February 10, 2020

Designer Cheat Sheet: Tools of the Trade

Quick Access Toolkit

Organization is a key factor to the success of a designer and this article serves as a companion to the article about design process. It will help design teams have a quick access document to reference when in need of a reminder on which tools should be utilized when during the design process. This will cover each set of programs, softwares, tools, and more that will help develop artifacts, datasets, and strategies to use for the best product design outcomes.

Tools for User Empathy

1:1 Interviews with an analyst, client, specialists in subject matter, stakeholder, or users of the product to better understand your target audience.Concept Sketching can communicate your brainstorms and ideasValue Proposition Mapping helps to understand a product’s ‘selling points’Brand Guidelines educate, inform, and define design standards and the ethos.

User Research Tools

Analytics Review can be provided by backend analytics focusing on different types of user behavior, data, and trends.

Applications: Google Analytics, Moz Pro, Clicktale, KISSMetrics & Crazy Egg
Books: Web Analytics 2.0, Advanced Web Metrics, & Lean Analytics
Conferences: All Things Data & Data Science Conference

Competitor Analysis performing an audit or review of competing websites and apps; conducting user testing of competing sites; writing a report that summarises the competitive landscape.

Focus Groups of 3 to 5 people can be sourced through company resources.
Applications: FocusGroupIt, Zoom, & Voice Recorder apps

A Product Snapshot document has recorded data sets for specific success metrics or indicators about how well your product performs in different areas.
Applications: Kinsta APM, WebLOAD, Google Analytics

User Surveys are a staple of design which provide attitudes and preferences of your user audience in relations to the product or service.
Applications: Typeform and Maze

Usability Testing can prove the efficiency or accuracy of your ideations.
Applications: Lookback, Optimizely, and Click Heat

“No research is ever quite complete. It is the glory of a good bit of work that it opens the way for something still better, and this repeatedly leads to its own eclipse.”

Data Analysis Techniques

Cluster Analysis is an exploratory technique that aims to solidify and identify structures within a specific dataset.

Cohort Analysis is a behavioral analytic that takes a user dataset and breaks it into related groups.

Factor Analysis reduces a large number of variables to a smaller number of factors, which relate in a way

Monte Carlo Simulation is a computer generated model of possible outcomes and probabilities.

Regression Analysis is used to calculate the relationship between data sets.
Sentiment Text Analysis classifies emotions conveyed through textual data.
Time Series Analysis identifies trends and cycles over a unit of time.

Data Analysis Tools & Artifacts

User Personas are fictional representatives of users which generally detail separate members of the current and/or expected user base and their behaviors. These personas are comprised of qualitative and quantitative data providing the backgrounds, behaviors, goals, pain points, personal info, and their needs/wants.

User Journey Maps are a visual representation of the emotions, thoughts, and frustrations of the users as they use the applicaion. Building out a guide which informs when, where, and what parts of the product can be improved.
Applications for Data Analysis: R Programming, Tableau Public, SAS, & Python

Information Architecture Tools

Omnigraffle is a diagramming and digital illustration tool for MacOS & iOS that can provide diagrams, process charts, page layouts, mockups, and more tools.

Lucidchart is a web-based diagramming application that allows users to visually collaborate on drawing, revising and sharing charts and diagrams, and improve processes, systems, and organizational structures.

Axure RP Pro is a software for prototyping, wireframing, and diagramming tool for IA and Interaction Design which excels in it’s technical depth for interactions.

Figma & Figjam live side-by-side, so all design work, from ideation to execution, can be found in one place to provide brainstorming, prototyping, and design.

XMind offers a full library of maps for users to share their finished work.

Treejack is an IA validation product that proves the validity of your product

Conferences: IA Institute, Association for information Science & Technology, IA Summit, EuroIA, An Event Apart, IA Community Group.

Back to HomeBookmark It