Due to the sudden transition towards online learning caused by COVID-19, we realized the urgency of deepening our understanding of the distributed collaborative design process. We conducted critical incident interviews to identify the challenges that design students and professional designers encountered and how they overcame them in their work. Based on the insights from this first study, we carried out an online survey to corroborate our insights. We found that the shift towards online meetings impacts the collaborative design process. Most notably it causes reduced co-exploration in the design process, especially on and with physical objects. This leads us to the conclusion that the current strategies are not adequate for facilitating designers who collaborate remotely. Following our insights, we provide suggestions for enhancing the supporting tools for the distributed collaborative design process.