Building the design process in teams

meeting - image courtesy of freepik
image courtesy of freepik
Written by Linda Hohnholz

What is the team process of creating a design? This is one of the most frequently asked questions in job interviews, and many have a lot of trouble getting to grips with design culture, especially when previous experience hasn’t included any standards.

However, you can act as a catalyst in discussions about building team culture and collaboration.

Design Board

The Design Board is a virtual whiteboard that helps designers visualize their workflow. It is inspired by the Kanban methodology used in agile development teams. Work items are represented as cards that move through different stages of design.

A basic Kanban board consists of three steps:

  1. To-Do tasks;
  2. tasks in progress (In Progress);
  3. and completed tasks (Done).

You can create a simple board using free tools like Trello or Taiga. First, create a card for each project in the To-Do column. Move the card to the In Progress column when you start working on it, and move it to Done when you finish.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing UI/UX Design in Real Estate or for medtech – the principle is the same everywhere.

The design board is a bit more complex, and consists of 10 columns that represent the steps of the design process. You can use Atlassian JIRA (paid) to create the board.

Designers start a new project by creating a ticket on a separate spare board. It serves as a repository of tickets to be worked on in the future. A draft may include concepts for various projects, as well as UX/UI problems that need more investigation.

We will go into more depth about the design board next.

To-Do stage

Tickets go from a draft on the design board to the To-Do column when they are prepared for work. Managers may use this column to estimate the future scope of work on projects even while work has not yet started.

To grasp the design aim and determine the scope of work, basic research is necessary. This template asks you to respond to a few important questions:

  • What goal are you attempting to achieve?
  • What are the objectives and demographics of your users?
  • Is there an existing research project that is relevant to this goal, and if so, how can it be included in the design?
  • Are there any perceived or real limitations?
  • How is success measured? (KPI)
  • Is it helpful to compare the suggested and existing designs graphically?

By providing answers to these queries, designers will be able to interact with stakeholders more effectively and decide on designs that are more in line with the original goals.

Wireframes in progress

It is expected that designers possess a comprehensive comprehension of the issue they are attempting to resolve. They use wireframes to investigate various possibilities in the next stage, Wireframes in Progress.

●      Design review

Seeking input is always crucial to prevent squandering time in the wrong places. This saves designers from having to work in fragments. Tickets are returned to the “in progress” column of the wireframes if significant changes are required after this stage, and the process is repeated.

●      Copy

Every piece of content in the wireframes has to be reviewed and modified for the copy process. Copywriters examine the designs, edit the text as needed, and return tickets to the designers so they can make the required adjustments to the wireframes.

●      User testing

In this stage, prototypes are tested with coworkers or with users from outside the company. The number of times it is performed will depend on the project’s complexity and the outcomes of each testing cycle.

●      Dev/PM review

This stage is needed to run through the interactions in the prototype. Every person working on the project attends this meeting. Usually front-end and back-end developers, project managers, and risk managers.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the technical feasibility of the project, and usually 1 of 2 outcomes is possible: 1) simplify the design, or 2) continue working on the current version of the design.

●      Mockups

In the Mockups step, the wireframes are transformed into detailed mockups according to the visual style guide. Companies with larger budgets can take advantage of user testing after this step for feedback on more realistic-looking prototypes.

●      Specifications

This stage is perhaps the most dreaded in design, when interaction patterns and layouts are prepared to be handed over to developers. The time of this stage can be significantly reduced if the team utilizes pattern libraries and grid systems.

Done stage

When the tickets are completed, they go into the Done column. Yay!!!

It’s great to have your team periodically review this design process to identify opportunities for improvement.

Conclusion

This process was created with the product designer’s workflow in mind and needs to be redesigned for other specialties in design. You may encounter a negative reaction when this process is first introduced into teamwork, but over time, your colleagues’ views will change as designers feel more empowered and autonomous to work on their own projects on their boards.

About the author

Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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