Collaborative design with browser-based tools

Crazydes - UX UI Design Studio
5 min readAug 24, 2020
Collaborating with your team is now easier than ever from anywhere in the world

Nothing has stressed the importance of having an adaptable workflow than the current times, but the osmosis towards remote team collaboration has been in motion for about a decade or so now. Designers have generally had it easier than other mainstream jobs because of the flexibility offered by the ever-evolving tools and technology in the market to simplify processes.

The beauty of collaboration

We at Crazydes have over time found that the best solutions were always unexpected and mostly came about when all the team members threw their ideas together from wherever they were. Collaboration, in general, saves time and money spent in transit, improves team productivity, reduces multiple file drafts (since everybody iterates on the same file with all the versions accessible to everyone), keeps the entire team in the loop and up-to-date.

But while it’s always more fun to brainstorm about a particularly confusing UX problem with your team in-person over chai and samosa, it’s crucial to know how to adapt in the face of adversity.

Our team of curious minds at Crazydes had thankfully been experimenting with quite a few tools to enhance the capacity of our teams to collaborate internally and with stakeholders when the Pandemic hit.

So, here are a few of our recommendations to help manage a small-medium design/UI-UX enterprise successfully from a remote setup.

For communication and team management:

Excel sheets are well and good, but it’s past time we started experimenting with intuitive interfaces that told us what to get done and when.

Web Conferencing — Google Meet and Zoom

Depending upon the scale and requirement of your organization, choose Zoom if you have a large scale video calling service jam-packed with features to whiteboard, chat privately, mute, react to participants, share screens, record calls, etc on a free version.

Web-conferencing is a great way to keep communication clear and the connections active

If you want just a fairly quick, private, and simple way to let the members of your G-suite account simply drop-in, have a discussion under 60 min without installing an app, or worrying about features, Meet is your answer.

Team Management — MS teams, Monday.com, Asana, Airtable, Basecamp

Yes we know, that’s a long list. Let us clarify.

The Crazydes team has tried all of the above, yet our stint with Monday has outlasted all the others. While Jira and Asana, closely followed by Basecamp and MS Teams are the juggernauts for team and resource management, your team members and stakeholders may not always be equally capable to adapt to feature-packed software.

We found Monday.com to be the most user friendly and easier to adopt for our team and stakeholders. For small teams to keep track of tasks, we also recommend Trello.

Best of both: Manage your teams and keep the conversation light

With a delightfully intuitive interface, Slack is a great free communication tool that facilitates conversations between teams with the help of text, images, file attachments, and videos through various channels depending on their purpose. It also supports integrations with multiple other tools.

Seriously, just Slack already.

Cloud-based design tools

White-Boarding and Brainstorming— Miro and Mural

We use Miro to whiteboard because it’s perfect for small-midsize businesses. It’s great for ideation and research, client collaboration, feedback, mapping flows, wireframing, etc with the bonus of customizable templates and a vast expanse of whiteboarding area. A great alternative would be Mural- a digital workspace that allows teams to think and collaborate visually to solve problems. With the speed and ease of use in creating diagrams, which are popular in design thinking and agile methodologies, Mural is a favourite among many big innovators today.

Wireframing and UI — Figma, Axure, Sketch, Overflow, Invision Studio

There are so many great tools out there for Wireframing and Visual design, that it’s difficult to pick a few.

Axure is exclusively designed to wireframe and prototype online while Sketch and Figma are popular because of their collaboration tools, hand-off features, and plugin support.

Click and drag together from opposite ends of the world

Additionally, both Figma and Sketch have a vast tool/resource library to create stunning UI as well. Other options to wireframe and prototype are overflow and Invision studio; they allow you to add fantastic animations to transform your static prototypes into interactive screens.

A few other recommendations to try out :

Google Docs is a great option for content creation; it allows you to work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations simultaneously with your team.

User Testing is another great service that helps with remote usability testing and getting real-time feedback from real customers. Couple this with the ease of Google forms to create stunningly easy screeners and surveys for smooth UX research.

Before you leave, we want to just remind you that an effective team is made up of efficient team members, and nothing hampers individual productivity like the absence of strong Wi-Fi. So before you put hands out and power off towards the galaxy of web-tools, make sure that your Wi-Fi signal is strong enough to reach your workspace.

With that, we hope you have a great time trying out these tools and figuring out what best fits your team.

Happy collaborating!

--

--