Caveman UX Tools

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

In our industry there are so many different ways to go about doing user experience. Visit producthunt.com and you’ve find a web app for any single task or situation. From creating personas, to flowcharts and of course hundreds of wireframing apps. But all these apps have one or two features that are missing. Therefore no single app has a complete solution.

So why use web apps when pen, paper and sticky notes work just fine. Paper doesn’t crash or require a system update. And unlike many web apps they won’t get bought by Adobe, Facebook or Invision and shut down.

Sticky notes

I’ve used these to create sitemaps. These help the team to grasp the project visually, which is easier for most people. Use them to map out complex flows. It’s a great tool for inspiring off the cuff thinking.

https://blog.placeit.net/great-products-every-ux-designer-should-own/

Post it notes

Make sure they’re the multi-colored packs. This way you can diversify what each color means as you put them up. In the past I’ve seen them set up so yellow is a site page or state, and other colors for questions from each department on that page.

Dot Stickers

These are fantastic for voting on designs or anything else. I suggest you make your stakeholders vote without having to explain themselves before placing the vote. This seems to remove the groupthink situation.

Post-it Easel Pads

Great for site maps and quick user flow. We’ve used them in lieu of whiteboards.

Pens

I generally try to buy american in most of my products, these pens are so well made and cheap it’s hard to find anything comparable.

Get as many colors as you think is needed. The ones I would suggest you start with are Green, Red, Blue and of course Black.

Notebooks

Your laptop can only do so much. A notebook is a lifesaver when inspiration strikes or your meeting is just mind numbing. Don’t spend your hard earned cash on Moleskine notebooks. They’re nowhere as needed as the art nerds say they are.

Baron Fig

The dot matrix notebooks are the best. Drawing straight lines is something that goes unappreciated. Cheaper than Moleskine and better quality. Also designed in New York with some kick ass smaller notebook covers.

I have to push the Baron Figs mastermind writing pad. This simple idea is so cool. One large pad to sketch away on your desktop.

Field Notes

I’ve never used these before, but they seem to be popular among young designers. Field notes are from famous designer Aaron James Draplin. Check his work out it’s amazing, and let me know how the notebook is thus far.

Books

These maybe the foundation from which you build a good career. And knowing these authors will give you UX nerd credit among your peers.

Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences

Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences 1st Edition

The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition Paperback — November 5, 2013

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter) 3rd Edition

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition

About Face

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design 4th Edition

Games

Yes, games or anything that gets your mind off the current problem you’re facing. These are some of the games I’ve bought recently to help me through a large project.

Coffee

The real secret to any great productivity list is this. No matter how you get it or what brand, coffee is a life saver.

These are the brands I drink now. They usually rotate with my mood. Though I like to experiment with different brands often.

COFFEE OR DIE — Black Rifle Coffee Company
Onnit Coffee — Caveman Coffee Co.

Understand you don’t need to purchase a new app, you don’t need to upgrade your system. Just use whatever tool communicates to your team. The best tools have always been paper pen and your brain. As cheesy as it sounds this will always be true. No one outside the design community cares about the new sketch app upgrade or Invisions Studio app. All the dev and project management team cares about is communication and getting the work done and organized.