As an education technology and design startup with a lean team, having the right collaboration tools is essential aside from having the right people on your team. Imagine having to manage one of your team’s UX Designers input from all the way across the globe; how are you going to effectively communicate and ensure that tasks run smoothly? The presence of several business units across various regional pockets of the world has significantly increased. Communication is key when it comes to running any sort of business and having the right tools ensures to avoid possible miscommunication and streamlines the workflow process. With the vast variety of tools available out there, we’d like to share the best collaboration tools for creative design processes that have effectively worked for our team.
COLLABORATION + WORKFLOW RELATED
1. Notion — Team Collaboration & Project Management Tool
This platform provides a great one-stop workspace where you can write, plan, collaborate and be organized with your team. The workspace allows you to use building blocks to create your own layout to complete tasks, document your work, create a wiki page for your software development team, and even a lightweight CRM tool. It’s Asana, Trello, Airtable, and Google Docs all at once in a Medium-like interface!
Notion has been of great help to us in terms of streamlining our entire team’s workflow. Recording meeting minutes on the platform makes it so simple to recall important points that have been raised and what was discussed when. Each team member’s role and responsibility is also streamlined on the platform. This way, everyone is up to date on their respective tasks and when things are due. It’s newly added web clipper feature has also made our marketing research much easier by creating a repository of articles to refer to just when we need it. Embedding files, videos, and wireframes from apps like Invision is a breeze, making it a great repository to compile our research for new game ideas or document feedback and improvements to be made from gameplay testing.
If you feel that your team is overwhelmed with too many different project management apps and tools, we would seriously recommend you try Notion.
2. Airtable — Database Management Tool
Airtable, one of the hottest tools used in Silicon Valley provides a great way to organize creative teams and agencies, marketing and communications, product and user experience and project management. Best described as where free spreadsheets meet databases, it encourages organization, anytime and anywhere. In addition, its volatile fields can handle any form of content. Essentially, it’s your all in one workspace to maintain databases, link content and to streamline processes in your organization or workspace.
Airtable has definitely got to be our team’s favourite database management platform. We widely use the platform to streamline our entire HR process. With its Zapier integration, all interested applicants’ information including their resumes is directly populated into our HR base, making the hiring process so much more streamlined and hassle-free. As a team who also runs various workshops, the platform has also been a great help in scheduling upcoming workshops, instructors and facilitators and the time and venue of workshops. Aside from that, we also use it when designing prototypes to maintain a repository of each card type and its functions when it comes to the game design process.
Airtable is really versatile and if you upgrade to the paid version, there are multiple blocks and APIs that you can utilize to boost your productivity through automation and batch updating. Sign up for Airtable here.
3. Zapier — Workflow automation
“Time is money”, being able to save time on menial repetitive task leaves us more time for product development and customer engagement. Zapier allows you to create automated workflows by integrating various apps. From sending a follow-up email to creating financial documents, Zapier can accomplish all of it on its own. We took saving time to an extreme because one of our team members used it to create a lunch bot in Slack (by running a Python script in Zapier) to decide where we should eat every day 😅.
Integrating with more than 1000 applications, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to port data from one app to the other while you are asleep. Sign up for Zapier to start your automation journey.
4. Realtime Board — Whiteboard Designer Tool
Realtimeboard is best summed up as your very own digitized physical whiteboard. They provide an incredible selection of templates to choose from include project management, innovation and ideation, UX research, design and mind mapping. Enabling you to kickstart your design journey from the research stage all the way to making your very first prototype, realtime board is the all in one workspace with an infinite canvas.
To get a better understanding of our business model for our upcoming game, we essentially drew up a Business Model Canvas using its boards to understand the problem we are trying to solve, the solution we are providing, revenue streams, etc. This information is vital when it comes to building and designing a new product. In addition, anyone with the sharing link is also able to collaborate and input their feedback as well.
Start documenting your team’s work in an easy to read manner with Realtime board. Sign up for Realtime Board here.
5. Marvel — Prototyping Tool
Marvel is a great platform for designers to create digital products and bring their ideas to life. Its user-friendly design tools have got your entire design process covered. The platform not only supports low fidelity prototypes but high ones as well. Its supportive application supports designers from wireframing, designing and all the way to prototyping. You can even conduct user tests to see how your prototype fairs with fellow designers, enabling you to obtain feedback and iterate on your designs.
Our team absolutely loves Marvel due to its volatility and flexibility. Being able to see how each wireframe looks like on a storyboard has been of great help in the development process of our upcoming game. We first started off by drawing out how the respective screens were going to look like at each stage and transitions. After which, we uploaded them directly to marvel and added in the transitions, for eg: “Swipe Right”. This not only provides clarity in the design process but also gives you a good overview of how the entire interface is going to function.
Sign up for Marvel here.
6. Mentimeter — Interactive Presentation Tool
Mentimeter enables users to create fun and interactive presentations to make events, presentations, lectures, and workshops captivating. It works on an Audience Response System which provides immediate feedback to presenters. A great tool for anyone in the education or events space. Aside from that, it’s also widely used amongst teams to make effective decisions, conduct self-assessments and reflections and analyzing audiences. Some of its benefits include increased participation, openness due to anonymity and better retention and learning outcomes when it comes to presentations.
We personally use Mentimeter whenever we are running events or workshops, regardless of the scale of the event. We recently conducted a Hackathon for over 300 students and this platform was extremely useful in helping us collect feedback and document research throughout the process. Shown below are some examples of the questions that were asked. Getting feedback is a quintessential component of any design process, Mentimeter allows us to quickly obtain and visualize meaningful data from users that directly influence our decision-making process.
The applications of Mentimeter are boundless. Other than using it with your external audience, use it internally during your team meetings to ideate or align our goals and expectations for a new project. A quiz function (similar to Kahoot’s style) is also conveniently built into the platform, which is great for company-wide gatherings and events. If your work revolves around engaging audiences, Mentimeter is truly a worthy expense. Sign up for Mentimeter here.
If you’re keen on finding out about more tools to increase productivity and efficiency, leave your email here and we’ll send a great toolkit right over! Here’s a little sneak peek of what you’ll get :)