The product designer’s toolkit for simplified documentation

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Many product designers see documentation as a necessary but time-consuming task that keeps them from the “real work” of design and development. And it makes sense. In an effort to avoid getting bogged down in too many details or the illusion of perfection, Agile teams can inadvertently put more focus on speed over process. 

But be wary of the “design now, document later” approach. 

While documentation might seem tedious, it’s actually one of the most important tasks for long-term team and company success. Design documentation helps product teams brainstorm ideas, quickly gain alignment with other team members, and present polished design plans to gather constructive feedback. Plus, clear, consistent documentation provides new and seasoned team members with a living record of the team’s ideas, processes, systems, and more. By centralizing this information for anyone to access, companies greatly improve efficiency and speed to market because product design and development teams have the critical context they need to make informed decisions and do exceptional work quickly and confidently.

Dive deeper into the value of living documentation, and see our best practices to make it effortless and efficient. 
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Thankfully, living documentation is easier to create than you think. The key is visual collaboration.

When design teams collaborate visually, such as brainstorming ideas on a virtual whiteboard, or mapping out user journeys, they are naturally documenting ideas, contextualizing the development process, and synthesizing feedback. By doing all of this recording in real time, you will help everyone stay aligned and bring new solutions forward faster. 

To get you started with collaborating visually and documenting as you go, we’ve compiled a toolkit of templates for common design use cases. Click any template to open in Lucidchart or Lucidspark.

Templates for documenting user journeys and needs

Understanding the user experience is at the heart of product design. The right documentation can help designers contextualize their user data and create user journeys that get to the core of customer needs. 

User research and journey mapping

Synthesize the data from user research to create a better customer experience. By documenting and organizing information in this template, team members can create more impactful projects to deliver value.

User research and journey mapping
User research and journey mapping example (click on image to modify online)

Customer journey

Customer journey maps help designers visualize and empathize with their customers’ product experience. Map out the steps your users are likely to take and uncover opportunities to improve user experience with this customer journey template

Customer journey template
Customer journey template (click on image to modify online)

5 E’s customer journey

Answer the five questions in the 5 E’s customer journey Lucidspark template to see how you solve customer needs. Record the customer journey map to help teams improve and analyze critical peaks, valleys, and overall touchpoints when working with customers.

5 E's customer journey template
5 E's customer journey template (click on image to modify online)

User persona

Who are your target customers? How are they using and interacting with your product? Uncover what makes your customers tick with this user persona template. Document specific goals, motivations, frustrations, and user behaviors to help you plan products that address users’ specific needs and deliver exceptional experiences.  

User persona template
User persona template (click on image to modify online)

Empathy map 

Get inside your users’ heads by visualizing their attitudes and behaviors. This empathy map template from Lucidspark breaks down the user profile into four main categories: thinks and feels, sees, hears, and says and does so you can better understand your end users and identify gaps in your research.

Empathy map template
Empathy map template (click on image to modify online)

Empathy map with pains and gains

Expand your user knowledge even further with a pains and gains empathy map. Organize your user data by what the user says, does, feels, and says, and build on that profile with context around their motivations, needs, fears, and frustrations. 

 

Empathy map with pains and gains
Empathy map with pains and gains (click on image to modify online)

Storyboard

Stories help us understand the world around us and each other. Use a storyboard template to better capture and explore user experiences through human-centered design. 

Storyboard template
Storyboard template (click on image to modify online)

Templates for documenting processes

Overcome common project coordination challenges by documenting and sharing your plans and processes. Use these templates to align your work with developers, identify pain points and opportunities, and show stakeholders the big picture of what work has already been done. 

Basic flowchart

Use the basic flowchart template in Lucidchart to visualize or map out a design plan. Use shapes and colors to show different areas of responsibility across cross-functional teams.

Basic flowchart template
Basic flowchart template (click on image to modify online)

Process flow

Use swimlanes in this flowchart to see steps and areas of responsibility. As you continue with an initiative, add to the template in real time to optimize the process for business efficiency. Try it now.

 

Process flow template
Process flow template (click on image to modify online)

Process map

The process map template in Lucidspark is critical for everyone to see the big picture of project objectives and needed outcomes. Simply outline objectives, activities, and deliverables to keep everyone involved up to speed. 

Process map template
Process map template (click on image to modify online)

Current vs. future state flowchart

Continuous improvement is what makes a company stand out from the rest. Document your current vs. future state to visualize how a product can be better tailored to user needs and articulate recommended changes to those involved.

 

Current vs. future state flowchart
Current vs. future state flowchart (click on image to modify online)

Improve a process

Make the most of process improvement by using both Lucidchart and Lucidspark. Flesh out this template by importing a Lucidchart document, identifying problem areas, and brainstorming solutions so all team members can see how a process has evolved over time. 

 

Improve a process template
Improve a process template (click on image to modify online)

Templates for documenting team collaboration

Cross-functional collaboration is often a challenge for teams. Product designers are often left out of the planning process until later or simply track their work in different systems—making it difficult to coordinate, collaborate, and align with developers throughout the design process. 

Lucid’s gallery of shareable templates makes it easy to collaborate in real time. Use the following templates to document team collaboration efforts and build on them. 

Design sprint

Validate your ideas and solve big challenges together during a design sprint. Use this template to problem-solve ahead of time and test your ideas before launch.

Design sprint
Design sprint (click on image to modify online)

Big room planning

Eliminate blind spots and bring all the best ideas together in one room with a big room planning event. Tackle big projects by breaking them down into smaller parts and answer questions together for a coordinated plan. 

Big room planning template
Big room planning template (click on image to modify online)

Design Thinking workshop

The best products are human-centered. Put the users back in focus with a Design Thinking workshop to plan and prototype your designs. Get started with this template

Design thinking workshop
Design thinking workshop (click on image to modify online)

Sprint retrospective team room 

Avoid design bottlenecks and improve the feedback cycle between teams with a sprint retrospective. Use this template to run your retrospective in a virtual team room where everyone can collaborate from anywhere in real time. 

Sprint retrospective team room
Sprint retrospective team room (click on image to modify online)

Make documentation work for you

By integrating a solution like the Lucid Visual Collaboration Suite into your tech stack, you and your team can collaborate visually and create a living blueprint of your business. Align teams across the business and document your entire workflow start to finish with our three connected products: Lucidchart, an intelligent diagramming application; Lucidspark, a virtual whiteboard; and Lucidscale, a cloud visualization solution. 

 

Explore how the Lucid Visual Collaboration Suite can help make documentation effortless.
Learn more

Explore how the Lucid Visual Collaboration Suite can help make documentation effortless.

Learn more

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