Online design thinking tools can come in handy—they help you organize your thoughts and plan your trajectory towards completion.
That’s because design thinking can be a bit…complex. Ideas with team members are all over the place, revisions are never-ending, brainstorm results get lost, scope-creep is nearly inevitable.
Here are answers to a few basic design thinking questions to get you started, with more on the best tools below.
What Is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is a productive and creative way of solving problems by building products that cater to a niche need.
Jeanne Liedtka, Design Thinking Expert, noted in Harvard Business Review that: “design thinking has the potential to do for innovation exactly what TQM did for manufacturing: unleash people’s full creative energies, win their commitment, and radically improve processes.”
The best business model is one that keeps the end-user front-and-center throughout the service design process.
However, brainstorming sessions are wasted time if you don’t have a way to collect and compile the resulting data using a platform that can make use of the data.
Design thinking can be hugely influential when it comes to developing new products, like when Braun set out to design a simplified IoT electric toothbrush, for example. Design thinking is exactly that: taking what you already know and building off of it to make a better product that answers more of the end user’s concerns for a better customer journey.
What is the Customer Journey?
The customer journey is the probable path (or paths) that your ideal users will follow during their interaction with your product, from introduction to completion. Human-centered design is important to make this journey as painless as possible.
What Are The 5 Design Thinking Stages?
According to Stanford University, the 5 stages of design thinking are: empathy, definition, conception, prototype, and testing.
Empathy is working to understand the end user’s needs (the “problem statement”);
Definition is the elevator pitch of what problem you intend to solve and how;
Conception (or, ideation) is creative brainstorming (“ideate”) to find the best solution through product design;
Prototyping is creating the most basic version of your product;
Testing is turning that minimum viable product into a fully functional, QA tested, launch-ready item.
What Do Design Thinking Tools Do?
Design thinking tools help overcome complex problems; for example, you may need to facilitate a design sprint and you’ll want some way to make sure the design thinking process, mind maps, and user research all come together nicely in a finished product.
Design thinking tools will also help organize the iterative process: that is, building and improving upon what you already have.
This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best design thinking tools available right now.
List Of The 10 Best Design Thinking Tools
Here’s a shortlist of the best online design thinking tools:
Find overviews and screenshots of these tools below.
Design Thinking Tools Comparison Criteria
What do I look for when I select the best design thinking tools? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria for design thinking remote tools:
User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Are ideas easy to post and group together by theme?
Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Is the user experience satisfying and engaging?
Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other online tools? Any pre-built integrations? Can it connect to storage software like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or OneDrive? Can they connect to graphics or icon databases, like The Noun Project or Adobe?
Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? Design thinking tools tend to range from $29 to $$$ per month, on average—does the tool fall far outside of that range? How many collaborators are included in the monthly or yearly cost? How many user persona are included in the cost?
Digisite – Best for design thinking tool for marketing, CX/UX, and innovation teams
Batterii – Best tool for turning video reviews into insight reports
Free Design Thinking Tools & Toolkits
Though they may have some limitations compared to their paid-subscription counterparts, using a free design tool is a great option for smaller teams or those looking to simply test the waters of the software first.
Design thinking tools can help you plan a successful product from start to finish. It’s a way to organize your design process so that no note is forgotten. They can help you visualize where you are and where you are going.
Have you tried any of the design thinking tools listed above? What online design thinking tool would you add to this list?