Better Design Research with Eagle, Part 1: Why Eagle?

Quick intro to design research and our quest to find the right tool for the job

Raffaele Gesulfo
Feb 13, 2018 · 5 min read
Eagle desktop app on Mac OS.

In this series, we would like to share our adventures finding the right tool to do better design research. TL;DR: We found what we were looking for with Eagle. We will also share how we are using this amazing tool in the second and third parts.

A little bit of context

So far, whenever we needed to design a new app from scratch or improve an existing feature, we instinctively did some kind of informal design research to inform our design decisions. Our research included visuals, such as screenshots and infographics from contemporaries and competitors.

The growing pain of design research

So we did what we do best as designers: find a solution to our problem. And so began our quest for the perfect tool for the job. We weren’t sure of what we were looking for. Only that we would need a tool to collect quickly a lot of images, share them easily with the team, and organize them in a proper way so that we could search for what we need at any time.

What are the tools out there?

InVision

InVision has a feature named “Boards” that helps designers collect inspirations in a very nice way. The main problem with this solution is that it’s hard to organize images. There is also no way to search for specific images, or notes, which makes it very difficult to do research for a specific topic.

Google Slides

Google offers a lot of great tools to collaborate, such as Google Docs, or Google Slides. And since we are already using the whole suite of apps we thought this could be a good fit that wouldn’t disrupt our workflow too much. So we started creating slides for each feature and pasted images we found online on it. But once again, it’s not easy to search for specific topics, we had to add tags on the slide itself, but we could see more than one slide at a time. It was also super cumbersome to add new slides when we were running out of space on the previous one. Plus, the need to reorganize manually the grid of images ended up being very time consuming and kind of frustrating to have such a great tool not working for us.

Note: we are still using Google Slides for design research, but at a later stage, to show our findings as a curated set of images.

Google Slides with a few screenshots by slide.

Pinterest

We also quickly explored Pinterest’s potential. It is a well-known tool to quickly gather images online in boards that you could share with other people. That seemed like a great option, but we realized quickly that the search functionality was not working at all for our purpose.

Pinterest shared secret board.

Niice

We then tried this not well-known, and — let’s admit it — a bit buggy, tool. And at our great surprise, we found in its tagging system, a great way to organize and categorize our growing stock of images. Unfortunately, the search functionality let us down once again. So close…

Niice shared library.

Eagle

Once we knew the tagging system is a must-have, we were more selective on the tools to try. Introducing Eagle: this tool came as a providence. Not a lot of documentation, but a promising set of features we have been seeking for so long. We will describe its features more extensively in the following articles.

Eagle shared library.

Why did we pick Eagle?

A few other aspects we looked into:

OS: Eagle is available on Mac and Windows platforms. We also needed a cloud storage service to share our findings with the team. More of this in part 2.

Image Formats: we can add an extensive list of image formats in our library, such as JPG, PSD, MP4, GIF, and SVG.

Price: in the era of freemium, it might be hard to convince a company to get yet another paid tool on a monthly basis. But the beauty of Eagle is that we only pay once and it’s very affordable from the get-go. If you weren’t convinced, the price makes it easy to start using it right away.

What we learned

If you enjoyed this article, please help out your friends/coworkers to find it with a 👏 or a share.

Raffaele Gesulfo is a Product Designer at Narvar. Narvar helps retailers champion their customers at every step of the journey. Connect with us on LinkedIn or say hi on Twitter. By the way — We’re hiring, check out our careers page.

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