Top 11 Design Thinking Tools in 2024

Design thinking, a human-centric approach to solving complex problems, has gained widespread popularity for its ability to foster creativity and deliver user-centred solutions.

As the design thinking approach continues to shape industries and drive innovation, the role of tools in this process has become paramount. This article’ll delve into the top 11 design thinking tools in 2024, each offering unique features and advantages to help you enhance your design thinking journey.

1: Figma

Figma is a popular cloud-based design and prototyping tool for user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. It is known for its collaborative features and versatility. Here are its features, advantages, and limitations.

Features

  • Collaborative Design: Figma is a design thinking tool that prioritizes collaboration in the creative process.
  • Real-Time Connection: With Figma, your design team can collaborate in real-time, brainstorming and sharing ideas.
  • Designs in the Cloud: Figma keeps your design files safe in the cloud, so you can access them from anywhere, ending worries about losing your work.
  • User-Friendly Design: Figma’s user-friendly interface makes it easy for designers to create and innovate effortlessly.

Advantages

  • Accessibility: Being cloud-based, Figma allows designers to work from any device with an internet connection, promoting flexibility and remote work.
  • Cross-Platform: Figma’s availability on various platforms ensures that designers can use it regardless of their operating system.
  • Design System Support: Figma supports the creation and management of design systems and component libraries, helping maintain design consistency and efficiency.
  • Prototyping: The built-in prototyping capabilities save time and make it easier to communicate design interactions and animations to stakeholders and developers.

Limitations

  • Internet Dependency: Figma requires a stable internet connection for access, which can be a limitation in areas with unreliable connectivity.
  • Learning Curve: While user-friendly, Figma may have a learning curve for new users, especially if they are transitioning from other design tools.
  • Offline Access: While Figma offers limited offline access through its desktop applications, it does not provide the same functionality as when online.

Pricing

Figma provides a free plan with limited features and offers various paid plans for different needs, making it accessible to a wide range of users.

Figma Professional: $12 per editor/month

Figma Organization: $45 per editor/month
Figma Enterprise: $75  per editor/month

All these are billed annually.

Ratings and reviews

G2 Rating: 4.5/5 (969+ reviews)

Capterra Rating: 4.7/5 (660+ reviews)

2: Hotjar

Hotjar is a popular web analytics and user feedback tool that helps website owners and digital marketers understand how users interact with their websites. Here’s its range of features, advantages, and limitations.

Features

  • Heatmaps: Hotjar provides heatmaps that visually represent user interactions on your website. These heatmaps can show where users click, move their cursors, or scroll, helping you identify which areas of your site are most engaging and which are being ignored.
  • Session Recordings: You can record and replay user sessions, allowing you to see exactly how individual users navigate your website. This feature is useful for identifying user pain points and understanding their behavior.
  • Surveys and Feedback: Hotjar allows you to create customizable surveys and feedback forms that you can display to your website visitors. This helps you gather user opinions and collect valuable feedback.
  • User Recruitment: You can recruit users for user testing or interviews directly through Hotjar, making it easier to conduct usability studies.

Advantages

  • User-Centric Insights: Hotjar provides valuable insights into user behavior, allowing you to make data-driven decisions to improve user experience and conversions.
  • Easy to Use: The platform is user-friendly and does not require extensive technical knowledge to set up and use effectively.
  • Affordable: Hotjar offers a range of pricing plans, including a free tier with limited features, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes.
  • Real-Time Feedback: You can collect user feedback in real-time, helping you address issues promptly and make immediate improvements to your website.

Limitations

  • Limited Free Plan: While Hotjar offers a free plan, it has limitations in terms of the number of page views and features available. Larger websites may need to subscribe to a paid plan.
  • Privacy Concerns: Recording user sessions may raise privacy concerns, and you need to be cautious about what you record and how you handle user data to comply with privacy regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
  • Data Volume: For websites with high traffic and extensive user interactions, the data storage and analysis capabilities of Hotjar can be limited.

Pricing

Hotjar offers a free plan and various paid plans with additional features, making it flexible for businesses of all sizes.

Basic: Free

Plus: $32/month

Business: $80/month

Scale: $171/month

Billing can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.3/5 (200+ reviews)

Capterra: 4.7/5 (480+ reviews)

3: ClickUp

ClickUp is a popular project management and productivity platform that offers a wide range of features for the design thinking process. Here’s an overview of its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • Task Management: ClickUp allows you to create, assign, and prioritize tasks. You can set due dates, add descriptions, and attach files to tasks. It supports various task views, including list, board, and calendar views.
  • Time Tracking: ClickUp offers built-in time tracking features, making it easy to log and monitor the time spent on tasks and projects.
  • Collaboration: It provides collaboration tools such as comments, mentions, and document sharing, making it easy for teams to communicate and work together.
  • Customizable Workspaces: ClickUp allows you to create customizable workspaces, projects, and task lists, adapting the tool to your specific workflow and needs.

Advantages

  • Versatility: ClickUp is highly customizable, making it suitable for a wide range of teams and industries, from software development to marketing and more.
  • User-Friendly: It has an intuitive and user-friendly interface, reducing the learning curve for new users.
  • Scalability: It’s suitable for both small teams and large enterprises, offering flexibility as your organization grows.

Limitations

  • Complexity: While ClickUp is versatile, its extensive features and customization options can be overwhelming for some users, particularly those looking for a simpler project management solution.
  • Pricing: ClickUp’s pricing structure can become costly as you add more users and require advanced features, which may not be budget-friendly for small businesses or startups.
  • Limited Free Plan: The free plan has limitations in terms of features and storage, which may not be sufficient for larger teams or extensive projects.

Pricing

ClickUp offers a free plan and paid plans with varying levels of functionality, making it accessible to both individuals and teams.

Free Forever

Unlimited: $5/month per user

Business: $12/month per user

Business Plus: $19/month per user

Billing can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.7/5 (6,500+ reviews)

Capterra: 4.7/5 (3,500+ reviews)

4. Make My Persona

Make My Persona is designed to help businesses and marketers create detailed buyer personas for their marketing and sales efforts. Here are its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • Persona Creation: Make My Persona provides a user-friendly interface to create detailed buyer personas. Users can input information about their ideal customers, including demographics, goals, challenges, and more.
  • Customization: The tool allows for the customization of persona details, ensuring that the created personas accurately represent the target audience for a particular product or service.
  • Persona Sharing: Users can easily share the created personas with team members and collaborators, facilitating alignment across marketing and sales teams.
  • Downloadable PDF: Once a persona is created, it can be downloaded as a PDF document, making it easy to distribute and reference in marketing and sales strategies.

Advantages

User-Friendly: Make My Persona is designed to be user-friendly and accessible to marketers with varying levels of experience. It simplifies the process of creating detailed buyer personas.
Free Tool: Make My Persona is available for free, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses and marketers looking to develop personas without investing in expensive software.
Team Collaboration: The ability to easily share personas with team members promotes collaboration and ensures that everyone is aligned on the characteristics of the target audience.

Limitations

  • Limited Functionality: It is a relatively simple tool designed for creating personas. It lacks the advanced features of more comprehensive marketing automation or CRM systems.
  • Integration: Make My Persona may not directly integrate with other marketing or CRM platforms. Users may need to manually input persona data into their marketing systems.

Pricing

Make My Persona is free to use, making it accessible to a wide range of users. Its simplicity and effectiveness in persona development make it a valuable resource for design thinkers.

Ratings and reviews

G2: N/A

Capterra: N/A

5. Ideaflip

Ideaflip is a collaborative online brainstorming and idea management tool designed to help teams generate, organize, and refine ideas. Below are its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • Real-Time Collaboration: Ideaflip facilitates real-time collaboration among team members, allowing them to contribute ideas simultaneously from different locations.
  • Visual Ideation: The tool uses a visual interface with digital “sticky notes” or cards, which users can move, group, and categorize to represent ideas visually.
  • Drag-and-Drop: Users can easily create, move, and organize ideas using a simple drag-and-drop interface, making it intuitive to use.
  • Customizable Templates: Ideaflip offers customizable templates and canvases for various brainstorming techniques, such as mind maps, affinity diagrams, and more.

Advantages

  • Enhanced Collaboration: Ideaflip is designed for collaborative brainstorming sessions, making it easy for teams to work together in real-time, regardless of their physical location.
  • Visual Organization: The visual and tactile nature of Ideaflip’s interface helps users organize and make sense of their ideas, promoting creative thinking.
  • Flexibility: The tool supports various brainstorming techniques and templates, allowing teams to adapt their ideation process to specific goals and challenges.

Limitation

  • Cost: Ideaflip typically requires a subscription or purchase, which may not be cost-effective for small teams or individuals.
    Limited Complexity: Ideaflip’s simplicity may be a limitation for teams that require more advanced project management or collaboration features beyond ideation.
  • Offline Access: Access to Ideaflip typically requires an internet connection, which may be a limitation for users in areas with unreliable connectivity.
  • Integration: Depending on your specific needs, you may find that Ideaflip’s integration options with other software are limited compared to more extensive project management and collaboration tools.

Pricing

Ideaflip offers a free trial, allowing users to explore its capabilities. Paid plans are available for more extensive use, catering to various team sizes.

Basic: Free plan available

Plus: From $9/user/month

Billing can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.3/5 (2 reviews)

Capterra: 4.5/5 (2 reviews)

6. Stormboard

Stormboard is a digital brainstorming and collaboration tool designed to help teams generate ideas, organize them, and collaborate on various projects. Below are its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • Real-Time Collaboration: Stormboard supports real-time collaboration, allowing team members to contribute ideas and feedback simultaneously, no matter where they are located.
    Customizable Templates: The tool provides a range of templates for various brainstorming methods, including mind mapping, affinity diagrams, SWOT analysis, retrospectives, and more.
    Online Voting and Rating: Team members can vote on or rate ideas, helping identify the most popular or promising concepts. This can aid in prioritization and decision-making.
    Attachments: Users can attach files, images, and documents to ideas, providing additional context and reference materials.

Advantages

  • Visual Organization: The visual nature of Stormboard’s digital sticky notes makes it easy for users to organize and categorize ideas, promoting creative thinking.
  • Flexibility: With customizable templates and various brainstorming methods, Stormboard is adaptable to different types of projects and team needs.
  • Access to History: Stormboard often provides a history of changes and contributions, allowing teams to track the development of ideas and revisit discussions.

Limitations

  • Cost: Stormboard typically requires a subscription or purchase, which may not be cost-effective for small teams or individuals.
  • Learning Curve: New users may experience a learning curve as they become familiar with Stormboard’s features and interface, especially if they are new to digital brainstorming tools.
  • Limited Complexity: While Stormboard is excellent for ideation and collaboration, it may lack the advanced project management and task-tracking features found in more comprehensive project management tools.

Pricing

Stormboard provides pricing plans that cater to different team sizes and needs. It offers a free trial for users to explore its capabilities.

Personal: Free for individuals for teams of five or less

Business: $10/month

Billing can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.3/5 (40+ reviews)

Capterra: 4.5/5 (30+ reviews)

7. Marvel

Marvel is a popular prototyping and design collaboration platform used by designers, product teams, and businesses to create interactive prototypes and user interfaces. Here are its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • Prototyping: Marvel allows designers to create interactive prototypes with ease. You can link screens, add transitions, and create realistic user experiences.
  • Design Collaboration: Teams can collaborate on design projects in real-time. Multiple users can work on the same project simultaneously and provide feedback.
  • User Testing: Marvel provides tools for user testing and usability studies. You can share prototypes with users and gather feedback to make informed design decisions.
  • Version Control: Marvel keeps a history of changes and versions, enabling designers to revert to previous iterations if needed.

Advantages

  • Ease of Use: Marvel is known for its user-friendly interface, making it accessible to designers of all skill levels.
  • Quick Prototyping: Designers can rapidly create prototypes without the need for extensive coding or development skills.
  • Cost-Effective: Marvel offers a free plan with limited features, making it an affordable choice for small teams or individual designers.

Limitations

  • Limited Features in Free Plan: The free plan has limitations in terms of the number of projects and collaborators, and it lacks some advanced features available in paid plans.
  • Complexity for Large Projects: While suitable for small to medium-sized projects, Marvel may become less efficient for managing complex projects with a high number of screens and interactions.
  • Offline Access: Marvel is primarily a cloud-based tool, so users may require an internet connection to access and work on their designs.

Pricing

Marvel offers a free plan with limited features and paid plans with additional functionality, making it accessible to both individual designers and teams.

Basic: 7-day free trial + free plan available

Plus: From $16/user/month (billed annually)

Team: $24 / month billed yearly

All these are billed annually.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.4/5 (220 reviews)

Capterra: 4.5/5 (86 reviews)

8. UserTesting

UserTesting is a user research platform that enables companies to gain valuable insights from real users through usability testing, user interviews, and surveys. Here are its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • Usability Testing: UserTesting allows you to set up usability tests where real users interact with your website, app, or prototype, providing feedback on their experience.
  • User Interviews: You can conduct remote user interviews with participants, asking them specific questions to gain deeper insights into their thoughts and behaviors.
  • Live Conversation: UserTesting offers a Live Conversation feature, enabling you to have real-time discussions with participants while they use your product.
  • Screen Recording: The platform records participants’ screens and their spoken thoughts during tests, providing a comprehensive view of their interactions.

Advantages

  • User-Centered Insights: UserTesting provides direct access to real users, allowing you to understand their needs, pain points, and behaviors to create user-centered designs.
  • Rapid Feedback: You can quickly set up tests and interviews, often receiving feedback within hours, which is crucial for agile development processes.
  • Remote Testing: UserTesting allows you to conduct remote testing, making it possible to gather insights from users worldwide, even if your team is not co-located.

Limitations

  • Cost: User testing can be relatively expensive, especially for small businesses or startups with limited budgets. Pricing depends on the number of studies and participants.
  • Limited Context: Remote testing may not capture the full context of the user’s environment, which can be important for certain research objectives.
  • Complexity: Setting up and managing tests, especially more advanced or complex ones, may require a learning curve and some technical expertise.

Pricing

UserTesting offers pricing plans tailored to various user research needs. Free trials are available for those who want to explore its capabilities.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.5/5 (646 reviews)

Capterra: 4.5/5 (125 reviews)

9. Optimizely

Optimizely is a popular experimentation and optimization platform that helps businesses optimize their digital experiences through A/B testing, personalization, and experimentation. Here are its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • A/B Testing: Optimizely allows you to set up A/B tests to compare different variations of a webpage or app to determine which one performs best in terms of user engagement and conversion rates.
  • Multivariate Testing: You can conduct multivariate tests to evaluate multiple changes simultaneously and understand how different combinations of variations affect user behavior.
  • Personalization: Optimizely enables you to create personalized experiences for different user segments based on their behavior, preferences, and demographics.
  • Integration: Optimizely integrates with a wide range of third-party tools and platforms, including content management systems, analytics tools, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Advantages

  • Data-Driven Decision-Making: Optimizely enables data-driven decision-making by providing insights into how changes impact user behavior and KPIs.
  • Improved User Experience: Through personalization and experimentation, you can enhance the user experience by delivering content and features that resonate with individual users.
  • Flexibility: The platform is highly flexible, allowing you to test and optimize various aspects of your digital experiences, from webpages to mobile apps and more

Limitations

Cost: Optimizely can be expensive, especially for smaller businesses or startups, as pricing is often based on the number of monthly visitors or other usage metrics.
Learning Curve: The platform may have a learning curve, especially for users new to experimentation and optimization, requiring training and expertise to use effectively.
Resource-Intensive: Setting up and managing experiments and personalization campaigns can be resource-intensive, requiring time and effort from designers, developers, and analysts.

Pricing

Optimizely offers pricing plans for different business needs. Free trials are available for those interested in exploring its experimentation capabilities.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.3/5 (60+ reviews)

Capterra: N/A

10. SessionLab

SessionLab is a platform designed to help facilitators and workshop organizers plan, design, and run effective workshops, meetings, and training sessions. Below are its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • Workshop Planning: SessionLab provides tools to plan and structure workshops, including the ability to create agendas, define objectives, and outline activities.
  • Activity Library: The platform offers a library of pre-designed workshop activities and exercises that facilitators can use and customize in their sessions.
  • Collaboration: Multiple team members can collaborate on workshop planning and design in real time, allowing for effective teamwork and coordination.
  • Templates: SessionLab offers a range of templates for different types of workshops and sessions, making it easy to get started with various formats.

Advantages

  • Structured Planning: SessionLab encourages structured and organized workshop planning, ensuring that facilitators cover all necessary elements.
  • Resource Management: The platform helps you centralize and organize workshop-related resources, making them easily accessible to both facilitators and participants.
  • Time Efficiency: SessionLab can save time in the workshop planning process by offering a library of pre-designed activities and templates.
  • Customization: Facilitators can customize activities, agendas, and templates to fit their specific workshop goals and audience.

Limitations

  • Pricing: SessionLab’s pricing can be relatively high, especially for individual facilitators or small teams, which may make it less accessible to some users.
  • Learning Curve: Users new to workshop facilitation and planning tools may experience a learning curve when navigating and utilizing SessionLab’s features effectively.
  • Integration Limitations: While SessionLab offers import/export functionality, it may not have as many native integrations with other software tools compared to some competing platforms.

Pricing

SessionLab offers pricing plans suitable for various team sizes and workshop needs. Free trials and basic plans are available for users to explore its capabilities.

Basic: Free for one user

Pro: $15/month for one user

Team: $60/month for five users

Business: $90/month for five users

Billing can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.9/5 (15+ reviews)

Capterra: 5/5 (5+ reviews)

11. Miro

Miro is a popular online collaborative whiteboarding and visual collaboration platform used by teams for brainstorming, project planning, design thinking, and more. Here are its features, advantages, and limitations:

Features

  • Real-Time Collaboration: Multiple users can work on a Miro board simultaneously, allowing for remote collaboration and brainstorming with team members located anywhere in the world.
  • Integration: Miro integrates with many third-party tools, including popular project management tools like Trello, Jira, and Slack, enhancing workflow and productivity.
  • Content Library: Users can access a content library with icons, shapes, and templates that can be easily dragged and dropped onto the canvas to create visually appealing boards.
  • Templates: The platform offers a wide range of templates for different use cases, such as mind maps, flowcharts, user journey maps, and agile boards, which can speed up the creation process.

Advantages

  • Customization: Users can customize boards, templates, and objects to align with their specific needs and branding.
  • Visual Thinking: The platform supports visual thinking and problem-solving, which can be particularly helpful for brainstorming and design activities.
  • Versatility: Miro’s templates and tools make it versatile for a wide range of use cases, from project management and agile development to design thinking and user story mapping.
  • Integration: Integration with popular tools streamlines workflows and allows teams to connect Miro boards to their existing project management and communication tools.

Limitations

  • Pricing: Miro’s pricing can become expensive for large teams or organizations, especially when considering premium features and integrations.
  • Learning Curve: While user-friendly, Miro may have a learning curve for users who are new to online whiteboarding or visual collaboration tools.
  • Performance Issues: Some users have reported performance issues when working on large and complex boards, which may affect responsiveness and usability.

Pricing

Miro offers pricing plans for different team sizes and needs. It also provides a free trial for users to explore its collaborative whiteboard features.

Starter: $8 per member/month

Business: $16 per member/month

Enterprise: Contact Miro for custom pricing

Billing can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis.

Ratings and reviews

G2: 4.8/5 (4,300+ reviews)

Capterra: 4.7/5 (1,100+ reviews)

coma

Are You Using The Right Design Thinking Tools?

Selecting the right design thinking tools is essential to stay competitive and innovative. These tools provide a strong foundation for ideation, prototyping, and user testing. However, choosing the right combination of tools can be encouraging.

At Mindbowser, we specialize in integrating these powerful design thinking tools seamlessly into our organization’s workflow. Our expertise ensures you make the most out of these tools, encouraging a culture of innovation and customer-centricity.

In the end, staying at the forefront of design thinking in 2024 requires embracing the methodology and leveraging the right tools to drive your creative and innovative endeavours forward. Design thinking is dynamic, and these tools are your compass on this exciting journey of human-centred problem-solving and innovation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why use design thinking tools?

Design thinking tools are an essential part of any design team’s toolkit. These tools help teams to collaborate effectively, ideate, prototype, and iterate their ideas seamlessly.

2. Is Agile the same as design thinking?

Both frameworks depend on response to feedback, but there is a core difference. While Agile is an approach to problem-solving, design thinking is an approach to problem-solving. Learn about the difference between design sprint, design thinking and agile.

3. What are the 3 design thinking principles?

The next time you need to solve a problem, you can grow your team’s creative capacity by focusing on three core design thinking principles, or the 3 E’s: empathy, expansive thinking, and experimentation.

Content Team

This blog is from Mindbowser‘s content team – a group of individuals coming together to create pieces that you may like. If you have feedback, please drop us a message on contact@mindbowser.com

Keep Reading

Struggling with EHR integration? Learn about next-gen solutions in our upcoming webinar on Mar 6, at 11 AM EST.

Register Now

Let's create something together!