In an ideal scenario we would all be working alongside our teams in our lovely workspaces built for maximum productivity and collaboration. But since that is not the case and will remain unchanged for a while, the only option is to adapt. Considering the circumstances our design team like every other team has gone completely remote and to be honest, it’s not easy.
But processes help. Here is our process laden with some good practices that helps us retain our productivity in a remote environment.
There are numerous questions associated with the who, what, and how of collaboration. Like, who all should be included, how to manage the time zone differences, which tools and exercises to be conducted, and lastly, is it even possible?
We will address the simplest query first – Yes it is possible! Read on to know how you can manage the other aspects that we mentioned.
We have Trello and Asana for project management. These tools come in real handy when you have a team working on multiple projects. You can make separate channels to keep different projects and related conversations unaffected from other projects. And for communication, Slack saves the day for us. It also lets us separate our sincere work conversations from our casual chats via channels. For video collaboration we use Google meet and Zoom.
Choosing the right suite of tools reduces half of your work/collaboration effort. They might vary for you so do your research and choose wisely.
We start with a brainstorming session which sets the precedence for the sprint, wireframing and designing process. This chalks out a roadmap for reaching the solution. To make things easier for all the stakeholders involved, our project managers prepare a design brief that answers some basic questions at the outset. It includes:
Once the brief is sent out, we do follow up calls with the participants. This will ensure that everyone onboard is on the same page to avoid any delays once the meeting starts.
This elaborate planning is put to test here. We carry out two exercises
This exercise helps us answer the fundamental questions of the application.
For example, your team is creating an app that helps to keep track of a user’s pet’s meals, vet appointments, exercise timings, etc. You can start by thinking about how you might attract the right set of audience, encourage them to use the app as well as address the different problems of pet owners.
All these “how might we” questions will help you come up with an outline of your product or service. Each team member can come up with a few specific questions that will show possible directions for designing and prototyping the project.
Crazy Eights has helped us come up with some of our most creative ideas. Everyone on the team needs to come up with 8 different ideas. This gives us a lot to choose from and mix-up the ideas to come up with the best designs.
In this stage, we work on combining the ideas to reflect well into an interactive prototype. We build wireframes using Axure and Invision helps us add interaction to our presentation. This is then followed by high fidelity prototypes using Sketch or Figma.
Once the prototypes are built, we bring in unbiased users to put out ideas to test. We leverage UserTesting.com to conduct the testing process with our users.
We test run our setups for avoiding any hiccups once the users are onboard. This saves our time and ensures a smooth testing routine. A Google sheet is created by our team, which pools together all the answers in one place for the questions asked.
This sheet has answers related to the overall app idea, problem areas, and specifics related to the app design. All these answers are shared with the interviewer who evaluates the answers with what she/he observed during the testing. If possible, we do live recording of the users when they are interacting with our prototype, with their permission. This live recording helps us eliminate any biases that could be done subconsciously from the user or the interviewer’s end.
After successfully running remote design sprints for the past few months, we have come up with a list of prerequisites for running this process smoothly.
Planning and executing remote design sprints is a daunting task. We have been collaborating remotely before this pandemic confined all of us into our home. Over time, we have improved our process with constant evaluation and tool selections.
We would love to collaborate with you virtually and integrate our learning within your projects as well. You can get in touch with us here.