Design for col­lab­o­ra­tion

Out­stand­ing team­work cre­ates awe­some prod­ucts and ser­vices

Web Designer - - UX - New rules, top tools -

As ‘UX De­signer’ and its many per­mu­ta­tions be­come more ubiq­ui­tous as a role, teams are grow­ing and they have a big­ger seat at the ta­ble. As a re­sult, more busi­ness stake­hold­ers are in­ter­ested in know­ing – or even be­ing in­volved – in what you’re do­ing.

The UX role has now ma­tured, and there are plenty of on­line com­mu­ni­ties, tools, con­fer­ences, and books aimed specif­i­cally for the UX de­signer. To com­plete the per­fect storm, the dig­i­tal mar­ket­place is also sat­u­rated with mul­ti­ple of­fer­ings for a sin­gle type of prod­uct, and or­gan­i­sa­tions are more will­ing to in­vest the time in cre­at­ing unique user ex­pe­ri­ences to make them stand out in a fiercely com­pet­i­tive crowd. Sud­denly, UX prac­ti­tion­ers find they not only have a voice, but are in­flu­en­tial in nav­i­gat­ing a prod­uct or ser­vice to mar­ket.

Su­pe­rior soft skills are the se­cret weapon be­hind su­pe­rior UX teams. This in­cludes com­mu­ni­ca­tion, lis­ten­ing, em­pa­thy, work­shop fa­cil­i­ta­tion, team­work, and sto­ry­telling. Th­ese pro­vide the foun­da­tion that all other de­liv­er­ables are based on. How do you know if the pro­to­type you are test­ing will meet a user need if you have not lis­tened prop­erly in the re­search phase of the project?

Th­ese skills are not an in­nate tal­ent and need to be prac­tised just like any other skill. Not only that, but de­vel­op­ing your soft skills as a team en­ables you all to com­mu­ni­cate prop­erly with one an­other, form­ing a com­mon strat­egy so you can all aim for the same goal. There are many good UX prac­ti­tion­ers, but great ones have ex­cep­tional soft skills to help them do their job.

Col­lab­o­rat­ing with the cus­tomer or client is also es­sen­tial to a smooth-run­ning project. There are many tools such as Marvel, In­vi­sion and Ax­ure that will en­able you to quickly pro­to­type up your work to show them the ‘Promised Land’, in­stead of send­ing emails back and forth you can now make your so­lu­tions come alive. The ben­e­fit of this ap­proach is in­creased buy-in from clients and cus­tomers, and fric­tion­less col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Some of the big­gest ob­sta­cles to col­lab­o­ra­tion on a project can come from other busi­ness stake­hold­ers and de­part­ments not un­der­stand­ing what UX ac­tiv­i­ties en­tail. The so­lu­tion here is to be as trans­par­ent and as open as pos­si­ble. As a team you can pique peo­ple’s in­ter­est by cre­at­ing ex­cit­ing ar­eas of wall space in high traf­fic ar­eas where de­liv­er­ables such as per­sonas, jour­ney maps and wire­frames can be dis­played to spark con­ver­sa­tions be­tween dif­fer­ent peo­ple within the busi­ness.

Even the rise of re­mote work­ing and dis­trib­uted teams is a wan­ing threat to any UX team. There’s a tool for ev­ery stage of the process, and you don’t even need to be in the same room as each other. Project plan­ning and man­age­ment can be or­gan­ised through tools such as Slack or Flock or Asana. Vis­ual de­liv­er­ables can be taken care of us­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive white­boards such as Real­time­board. Teams can work si­mul­ta­ne­ously to cre­ate fully fledged pro­to­types us­ing one of the new gen­er­a­tion of tools like Figma or In­vi­sion.

Real­time­board Work with team mem­bers on white­boards in Real­time­board to design jour­ney maps, per­sonas and other plan­ning can­vases. As the name sug­gests, you can watch your team move ob­jects around the white­board in real time

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