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Product Design

Product Round-Up: Top Design and Development Tools

By: Tallwave

We’ve decided to let you in on a secret. Sort of a peek under the hood at Tallwave. We’ve curated a list of some of the best design and development tools for startups – arranged by stage from ideation to build to launch. Below you will find our top-secret list of go-to tools and resources. These are used by the Tallwave team on a regular basis.


Market Opportunity: Tools to Find the Whitespace

Our resident “whitespace” expert, Kim Grennan (@KimBryceGrennan), Sr. Venture Associate, recommends:

  • Mural.ly – a collaboration tool for organizing and visualizing early intelligence.
  • SpyFu – an excellent research tool, it shows you the most profitable keywords for your pay-per-click (PPC) and SEO campaigns. You can also search for any domain and see every place they've shown up on Google (every keyword they've paid for on AdWords, every organic rank, and every ad variation they run in the last 9 years). A pot of gold? Yes, we think so.
  • Google Trends – see how many times what you thought were amazing keywords were actually searched before you invest in ad campaigns. This free and easy tool can save you a ton of money.
  • AYTM – (Ask Your Target Market) allows you to create online studies and gain consumer feedback for market research. Brilliant.
  • Mattermark – this tool lets you discover and prospect fast-growth companies looking for investment.

Last, but not least, Jesus Ramirez (@jeezramirez), our VP of Product, loves Empathy Map to better understand the person he is developing a product around. It was created by the guys at Stanford’s infamous D. School, so it has to be good, right?

Core Build: Early-Stage Product Development and Design

These picks are brought to you by Chelsea Winkel (@hirechelsea), Design Facilitation Lead, and Paul Van Tuyl (@paulvantuyl), Emotional Design Lead.

  • Invision – a powerful design tool for cross-platform prototyping that uses animation and recorded user feedback to give you an easily adjustable run-through of your product or design before the actual build.
  • Bootstrap – a popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile-first projects on the web.
  • Foundation – another framework great for building responsive email newsletters, websites, and apps. It has an engaged forum full of designers and engineers.
  • Axure – another no-code interactive wireframe and mockup tool. This is best for long term use where you need to build up a library of UI components to use over and over again.
  • Proto.io – this tool is all about prototyping with full-interactivity and animation. It also includes powerful UI libraries.
  • Inkwell – known for their “pen before pixel” method, they provide sketch kits for facilitating quick and collaborative ideation. (Pssst...born out of necessity, this was created by our design team.)
  • Google Ventures Design Sprint – this five-day sprint offers a process for answering critical business questions, and designates a day for each stage.

Validation: Testing Assumptions

Handpicked by Chelsea and Terri O'Shaughnessy (@TerriOcean), Sr. Venture Associate.

  • Verifyapp – allows you test screenshots of your design work to gain feedback on user reactions to and expectations of your app and website.
  • Validately – this helps you test specific features before writing code – a major time and money saver.

Launch: Go-To Market

These final tools were selected by Tanner Tegtmeyer (@TTegtmeyer), Sr. Venture Associate, Jerrod Bailey (@JerrodBailey), our Business Development Guru, and Robert Wallace (@RobertAWallace), the resident storyteller (aka EVP of Marketing).

  • Launchrock – a site-builder dedicated to early acquisition.
  • Nouncy – uses the power of people to amplify your message. It’s essentially like crowdfunding, but rather than dollars, people can contribute social media posts to help you get the word out.
  • AngelList – serves as connector of sorts for startups, job seekers, and investors. You can use it to help raise capital, find a startup to invest in, post a job or find a job.
  • BetaList – submit your startup to over 25,000 early adopters to get early feedback.

Those are our top picks for design and development. Check back next month for a fresh crop of tools and gadgetry our team is currently geeking out about.

Written by Tallwave

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