As the head of Product Design, my job is to translate the needs of our users into a compelling, intuitive product they use to perform their job. With each passing year, more and more design tools are created that help increase speed, collaboration, and quality of insights to make better informed design decisions.
The following list is a set of apps that I use at various stages of the design process:
The fastest way to rapidly prototype an idea is to grab a piece of paper and pencil and start sketching designs. This medium allows me to explore multiple parallel design directions quickly and easily.
Sketch has been my go-to product design app for a couple years now because of its ease-of-use. I can achieve the same level of design quality as I would by using Photoshop or Illustrator, but in a much shorter time frame. I use Sketch primarily for web and mobile app design.
Nearly all of my product designs prior to moving to sketch were created in Photoshop and Illustrator. I still use Photoshop as a design tool when I'm collaborating with other designers who prefer Photoshop. Photoshop is still the best tool for the job when I need to create complex graphics that aren't easily possible in Sketch.
Keynote works well for when I want to get feedback on a multi-screen mobile design, such as user onboarding, account setup etc. I'm able to make the transitions between screens feel like native mobile app interactions using Keynote's built-in slide animations. Keynote prototypes are linear, so it's best used when demonstrating a user flow that doesn't branch out in too many directions.
With their built-in collaboration tools, inVision makes it really easy to solicit feedback from stakeholders and other designers. inVision provides features that allow the designer to guide collaborators through prototypes in real time, which make design reviews more productive.
I've also used inVision to create interactive mockups to inform design decisions through informal usability testing.
Asana is a great project management collaboration tool. With Asana it's easy to track each project I'm managing, the tasks of the team working on the project, and the status of the project as a whole. Team members can stay on top of their own assigned tasks and collaborate with each other on the progress they're making.
Github is clearly targeted at developers, and I've used it to collaborate with development teams on design assets and front-end work. Github is also great for managing a central repository of shared design assets, as well as collaboratively iterating on the shared assets within a design team.
I've implemented Google Analytics on nearly every web-based product that I've designed. Google Analytics makes it easy to get broad insights about how users are interacting with the product. It can help me gather data such as the frequency that users are interacting with features, how much time they're spending in the app, and some basic user demographic information.
Mixpanel is an event-driven analytics app that makes it easy to track product success metrics. With Mixpanel, I'm able to measure success metrics, conversion funnels, results of a/b tests, and the actions specific registered users are taking within the app. Mixpanel requires a bit more setup than Google Analytics because each event needs to be triggered by the app explicitly.
The inPowered sales team uses Mixpanal in conjunction with SalesForce, which helps us better assess whether a particular user of our product is showing buying signals.
I use Optimizely when I want to optimize the performance of a specific aspect of a product I'm designing. Optimizely has an online editor that makes it easy to create and preview design variations. After the variations are created, I'm able to easily launch the test and get the results directly within Optimizely.
See my work in the following case studies
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