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    • Design and Specification Tools
    Design and Specification Tools

    There is an entire world of great design tools out there. Here, again, we aim to provide you with a highly curated list of tools - outside of the general go-to ones like Figma and Adobe - that we ourselves use on a daily basis and which have made a profound impact on the way in which we work and the quality of what we are able to produce.

    On Your Marks

    Before recommending tools, our mentors have provided some great resources to familiarise you with the best practices for design thinking, human-centred designed, quick iteration and user feedback. Please go through these carefully before you start any new project.

    Deep Work

    Andrej and his team will lead you through exactly how to prototype and how to run user tests, with a list of fantastic case studies. A strong favourite of all Kernel fellows so far.

    Hypersprint

    Meet Miro: an online collaborative whiteboard platform. This specific template will provide you with a template for hypersprints from our friends at DeepWork Design Studios.

    Remote Design Sprint Cheatsheet

    A really useful tool made by one of our design mentors. Complement with Ryan Cordell's content design in Figma.

    Made by Zach Herring.

    Creative Confidence

    Written by the founders of IDEO: unleash the creativity within!

    Qualitative vs Quantitative

    An insightful article on the do's and don'ts of user testing, which will lead you onto a world-leading site for this kind of work. Enjoy exploring further!

    Sprint

    A great book, recommended by our design mentors Katie and Zach, for getting started with design practices which will produce useful products.

    Get Set

    Before going anywhere near writing code or actual software, you need to be speaking to users, doing the sorts of research outlined above, testing your hypotheses, iterating on your ideas and exploring the space around your initial thoughts. Stephen Johnson calls this the "adjacent possible". Here are some great tools for sketch out ideas in a way that will allow you to test them without committing too many resources in the wrong directions.

    Excalidraw

    Open-source, collaborative, e2e encrypted sketching app. Need we say more?

    Balsamiq

    Rapid, effective and fun wireframing software.

    Whimsical

    A visual workspace. You can build more beautiful flow charts more easily in here than in Diagrams.net, though perhaps not quite as extensive or complicated.

    H/T Nazzareno Massari

    sketch.systems

    A tool for prototyping state machines. Useful for whiteboarding sessions and iterating quickly with designs which you can play with in real time.

    H/T Mike Ryan

    Machinations

    A tool intended for game designers which can be put to great use for mechanism design and token economics.

    H/T James Young

    Loom

    The expressiveness of video with the convenience of messaging. Easily linked to GitHub. Great for code review and collaborative design.

    H/T Jo-Ann Hamilton.

    Go!

    Now that you've done proper user testing, whiteboarded your ideas with your team and your users, conducted multiple rounds of research, iteration and feedback and sketched out in increasingly greater detail a product the world actually needs, you can begin to think about full-on design systems to make the work easy, modular, flexible and adaptable to an ever-changing market in which you're trying to find a sustainable fit.

    Rimble

    An open-source library of React components and guides to help you make dApps everyone can use. Here is the Figma board.

    DAI-UI

    Though in early stages, there are some useful recipes here. It also uses theme-ui, so check out that library for all your normal design needs, especially if you're building in React.

    Design for Developers

    One of the most widely used repos of design resources for developers on GitHub.

    H/T Rachel Black.

    Recordings

    How to stop building 💩 people do not need

    Catch up on our first design session with Zach (Consensys) and Katie (Google).

    They discuss human-centred design and best practices for user research and feedback.

    Hypersprint with Deepwork

    Catch up with Session 1 of DeepWork's HyperSprint sessions.

    Andrej introduces a streamlined sprint process for building awesome prototypes in 4 days flat.

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