(FREE) tools you need to unleash design thinking
Updated: Mar 12
what is it ?
creative problem solving process
The first step in design thinking is to empathize with the people you are designing for, which means understanding their needs, wants, and frustrations. This is like asking your guests what kind of cake they like and what their dietary restrictions are. For this you can use an EMPATHY MAP. Here are some free tools that can help:
Miro: Miro is an online collaboration platform that offers a wide range of templates, including empathy maps. You can easily customize the template to fit your needs and collaborate with your team in real-time.
Canva: Canva is a graphic design platform that offers a free empathy map template that you can edit and customize. It's easy to use and requires no design skills.
Xtensio: Xtensio is a free online platform that offers a user-friendly empathy map template that you can customize with your own content. You can collaborate with your team in real-time and export the final product as a PDF or PNG file.
Lucidchart: Lucidchart is an online diagramming tool that offers an empathy map template that you can customize and collaborate on with your team. It offers a variety of shapes, icons, and images to help you create a visually appealing empathy map.
The next step is to define the problem you are trying to solve. This is like deciding what kind of cake you want to bake and what ingredients you need to make it. For this you can use a DESIGN BRIEF. Here are some free tools that can help you create one:
Trello: Trello is a project management tool that can be used to create a design brief and keep track of project progress.
Google Docs: Google Docs is a free word processing software that can be used to create a design brief.
Venngage: Venngage is a graphic design platform that offers a range of templates for creating design briefs.
Milanote: Milanote is a visual collaboration tool that can be used to create a design brief, collaborate with team members, and gather inspiration.
Brainstorm and generate ideas. This is like trying out different cake recipes and flavors to see which ones work best. For this you can use a MINDMAP. Here are some free tools that can help:
Coggle: A web-based mind-mapping tool that allows for real-time collaboration and sharing with others.
Mural: A digital whiteboard platform that allows for brainstorming, mind-mapping, and collaboration in real-time.
Stormboard: A web-based brainstorming tool that allows for virtual sticky notes and real-time collaboration.
Google Jamboard: A digital whiteboard tool that allows for brainstorming and collaboration in real-time.
MindMeister: A web-based mind-mapping tool that allows you to visually organize your ideas and collaborate with others.
After you have some ideas, you'll want to prototype them, which means creating rough drafts or models of your solutions. This is like making a small test cake to see if the recipe and flavors are right. There are several free tools you can use to create a PROTOTYPE in the third step of design thinking. Here are a few options:
Figma: Figma is a web-based design tool that allows you to create and collaborate on prototypes in real-time. It offers a free plan with basic features, as well as a paid plan with more advanced features.
InVision: InVision is another web-based design tool that allows you to create interactive prototypes. It also offers a free plan with basic features, as well as a paid plan with more advanced features.
Marvel: Marvel is a web-based tool that allows you to create and test prototypes quickly and easily. It offers a free plan with limited features, as well as a paid plan with more advanced features.
Canva: Canva is a graphic design platform that includes a wide range of templates and design tools to help you create visual prototypes. It offers a free plan with basic features, as well as a paid plan with more advanced features.
Sketch: Sketch is a professional design tool that is popular among designers for creating prototypes and user interfaces. It offers a free trial, as well as a paid plan with more advanced features.
These tools can help you create prototypes quickly and easily, allowing you to test your ideas and iterate on your designs to create effective solutions.
Finally, you'll need to test and refine your solutions based on FEEDBACK from the people you're designing for. This is like having your guests taste your cake and give you feedback on what they like and don't like. Here are some free online tools that can help you get feedback from the people you're designing for:
SurveyMonkey: This tool allows you to create and send surveys to your audience to gather feedback on your product or service.
Typeform: This tool lets you create interactive and engaging surveys that can be customized to fit your brand and audience.
Google Forms: This is a free and easy-to-use tool for creating surveys and questionnaires that can be easily shared with your target audience.
UserTesting: This tool lets you get feedback from real users by allowing you to conduct user testing sessions remotely.
UserVoice: This tool allows you to collect feedback and suggestions from your users and customers, and lets them vote on which features or improvements they would like to see.
Hotjar: This tool provides heatmaps and visitor recordings to help you understand how users are interacting with your website or product, and gather feedback on what they like and don't like.
UsabilityHub: This tool lets you test your designs with real users, providing valuable feedback on usability and user experience.
Feedbackify: This tool provides a customizable feedback form that can be added to your website, allowing users to provide feedback and suggestions on your product or service.
Rinse and Repeat! It is an iterative process until you get a great product :)