Berry Picks: UX Design Collaboration Tools

Collaboration is the key to keeping your project team on track. Email and instant messaging programs can quickly overflow with the constant stream of information that most projects generate. Wrangling this information can help increase your team’s ability to keep up with the conversation.  

Project-specific considerations

When starting a new project, there is a wide assortment of tools to choose from. It’s always good to take a moment to step back and consider the right mix of tools for each project. Variables such as team size, third-party vendor requirements, client technical limitations, and expectations for delivery should all factor into the choice of tools for each project.

Having a stable of effective collaboration tools at your disposal helps making the decision at the beginning of each project easier. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • DoneDone: For bug tracking during the technical development phase
  • Dropbox: For storage and file sharing
  • Google Docs: For simultaneous productivity
  • Slack: For team conversations
  • Trello: For status updates and sprint scheduling

Taming the wave of information

Each project brings a new wave of information that must be digested, categorized and acted upon. Mapping this flow of information into the correct channels can greatly enhance the team’s ability to handle the influx and limit the flow of information into the team’s inbox.

Here are a few examples of our preferred communication channels and their associated use:

  • Slack: For instant internal communications
  • InVision: For internal wireframes and design reviews
  • DoneDone: For feedback from technical reviews

Using tools that work across the team

Collaboration isn’t always limited to communication tools. Using programs that were designed from the ground up for digital workflow can improve efficiencies across UX, design and development efforts. Sketch was created for modern web design. It has a flexible workflow with support for multiple pages and artboards. Designers can take Sketch wireframes and create designs without having to start from scratch each time. Sketch plugins, such as Zeplin, eliminate the need to manually create redlines and allow technical teams to access design specifications and graphic assets without ever opening a Sketch file. Sketch artboards can also be uploaded into third-party software, such as Principle, for prototyping and animation experimentation.

Part of any creative project includes gathering feedback from the team, compiling the feedback and assigning the associated tasks back to the team. InVision’s comment and workflow features are great for managing wireframe and design reviews. Team members can leave feedback, respond to feedback, and move pages through the workflow without the need for a dedicated traffic resource. This reduces the amount of back and forth through email and provides a single historical record of all decisions.

Here are a few of our favorite design-related tools:

  • Sketch: For designing and wireframing across screen sizes
  • Zeplin: For automated font, color and spacing specifications (redlines)
  • Principle: For testing out how objects animate on the screen
  • InVision: For internal wireframes and design reviews

Putting it all together

With so many great tools to choose from, it can be a daunting task to find the right mix for your team. While there is no silver bullet, the right mix can create efficiencies and streamline your team’s workflow and communication throughout the project lifecycle.

Categories: Experience Design, Visual Design
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