Starting a new project can be both an exciting and daunting time for even the most experienced UX designer. Working with a new client on a new project could prove to be an exhilarating or an exhausting experience, depending on how an organization handles the project. There are a few things a designer can do to ensure that designing an experience becomes a memorable and enjoyable journey. The conversations a UX designer has with a client and stakeholders before a project begins lay a foundation and set everyone’s expectations for the process the project should follow. At the initial stage of a project, soak up as much knowledge as possible and prepare to make the most of this new opportunity.
It’s no secret that communication is the key to every successful project. However, at the very beginning, it can be hard to know what questions you should ask your client and which you can set aside. In this column, I’ll consider nine crucial questions you should invariably ask every client before embarking on a new project with them. Read More
Agile development has recently captured the imagination of many software development teams—and with good reason: its focus on producing working software quickly is well suited to today’s fast-paced markets. But how do you go about combining agile with user-centered design (UCD) so you can enjoy the benefits of both approaches? On the face of it, they should work well together because both philosophies are iterative, incorporating testing with users and refinement. But in practice, they often conflict with one another.
An agile approach such as Scrum tries to minimize up-front planning in favor of producing working code quickly. Plus, agile generally prefers in-situ workshops for gathering requirements, while UCD largely favors up-front user research. Agile also uses working software as its primary measure of progress, while UCD focuses on whether users can easily achieve their goals—with or without software. To add to these discrepancies, because agile is typically led by developers, while UX professionals usually drive UCD, the differences between these two approaches can result in political conflicts in many companies. Read More
All good designers share one thing in common: a strong balance between hard and soft skills. Hard skills constitute your knowledge of design fundamentals, while soft skills are the traits that don’t consciously impact your design process, but nevertheless play an important role. One of the most important processes in which soft skills come into play is in maintaining a healthy relationship with your client. Your ability to do this, or the lack thereof, can have a massive bearing on both your design process and the final product.
In many cases, relationships between designers and their clients are overly formal—and not without good reason. Of course, professionalism should be the cornerstone of your interactions with your clients. However, maintaining a lighter, friendlier relationship can be the best course of action at times, bringing many benefits during and after the delivery of your designs. In this article, I’ll describe a few of the benefits I’ve experienced through maintaining a friendly relationship with my clients, which would not have been possible with greater formality. Read More