Video, Conference, Chat & Collaboration Tools Roundup

Updated July 29, 2020. See this twitter thread for details.

Yes, there are alternatives to Zoom

I often joke that people spend the first few minutes of any online meeting discussing usability oddities of the collaboration tool itself. There are many solutions out there for online meetings, video conferencing, chat, and other modes of collaboration.

The myriad of challenges presented by COVID-19 has spotlighted technologies that enable remote, distributed, synchronous, and asynchronous communications for groups of people in both personal and business contexts.

Some features found across these various solutions include:

  • Video conferencing for personal groups or work teams
  • Webinars and Events
  • Education and classes
  • Chat messaging
  • Screen sharing
  • File sharing
  • Enhanced security options
  • Custom hardware plus software solutions

The list below compiles solutions ranging from simple consumer software products, to open source initiatives, to enterprise-grade and hardware integrated solutions.

If I missed anything, please get in touch via email or on Twitter.

Illustration: Video Conference by supalerk laipawat from the Noun Project

Survey & Form Builder Tools Roundup

Updated August 5, 2020. See this twitter thread for details.

Sometimes people will ask me about survey tools, or I’ll see a solution that I want to keep an eye on. Therefore, I’ve created this list of survey and form building tools that I will keep updated.

Most of these tools share similar basic features. Others add more sophisticated options that start to blur the lines between survey and analysis tools to full-featured customer research and satisfaction platforms. Here are some of the attributes they share or offer exclusively:

  • Quickly and easily create a form-based survey
  • Control the visual formatting of the form layouts (from basic color and text styling to custom branding)
  • Ability to distribute the survey via email, web or messaging
  • Options to be kept informed of responses via email or other integrations
  • Data aggregation of the survey response results
  • A range of analysis features for survey results ranging from basic to in-depth analytics

The list below compiles software ranging from simple and free online survey builders to comprehensive paid feedback management systems that track the “Voice of Customer” and NPS.

If I missed anything, please get in touch via email or on Twitter.

Inspired in part by

Illustration: Survey by Arafat Uddin from the Noun Project

Buoymoji Rainbow is Third in Series of iMessage Stickers

Buoymoji Rainbow stickers in actionBuoymoji Rainbow is our 3rd release of Stickers for Apple iMessage on iOS. It’s available now on the Apple App Store.

This latest addition to our buoy themed emoji series includes whimsical buoys turned maritime emoji characters, with rainbow stripes and a blue-tinted body. They go well with our Basic yellow and Colorways sticker sets. Get them all for maximum variety.

The rainbow theme was inspired, in part, to support Pride Month.

Is it Buoymoji or Buoymojis? Either way, we hope you’ll have fun with this reimagining of classic emojis as traditional lobster buoys.

Take pride in adding a splash of rainbow and personality to your iMessage chats. Designed near the ocean in a seacoast suburb of Boston, MA.

A collaboration between James Young and Tim Walling

A Roundup of Product Management & Development Project Tools

Updated July 10, 2020. See this twitter thread for details.

There are a variety of tools available to help product teams manage the process of conceiving, defining, planning, executing, and delivering products in an and agile manner.

What works for your team will have a lot to do with factors such as:

  • Team sizes and configuration
  • Scale, scope, and number of initiatives within your group
  • Development methodology preferences, and desire for variations among your teams
  • Existing tech stacks and integration considerations
  • Geographic distribution of your team
  • Budget, and many other things not mentioned here

The list below is just a simple roundup of tools. If I missed anything, please get in touch via email or on Twitter.

Best wishes to all you product makers out there!

Illustration: Agile Methodology by Florent B from the Noun Project

Code-centric Design Tools on the Rise?

Coded components will finally become the source of truth in UI design

In 2018, I wrote about an emerging trend of tools that mingle visual design and code in ways that are notably different from typical “screen design” tools for drawing pictures of screens and creating no-code prototypes.

While this trend still seems early in the curve of adoption, I’m hopeful that this is the direction that things are eventually going. There are market signals to back this up. For example, Modulz raised $4.2M in seed funding in March of 2020.

Some common themes among these tools include attributes such as:

  • Designing with live data in an application environment vs. static mockups
  • Themes and reusable design tokens
  • Components that are production-ready, reusable, and iteratively designed or enhanced over time
  • Real-time team collaboration features that allow multiple people to work on a design simultaneously
  • Styleguides and Component Libraries as a means of communicating design specifications and fueling consistency
  • Integrations that allow for bi-directional import/export to screen design tools
  • Connections to any popular back end that supports a product team’s code-base

I’m personally looking forward to a tool with these characteristics, becoming the dominant design solution for UX and UI Visual Designers. Let me know if I missed any other examples.

Illustration credit: Feather icons “pen-tool”

An Unopinionated Roundup of Current UX Research & UI Testing Tools

Updated: July 10, 2020. See this twitter thread for details.

Whether you call it user experience, customer experience, human experience, or simply ‘trying to understand if anyone wants-or-can-use the thing we’re making’ – if you’re reading this, you probably appreciate the importance of iterative user research and usability testing.

This work has historically been the domain of User Experience (UX) professionals, but it is also becoming the standard practice for any cross-functional team developing products and services for buyers and end-users.

I’ve created a running list of all the UX Research and UI Testing platforms I’m aware of in an Airtable database. The live-updating list is embedded below for your reference. I have only used some of these solutions. If you are interested in my opinion or think I missed anything, please get in touch via email or on Twitter.

The list is simple in format and has a direct link to the product’s website. I do not expect that this is enough information to help you decide which tool(s) to choose.

There are lots of great product reviews already out there. If you find a tool of interest, I’m sure you are a quick Google search away from a detailed article or comparison.

Enjoy improving your ideas for – and implementations of – products and services by getting to know your prospects and customers!

Other UX Reading on the Web

Illustrations: co creation workshop, cross-platform, and feedback by Yu luck from the Noun Project