, especially those that enhance communication and organization.
It is in the spirit of this final truth that we have collected the following list of online tools for inclusion in your toolkit. We have grouped each set by the process enabled or enhanced. There is a fourth axiom at work here too; free is the nicest price. We spent some time with each of these tools to verify usability, functionality and viable feature sets. If you encounter a link that is no longer working, please let us know.
Balsamiq is a rapid wireframing platform that enables you to quickly put together low-fidelity mockups, collaborate, control versions, and run user tests.
Smaply is a one-stop-shop for visualizing customer experience, Create personas, journey maps and stakeholder maps. Collaborate with others, share your journey maps to collect feedback, export personas and maps to use them in workshops. All in one flexible platform.
Swipe allows you to upload an existing presentation (or create it in Swipe), share a link and start presenting live to your team or stakeholders. What makes Swipe a powerful collaborative tool for framing your project is the ability to solicit feedback from within the platform all in the browser, all in real time. Quickly focus in on key assumptions and focus on your objectives.
Trello is a straightforward project management and collaboration platform. You can organize your projects into boards and post "cards" to keep all project contributions organized. Trello is visual system that is instantly recognizable and can be deployed immediately. Also great for facilitating in-person or even remote brainstorming sessions!
Cacoo allows teams to work collaboratively in real-time, 100% in the browser, to create a variety of visual diagrams. Start with a framing mind map and move to journey mapping, and then static prototypes all in one platform. You can drag-and-drop from Cacoo's large library of templates and graphic elements to create visual tools quickly.
Confluence is a powerful all-in-one collaboration platform. You can create and store all of your project documentation as a team, collaborate by providing feedback and leading group discussions, and keep track of iterations all in one place.
Similar to Balsamiq, Mockingbird is stripped down to the bare essentials for creating quick mockups in the browser. If your aim is to create a quick visual representation of your idea with a minimalist approach to adding elements, Mockingbird may be for you.
Pendo combines powerful analytics, in-application user feedback, and contextual guidance to help you record user behavior (and preference) within an application. Use Pendo to capture the user experience during your Learning Launch and future iterations in the live environment.
A big part of creating actionable personas is collecting actionable data during interviews. Ideally, you'll conduct interviews in person, but when it's necessary to collect information remotely, Typeform is an elegant alternative. More dynamic than a standard online survey, Typeform flows like a live Q&A session. Quickly customize forms for specific users, collect responses in one place, and utilize Typeform's analytics to organize responses for the creation of personas.
(With an existing Google account) Google Keep lets you create notes, lists, images, and audio, and save them on the Keep platform. All content can be shared seamlessly with team members and updated by any team member in real-time.
WireframePro provides a full featured drag-n-drop editor for drawing user interface mockups. It includes support for master pages, presentation mode, layers, auto-sizing of canvas, interactivity, icons, and more. If the Balsamiq interface is too simplistic for your taste, consider WireframePro an upgrade.
UserForge automates many of the elements that go into creating user personas. You'll need your own data, of course, but features such as adding an image and name to represent your persona, grouping personas by characteristics, and customizing your data fields all happen with the click of button.
Batterii is a platform that combines the best features from file sharing, white boarding and research tools to allow teams to collaborate across the life of a project. Collect and organize ideas, concepts and strategies in one view.
Built as an extension of the Business Model Canvas, Canvanizer is a simple to use mapping software that can be used for many different areas of your project including the customer journey.
Marvel offers a flexible system for rapidly creating interactive prototypes. The drag-and-drop features make it easy to move from static design to mimicking real-time interactivity. You can also deploy your prototype to a variety of devices with native functionality. In addition to creating rapid prototypes with Marvel, you can also collaborate with team members, stakeholders, and users to add comments and annotations directly to your interactive prototype.
Figma is a powerful, intuitive interface design tool that allows for creation of prototypes through real-time collaboration with your team.
Andrej Balaz is a freelance User Experience designer. In this article, he shares sharp insights into conducting JTBD interviews, discusses best practices, and provides resources for further learning, and shares his template for recording interviews.
If you want to add some visual flair to your story, Haiku Deck might be right for you. Utilizing a presentation slide format, Haiku Deck boasts a wide selection of font, layouts and images that will take your storyboard up a notch from simple sketching.
Bagheera is a full-service suite of journey mapping tools. If you're looking to get a rough user journey "on paper", you may be better served by one of the lighter free options above. If you've got enough data that you're ready really dig in, Bagheera might be your ideal end-to-end solution.
The Hyper Island Toolbox is one of the most unique resources for creative collaboration you will find online. You'll find everything here including tools to motivate energizers, unlock innovative insights, nurture self-leadership, support change through action, and build highly effective teams. Think of the Hyper Island Toolbox as a one-stop-shop for creative teams.
Kanban Tool is a visual process management solution that helps teams to work more efficiently, visualize workflow, and analyze results. This is a novel approach to capturing JTBD in a visual format that can be organized, adjusted and analyzed all online.
Again borrowing from Lean process to transform your JTBD into actionable items, KanbanFlow is the lightweight cousin to Kanban Tool. KanbanFlow is a feature-rich platform with an intuitive interface. The free version comes with everything you need to start tracking Jobs-to-be-Done.
Similar to UserTesting, Lookback lets you perform real-time remote user research. Communicate directly with users – see what they see and get their reactions. Test anywhere on laptops and mobile devices – no cables or cameras required.
HubSpot's MakeMyPersona is a unique online persona generator. The tool asks you a succession of key questions about your persona (kind of like a survey) and the output is an editable Word Document you can continue to customize for your persona(s).
For a more detailed mockup experience (with a much larger feature set), there's Moqups. This platform is for users with extensive experience building wireframes.
Mural is a collaborative thinking platform that lets you generate and share ideas (in the form of sticky notes), add visual aids to enhance your descriptions, zoom in and out within the platform enabling spatial analysis of contributions, and track changes to understand how ideas evolve. Do this all in real-time with team members both local and remote, all within one platform.
Nathan Kontny is the owner of Highrise, a lightweight CRM. In this video series, Nathan shares insights from interviewing users to create actionable Jobs-to-be-Done.
Red Pen helps teams quickly markup and comment on visual designs. Like Mural, Red Pen is designed to allow teams to comment collaboratively on ideas as they develop. Build your framing by collecting and organizing everyone's views.
Storyboard That is a straightforward platform for quickly creating a traditional storyboard by dragging elements into the frame. This is the next best thing to drawing your storyboards by hand. Customize your layouts, upload your own drawings, save, and share your boards digitally or download and print.
Testmate automates the recruitment, scheduling, and compensation for all of your interviews. Interviews are conducted in a live private chat room within the Testmate platform.
Uxpressia integrates features from several approaches to customer journey mapping into one easy to use platform. You can select from a large library of mapping templates customized by industry. Work collaboratively with your team to add data points and export your maps to share with stakeholders.
Alex Cowan has developed an integrated online system for applying today’s best practices in Design Thinking, Lean, Agile, and UX. He offers several templates (like the Personas template) all free and all integrated seamlessly into the Venture Design Process.
Visme is a visual communication system you can use to quickly generate presentations, infographics, storyboards, and more. The interface is intuitive, employing drag-and-drop features. You can collaborate with team members to create stories, chose from a variety of delivery options.