Episodes Recorded

Ep.25 Tools (Dec 17 2020)

There’s lots of talk about which tool is “best” for user research or visual design. In reality, is it more about the tools you use or the skills you have?

Stickynotes episode 25 Dec 17 2020

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Details from this session

There’s lots of talk about which tool is “best” for user research or visual design. In reality, is it more about the tools you use or the skills you have?

Sketch or Figma? UserZoom or Lookback? You can get into arguments with people about the relative merits of each tool, but in reality a good UX person can and should be tool-agnostic.

Sure, it helps to have good working knowledge of specific tools so it’s easy to bend them to your will, but the actual skills transfer across tools and are tool-independent.

In five years time, you’ll probably have changed the tools you’re using, but it’s really unlikely the underlying skills will be out of date.

Despite our focus on skills rather than tools, we know you still want to know what to use, so:

  • Consider the context you’re working in. Will you have to collaborate with clients? Interact with participants? What are those people capable of working with?
  • It’s preferable to find tools that don’t require a download. They will most likely require less handholding and support time.
  • What are you trying to achieve? Often there are several ways to get to the same outcome.
  • What fidelity do you need? Some tools may be more technologically complete, but you can do an awful lot with marker pens and paper and a shared place to store photos of the sketches you make, or with a shared slide deck that contains the prototype screens you created.
  • What is “good enough”? What is “free”? – these days, several of the tools have moved to an annual subscription model. That’s expensive if you only think you’ll need to use them once.
  • What do your clients or your company already have subscriptions to? They may not be your favorite tools, but they’ll probably get the job done just fine.

Amanda’s course on remote research just went live. This course mentions several tools along with the skills and techniques you need to make them work.

To finish up with, Amanda shared her list of tools. Chris’ is much shorter because he’s grumpy and a cheapskate and uses low-tech solutions wherever he can, but he’s used several of these as well.

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