Many designers have tools in their toolkits, and today I would like to share mine. I would like to stress the importance of knowing yourself as a designer and determining what tools to have in your back pocket.
As a UX designer, every project brings its own challenges and knowing you have your toolkit essentials ready could save you a ton of time and energy. What’s in my toolkit? Glad you asked!! I will be sharing my 6 must-haves for any project.
Knowing the basics of UX Design will give you a firm grasp on the tools mentioned here. Read Hauwa’s Understanding UX Design blog post here.
User/Stakeholder Interview Questionnaire
This is especially useful to get to know your user and to see how the business goals align with the user’s expectation. Here are some examples of questions I may have in my questionnaire: “Why are we building XYZ application?”, “Who are the intended users of the application?” and so on.
UX Audit Checklist
An audit is usually done on an existing application, and I find it useful to have a basic checklist ready to go. Having a basic checklist ensures that the essential must-haves for a good user experience on an application are checked off the list. And of course, this checklist may not be sufficient enough for a thorough audit as different applications present different challenges. However, this checklist is a good foundation for a UX audit.
Check out Hauwa’s UX Audit Checklist.
Post-It, Note Book, Pen, Markers
Post-Its are good especially for focus groups or design thinking exercises. They are the essential survival tools for any UX designer. Notebooks come in handy during observations or initial user/stakeholder interviews for jotting down ideas, thoughts, emotions, etc.
Wireframe and Prototyping Software
In order to have an easily sharable and testable graphical representation of a solution, a UX designer needs to have a prototyping software like Figma which is free or Sketch coupled with Invision. I find prototyping in Figma relatively easy compared to Sketch, although they both have similar interfaces for creating mocks, Figma is an all-in-one web-based prototyping platform compared to sketch. In sketch, you would use Invision to create your prototypes, whereas, in Figma, the extra complexity is taken out by allowing designers to create beautiful mocks and prototypes all in one place. Please note that there are a bunch of other prototyping software out there to choose from, I use Sketch or Figma, preferably, Figma.
Other prototyping software: Adobe XD, Canva, Marvel, UX Pin, and Mural (used for design thinking exercises).
UX YouTube, Blogs, and Books for Inspiration
Just as a writer can have writer’s block, a UX designer can have creative block. In order for me to stay creative, motivated, and inspired I follow Youtube channels like AJ&Smart. I read blogs by UXpin, UXplanet, and articles by the Nielsen Norman Group. I also read books on human psychology, habits, and I am currently reading The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman.
UX Project Checklist
A UX Project Checklist usually covers the enter scope of a project. Sometimes only parts of the checklist is used depending on the project, but it serves as a general guide to ensure that important steps are taken for a better user experience. Some examples of my checklist would be: 1) Research and Persona development, 2) Planning; User stories, User flows, & Routes, 3) Brainstorming and Sketches, 4) Defining the Information Architecture and so on. You get the picture.
Those are some of the tools I have in my toolkit, what’s in yours?
YouTube channel from Jonathan Courtney and Aussie Michael Smart. Great for design thinking and getting the most out of design sprints.
Nielsen Norman Group
Heavy on user research and documentation, this blog has some great, in-depth articles about UX.