Productivity tools for the remote UX Designer

This practical guide was made for anyone needing a comprehensive list of remote work tools to help them manage their productivity whether you’re working on your own, with a client, or in a team. This is intended for those who are just starting their UX Design journey and need a place to get started with a good workflow :)

Figma

www.figma.com

The debate is real between Sketch vs. Figma vs. Adobe XD. After trying all three I’ve naturally gravitated towards Figma. Most of my work requires sharing with others and also letting them collaborate. Figma flawlessly executes on that. Also, I love how easy it is to prototype and use for usability testing for both desktop and mobile.

Pro Tip: (1) Components — if you’re new to Figma, definitely recommend learning how to use components. This allows you to change elements on a screen seamlessly if they are repeated in multiple places. (2) Pages — If you have iterations you want to create on your work instead of creating a new Figma file, just create a new page to have everything saved in one Figma file. (3) Editor — If you use the folder feature in Figma it will not allow you to have multiple editors but if you create a new file that is NOT within a folder you can have multiple editors. (4) Mirror — As a new designer the first trap you fall into is proportion issues, when you use www.figma.com/mirror you’re able to see how your design looks live and can adjust proportions accordingly.

Evernote

www.evernote.com

If you have multiple projects with different clients, multiple events to attend, and random resources to save — I say then use Evernote to capture everything. Not only are they all in one place but you are able to organize your notes into different folders that can keep all your notes for a specific client or project in once place.

Pro Tip: Date your notes in the title, they only show last edited date rather when you created the note.

Otter Voice Meeting Notes

otter.ai

If your conducting customer interviews via video call it’s easy to default to pressing the record button on Zoom. However, as someone who doesn’t have that much storage space to save lots of videos I instead use Otter to capture my conversations. They also transcribe your conversation in text you can read making it so much easier to revisit your conversations.

Pro Tip: Download the mobile app, don’t record using the desktop app to avoid lagging issues. Otter paid version also integrates with Zoom and can capture your meeting conversations.

Toggl

www.toggl.com

Toggl makes it easy for you to track your time by using their desktop or mobile app. This especially comes in handy for freelance work or projects you want to report on your UX portfolio how long you spent on them.

Pro Tip: Create clients and projects to organize your work clearly.

Notion

Notion.so

What isn’t there you can do on Notion? That’s the question. Personally I’ve used Notion as a habit tracker but it’s more powerful than that. You can have dedicated pages you can share across clients and teams.

Pro Tip: Start by exploring their various templates to help find what works for you.

Trello

www.trello.com

There are many project management tools — Asana, Wrike, Clickup. But so far my favorite is Trello, very easy to setup Kanban format workflow. I use this for both clients and teams I work with.

Pro Tip: Tag members into your tasks this allows them to know what they are responsible for and they receive email notifications. Add deadlines in order to check off a task is completed.

InVision

www.invisionapp.com

I use InVision to help with on the spot brainstorming or to run remote design exercises within a team. Also, collect images for mood board through their mood board template. I prefer this than Pinterest because you are able to comment on each image and share thoughts with your team. You can control the size of the image within your mood board.

Pro Tip: If you have a mac and running a design exercise, select ‘cmd + shift + 5’ to screen record your activity.

Airtable

www.airtable.com

When it comes time to prioritize your tasks or features I recommend using Airtable to organize. You’re able to have a lot of flexibility in how you create your list and color code them to easily identify visually.

Pro Tip: As you are creating your case study for your portfolio note that Airtable has an embedded feature that allows you to show your Airtable directly on your case study.

Slack

www.slack.com

Last but not least. If you started a group project or wanting to centralize all your conversations with your client, then I recommend Slack. I’m assuming most individuals who enter tech are very familiar with using Slack.

Pro Tip: Use @channel or directly call out who you are speaking to for them to get a notification in a channel. Also, there are plenty of networking opportunities by joining UX Slack communities!

Hoping these were helpful for anyone whose is coming in new into the UX industry. I know when I started earlier this year I was given plenty of design tools and inspiration to reference but lacked support in finding the right tools to help me with my day to day workflow. Hoping this helps fill the gap as you continue your journey.

Freelance Product Designer