How to work with non-designers
From the author: the modern workplace is gradually becoming a more distributed and global environment, so cooperation with people in different time zones and with different cultures is becoming more widespread than ever. The role of the designer is to create product value for the user and use the design as a tool for communication, both through visual effects and experience. How will you bridge the gap in the workflow between your colleagues, especially those who know what design is or are not at all in the same office?
I realized that it is very difficult to combine the work of different teams, but such a collaboration opens up the opportunity to learn something new beyond the traditional role of a designer, and also allows you to promote design for those who are not familiar with it. Below are five tips for simplifying work in different teams.
Speak their language
I do not mean literally language, but jargon and terminology of people from other areas.
For example, an engineer or PM (project manager) will use terms unfamiliar to you as a designer (and vice versa). Try to understand what the other person is saying, or ask to explain, so you will clarify the situation for the whole team.
For your part, do not think that non-designers understand your terms. It’s better to explain terms such as “spaces,” “accessibility,” “best practices for font sizes,” and length of sentences. You need to firmly substantiate your design decisions in an understandable language without the excessive use of jargon.
Know your niche
In addition to a common language for describing design decisions, you need to understand your niche, for which you are designing. Your product belongs to social networks, IT, finance, etc., it doesn’t matter. Immerse yourself in this niche, understand what the market needs, and also evaluate the competition, so that later in the design process there is something to refer to.
Organization is the key
Define the final result and deadlines in advance and structure them either in a common tool, for example, as a board, or through daily meetings. Use this as a way to register for smaller milestones in a longer process with changing goals and priorities.
In discussions of design with non-designers, it is very important to reinforce your decisions with specific data, why something is important and something is not. The hidden but important role of the designer in any organization is to promote the importance and value of design. Instead of talking about the subjective nature of the problem (which color you like more, how it should be felt), delve into real problems (user needs, usability, design principles, recommendations). This will allow you to have an honest conversation when discussing what needs to be changed.
Invision – a browser-based platform for collaborative design and work
Slack – a team collaboration tool with integration into several popular design tools