"Move faster and break things". So simple, yet so powerful. This quote can fit in many situations in our daily life, but have you ever considered how it applies to making better products? Why might it be ‘the quicker the better’ in designing a product?
Such rhetoric might be new for some of us, and may be without an answer for many. A design marathon is not tempting when thinking of risk reduction, because you do not want to wait so long your product loses its brightness; however, a design sprint may well secure the design in its prime. Author Mark Schaeffer says, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast", which conveys that whatever the approach is, sprinting is the best solution!
Before starting your race, have a look at the following seven tips to speed up and improve your product design process.
1. Effective Collaboration is the first weapon in your arsenal
What wastes more time than pausing to sync with another team? We have always been taught that collaboration and teamwork is the ultimate method to excel in any task; however, this might not be the case if it is not conducted in the proper manner. Handoffs are open to many send-receive steps, which is time-wasting even for big companies like Bloomberg BNA. In order to overcome this miscommunication, Bloomberg tried pipelining parallel work, along with streamlining design, and surveyed the results. This method saved Bloomberg a great deal of time compared with their former method.
Syncing is not the only obstacle in speeding up the design process - guesswork is also a big hurdle we sometimes forget about. An article in Resilium says guesswork does not only waste time, but also money. As reported by the development sector in Bloomberg, ordering the designers and the developers to focus on a single product and collaboration tool enhanced their connection.
Based on InVision’s VP of Design Education Aaron Walter, this “North Star” is a driving factor to everyone towards a specific goal.
2. Getting stakeholder reviews
People get tied up by feedback loops that enable them to understand the real value of the product. The urge to inform stakeholders of what is new is important, but it must not hinder the workflow. "The key is designing a feedback loop to flow more like a monorail than a bus". Just to be clear, a feedback loop is simply getting the feedback and considering it in your upcoming input...listening to the crowd!
This could be achieved by employing a reviewer who can directly access updates on the design your team comes up with. The reviewing “person” could be a party, which would be more efficient since having a single source in the feedback loop does not speed up the process. Increasing people in this sector does increase the reliability, thus enhancing the speed.
Stakeholders can be considered as co-creators, as they might focus on some perspectives that a designer exaggerated on a user's background! The significance of a stakeholder's feedback is talked about in the book "Articulating Design" by Tom Greeve, where he shone a spotlight on the significance of the stakeholder feedback, despite the fact stakeholders have desires aside from obtaining great designs.
To clarify your intentions, focus on:
obtaining price quotes from actual users
ongoing trends and responses
prior results found in some studies
Most observable pain point
Being on the summit of version control
Although logistically cumbersome, using synchronizing equipment to store files will sustain your feedback loop and prevent your team members from referencing obsolete versions. Version control is crucial, but having an organized project-specific nomenclature is also significant in locating files within synced options. Accordingly, Product Designer Kerem Suer thought of a great method where he suggests file name + platform + direction + iteration, saves you from ten versions of filename-final.psd.
Being organized facilitates your movement in a very noticeable way, so a design management system with versioning control level paves your road to easy advancement.
3. Early testing = acquired credibility
People do not like listening to fancy words, but prefer seeing their product in action! Rapid prototyping should be a priority whenever you consider building better products, as people favor prior knowledge. This process involves several iterations of a 3-step process:
Instead of making initial guesses, which we warned about earlier in this article, step back to reality and listen to the crowd's needs. This is a reputable, proven method and an extremely fast way to undergo testing. It focuses designs on actual people instead of personas, which increases the credibility and reliability of your design. Such focus eliminates wasting time, since the real feedback is given right away.
One of the benefits of having early prototypes is enhancing the communication and interactivity that make the user experience a priority. After getting realistic and relevant feedback, you can alter the design before it’s created, rather than updating the design or trying to fix it later. This is more time efficient and it does not hurt your reputation.
4. Unifying language
Whenever you know what works best for your process, standardize workflows. For example, you can streamline the specific process by highlighting the name of various craft components with the exact names found in code libraries. This means they can be found right away by other members of the team. This facilitates the search process for the designer in a way that enables them to find the component without letting a developer customize a code for it. Therefore, the team members speak with one language. As we mentioned earlier, organizing your stuff saves a lot of time! Therefore some templates can be created for future designs to hold names, workflows, etc.
IBM, Atlassian, Salesforce, and Westpac depend extensively on in-tool libraries to store commonly used elements, rather than wasting time in creating redundant objects.
Libraries can be customized to house:
diverse design techniques
fonts and text styles
common design elements
5. Leadership strategy - Getting it right!
As we live in a world controlled by entropy, randomness is a default attitude people pursue. However, advancements and prosperity are achieved mainly when chaos is eliminated. Chaos hinders the path of great advancements, but the spotlight will be placed on business developments and strategies, and how they are linked to leadership strategies.
For example, Samsung, is a well-established organization that had strict and successful plans in order to reach its position. Nowadays, Samsung is focused on resilient leadership strategies that are unique for the organization. This is primarily down to its owner.
So having the proper leadership strategy that helps your plans, is definitely important in keeping things organized.
6. How do these tips help in aiding the process?
Eat them for lunch before they eat you for dinner! This best expresses why you should be quick - before your competitors beat you!
The best position is first in the queue. Let your competitors share files manually and take their time, while you are glowing with your new design that makes a groundbreaking impact in the marketplace.
This planned methodology for sprinting your design makes you the top dog in the market with the sense of always producing what is exclusive and powerful, not wasting time by poor leadership or obsolete methods of file sharing.
7. Resources to sprint your design
In the light of the above tips, it is clear that sprinting your design is far more effective than wasting time. Big companies and reputable designers always seek new methods to complete their design in the fastest way to beat their competitors.
In order to be agile, you must follow the tips in this article as a guide for giving your design an initial kick to get it to the head of the queue.
Here are some more articles you might find useful in your quest to improve your product design process:
What method do you follow to improve your product design process? Does it help you speed up the process? Are there any tips you would like to give to people new in their industry? Drop your advice in the comment section below.