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What’s the simplest tool you can use?

Christopher Murphy

The Simplest Tool

Ask yourself: What’s the simplest tool you can use? Use that and don’t overcomplicate things. This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned during my first fortnight on Propel.

This message has been hammered home over and over, in particular, during my office hours sessions with the mentors. Ship, test, iterate (repeat).

As a designer, I’m used to: sketching a page; developing wireframes and userflows; creating high-fidelity mockups; building a prototype; and, finally, coding everything up in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. (Or, more accurately, working with a third party on the code part of the equation.)

This is a time-consuming process – too time-consuming – and it doesn’t help me to test my thinking or my assumptions.

As I start to develop designtrack, focusing on customers and pricing models, I’m embracing off-the-shelf tools that I can use to build ‘just good enough’ prototypes so I can test my thinking quickly. This is saving me time and leading to better data to inform my thinking.

It’s incredible, there are a multitude of tools with very shallow learning curves, that you can use to publish content and test it on your audience. The following tools – which are either free to use or have free, unpaid tiers – have been lifesavers for me.

I built the following (unfinished) landing page using Landen during Monday’s landing pages workshop. It’s good enough to trial my messaging and, at this stage, good enough is all that matters.

Being on Propel is encouraging me to rethink my processes, which has taught me a great deal. When you’re at the beginning of your startup journey it’s important to shift your focus from ‘finished’ to ‘fast’. Fast is what matters.

—Christopher, @fehler

About the author…

A designer, writer and speaker based in Belfast, Christopher mentors purpose-driven businesses, helping them to launch and thrive. He’s currently building designtrack, an education-focused startup.

As a design strategist, Christopher has worked with companies, large and small, to help drive innovation, drawing on his 25+ years of experience working with clients including: Adobe, EA and the BBC.


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