Design for collaboration
Outstanding teamwork creates awesome products and services
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