Introducing design to a dev team for the firsttime
22 May 2008 - 7:58pm
7 years ago
I'm surprised by the advice on this thread, especially yours here James.
Talk to the CEO? Why? As Martin explained he's been asked to be more active,
not to stage a coup, which is exactly how most of the people in line between
Martin and his CEO would see this sort of thing.
Worse, most of the other advice has advocated about 20 lbs. of process and
evangalism without asking if all that's needed is an ounce of results.
First and formost: Martin, if you are a self admitted wanna-be, the best
thing you can do is to advocate hiring a professional. If you are not
confident in your ability, rookie mistakes run the risk of ruining your orgs
perception of what a qualified pro can do.
Second: the goal is to make better GUIs, right? That becomes straightforward
if you are granted the power to write the first spec, make the first
screenshots, and have your boss rallying the development team to make the
first prototypes based on your designs. Tons of usability studies, daily
whiteboard sessions, or most of the processes mentioned become unnecessary
if you have authority from the begining and the expertise to set the right
course from day one. Most bad GUIs suffer from the same two dozen or so
mistakes - you don't need to be a design maestro to correct or prevent them.
Third: If you have trouble getting support from programmers, go to your boss
and ask for more ammo. If the team has never seen a usability study, it can
be a great way to get their attention and support, but if your UI problems
are basic, you won't be learning much from them - they're more for the team
than for you.
Many programmers don't care much about UI design one way or the other -
really they dont - what they care about is having a clear spec to work from
that makes sense. If you write better specs (in their opinion) than the
other guy, and your specs happen to have been UI designs in them, they be
building better UIs without even noticing.
Lastly, as far as where to start. Get involved early. Ask for authority over
any screens and specifications. Pick one or two of the best programmers out
of the bunch and ask them what you can do to get their support (they often
have more power than the managers do). Buy a dozen copies of GUI bloopers by
Jeff Johnson and put them on the chairs of anyone that writes UI code, with
a post-it note saying "Please please please read this". Most of the rest
will take care of itself. Pick small easy clear wins and repeat. Once you've
proven you can deliver and have earned a positive reputation, only then look
to expand. Only then do internal marketing, using your proven wins as the
argument for why even more people should follow your lead.
----- Original Message -----
From: "james horgan" <horganjames at gmail.com>
Cc: "IXDA list" <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 1:19 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Introducing design to a dev team for the
> Hi Martin, I'd talk to your CEO or whoever is in charge, show them before > and after scenarios and make a case as to why you think usability = > increased revenue. I would also do a bit of internal marketing, ensure > your > team are referred to as interaction designer (never graphic designers) and > do some educational sessions on why preplanning and information > architecture > add to the product and is something everyone can support. > You have to solve the internal attitude to it before you (and your > coworkers) can educate the client. I would research industrial > design history and how they got into the mix (they were seen as glorified > prettifiers before). > hope that helps. > james