Our favorite collaboration tools for all types of UXers are not only visually appealing, but also extremely effective.
Many UXers have been utilizing online collaboration tools for years now, as the nature of UX is digital and thus easier to collaborate remotely across online platforms, rather than in-person. As such the number of online collaboration tools has grown rapidly and the options are now vast. These tools have the look and feel of pen to paper, with UIs often appearing as sticky notes, whiteboards, or notebooks; with the added benefit of real-time collaboration across time zones and superior digital organization.
To help us narrow down the top online collaboration tools for those working in the UX design industry, we asked internal Designlab team members and aspiring UX designers from within our community what their favorite tools are and why. Read on to learn more about these favorite collaboration tools for UX designers.
“Whimsical is a straightforward, hassle-free tool that can be used for visual collaboration. I use it primarily for user flows, task flows, and rudimentary journey maps. It's a fantastic way for those who think in flowcharts to show people what they mean without needing to make every single rectangle and arrow bespoke. The ease with which boxes can be connected with arrows, and how you can add text in the middle of an arrow without it being a big deal, has always been a huge time saver for me. I use tools like Figma for big projects and Mural for massive amounts of collaboration, but Whimsical is just lightweight enough to convey simple information and suggestions in a succinct, crisp manner.” - Robin Arcega, UX Curriculum Writer at Designlab
“My favorite collaboration tool is Framer because it’s possible to invite people with a link and collaborate both on the visual canvas and code editor. It’s possible to create very high fidelity prototypes which lead to better conversations between teammates and during usability testing. The prototype preview mode looks great and offers many features to change the presentation. The annotation feature has playful and fun animations. The community is diverse with designers, developers and more people using the tool and helping each other answering questions, sharing advice.” - Patrick Multani, Lead UX/UI Designer at Designlab
“We originally started using Mural as a team for group brainstorming and problem-solving. The collaboration features, like voting sessions and being able to "follow" the screen of facilitators, are really useful.
What I've been surprised by is that recently, Mural has replaced notepads and documents as my go-to tool for personal note-taking as well. It's so much easier to quickly get ideas down as sticky notes, to group concepts visually, and to form connections between different ideas. I've lately been storyboarding talks and meetings to more effectively plan productive group sessions, as the visual format makes it a lot clearer to understand the flow of a meeting. The mobile app is also better than you'd expect.” - Harish Venkatesan, Co-founder and CEO at Designlab
"Figma is an incredible design tool that is optimized for collaboration in ways that I had never quite experienced prior to using the tool. I’ve been able to leverage my knowledge in other prominent design software and optimize it in Figma, building projects with teams seamlessly and in real time, at a truly minimal learning curve. I’m a self-appointed Figma evangelist, though the program sells itself!" - Sam Friedman, Visual Designer at Designlab
“Asana is great for organizing projects and staying on top of work across teams. The one feature I can't live without is the Asana inbox which makes sure that every task-related notification I receive is seen and acknowledged. This keeps my other means of communication (email, slack, phone) free of congestion and focused.” - Matt Shaw, Head of Engineering at Designlab
“It's awesome to see how collaboration software is starting to morph the mighty notebook into something that ties it into how we get daily work done on desktop and touch devices. I've been really taken with new tools like Clover that combine an open sketchbook-like format with live assets, to-do lists, and task management. What's in my paper notebook, to-do list, and design files is finally coming together!” - David Sherwin, Head of Product at Designlab
“As a UI Developer, I collaborate with both developers and designers on a daily basis. Github is the focal point of our development team. It's where we all come together through code. Every developer can contribute code to projects while building together. My favourite aspect is that it keeps track of all the changes that have been pushed to the repository. Much like using Microsoft Word or Google Drive, you can have a version history of your code so that previous versions are not lost with every iteration.” - Nicola Bolton, UI Developer at Designlab
“When it comes to collaborating with designers, FigJam is a favorite. Not only does it give designers a place to come up with ideas together, but it also gives non-designers a place to participate in the brainstorm. What's great is we can leverage our Figma design library in FigJam to create artifacts that are consistent and on-brand.” - Nicola Bolton, UI Developer at Designlab
"Because I'm often working asynchronously with my team, Loom works really well to leave little video clips explaining what I've been working on and allowing them to pick up where I've left off." - Crystal Campbell, UX Design Mentor Lead at Designlab
“I’m in a lot of Discord channels, and our cohort has one to co-work and chat. I like that it’s less formal than hopping on a Zoom meeting (plus that 40-minute limit is a buzzkill) and you can add bots to do a pomodoro timer, play music, etc. What’s nice is that you can also share screens, brainstorm, and do mini group crits with each other.” - Valerie Wong, UX Academy student (Ishioka cohort)
To have a collaborative and community-driven UX design learning experience, and take advantage of peer-to-peer feedback on your designs through our Group Crits (along with all the support your mentor provides) we encourage you to explore UX Academy.