Agustina Feijóo is a UX Architect at The UX Department, a user experience design and consulting agency in San Francisco and Buenos Aires.
There are many ways to approach a design project, and of course, each approach will have a different outcome.
Working alone, for example, means having to play several roles at the same time. It means being a project manager, designer, illustrator, developer, copywriter and sometimes more, depending on the needs of the client. It can be a daunting task and you have to be very careful not to leave any loose ends.
At The UX Department, we rely on a team workflow. Each member has a very defined set of skills and tasks to complete. We all work within 1 of 3 roles: UX Architect, Visual Designer and Front-end Developer. When a project arrives, the workload is divided and every part of the team is responsible for meeting deadlines and delivering high quality products.
The UX Architects are in charge of analyzing the project’s requirements, understanding the client’s needs, designing the platform’s structure (Information Architecture), organizing the information and required functionalities into different screens (Interaction Design), and guiding the rest of the team members on the remaining phases of the process.
Visual Designers create pixel-perfect mockups (high-resolution prototypes) from the wireframes obtained from the UX Architects. They define the color scheme, typography, general style, and look and feel of the project.
Front-end Developers have the task of implementing the mockups created by the Visual Designers down to the last detail. They produce the final product, test it, debug it and, once approved, they move it to production, where users can access it.
Constant feedback is key for the success of the process. UX Architects consult with Developers about possible functionalities, Developers check with Designers about specific styles and element behaviors and Designers review layouts, design patterns and more with UX Architects.
By collaborating at every step of the process, our team ensures the creation of high quality products that contemplate and respect the client’s input, needs and objectives. Having several team members work on, review, and correct a product makes it very difficult to leave any loose ends, and it provides a constant flow of fresh viewpoints that helps to improve the final product.
#ourUXflow in action
During a project last year, our team was struggling with a highly complex app; there were a lot of functionalities spread over a lot of screens, and we were having a hard time keeping it simple while still including all the required features.
One day, the team members for that project were reviewing progress when one of the UX Architects was struck with the idea to gather together all the related content and functionalities that were at that time divided between different screens — essentially, rebuilding the app’s information architecture.
This realization allowed the team to simplify the navigation, decrease the number of screens, and make the user flow more intuitive. The concept actually went against the client’s original request, but when we presented it to them, they loved the idea and appreciated that we didn’t just settle with their drafts but had gone further to ensure the best possible experience for the users. We had, as they put it, improved their vision.
Working as a team helps us create enhanced versions of our creations, and become better professionals. We learn from each other through feedback, we help each other find the best possible solutions for our clients, and we work together towards creating fulfilling experiences for our users. That’s OUR goal.
How does your team do UX? Tweet us your workflow at #ourUXflow, and sign up for the #ourUXflow Webinar on iteration and collaboration for a deeper discussion. We’ll be joined by Facebook UXer Jennifer Romano Bergstrom. Let’s put the “us” in usability!