Design systems help me keep my design consistent as long as enable me to design fast. I’m just building my first Design System with the Invision Design System Manager, and actually works like a charm for now.
Designing in a breeze with Design systems
Branding standard designs is now a seconds matter
“I want to design screens in 3 minutes”
Design systems
When the research stage is complete we often run a customized version of a Design Sprint. It involves Lightning talks, Crazy 8’s, selection and voting, Sketching and Testing… it’s just that we do it in 2 days instead of 5.
I know… that’s not a design sprint, you may say. You may call it differently :)
The main idea for that sprints is to brainstorm at a higher level and to produce as many ideas from trained peopl as possible. Sketching them is a breeze with Freehand, and then we decide which ones fit and which not. We don’t involve user testing at this stage (just stakeholders and people involved in the project).
Our own reduced version of a design sprint
Sprints end up with a full concept of the solution
Our ‘design sprints’
As most designers I get inspired by flat design, modern ui principles, and tons and tons of work from other designers (on Dribbble, Behance, Muzli, Invision, and many more).
You may have realized that most of the apps you see nowadays look pretty much the same. Guidelines, established patterns and trends lead to this, you may say.
My point is that every project must have it own style. We, designers, can build hundreds of different visual style combinations based in the same guidelines or established patterns. It’s just that it’s easier to go with the mainstream and not to put too many effort on it :)
I use to deliver two or three approaches for visual design in my projects
Each of my designs has its own style, despite all of them are based in the same design principles and guidelines.
Visual design
“Great ideas can come from anywhere”
I’m in lead of a 6 UX Jedis team at Raona, but it’s not an operative leadership. It’s more like a technical leadership. I go first, and then we expand the path together. For design tools, research and design techniques, design ops, methodology, design systems and so on.
Quite often some of them gets responsible for that new path we discovered we like to integrate in our process, and we move on.
“Being a team or not it’s a matter of faith. If you believe you are a team, you will be. If you don’t… well, better believe.”
The team
We found in Slack a great ally to support some of the team needs.
Obviously not everything happens in Slack. Calls, Skype for business, MS Teams, and presential meetings and training happen in a daily basis.
• We needed a place to share our designs and get design critique, and we created a #sharing channel (we also have design critique in Invision Freehands).
• We needed a place to talk about cool stuff we discovered about UX or the latest trends, and we decided to use #general for that purpose
• We needed a place to share tips & tricks about Sketch and other tools, and we created the #sketchtipsandtricks channel
• We recently moved to Mac (worked with PCs and VMWare the last 2 years) and we got crazy about shortcuts, tools, and dumb issues, and so we created the #mac channel
• We needed to centralize all of the comments and feedback (of design projects) in a single place, and we integrated Invision projects with Slack channels so that everything is in the same place and we don’t miss a thing.
• And lately we’ve been working on our brand new design systems (yes, we have 5 of them) and needed to centralize discussions and workflows about them, and so we created the #designsystems channels.
Our Slack channels are on fire
Communication is key
We work with every design tool on Earth. But this is our secret recipe to do our design magic:
The tools
Wireframes, visual design and libraries
Prototypes, Freehand, validation, interaction, ...
Invision + Freehand
Build and use our design systems
Communicate & share knowledge with the team
And related research techniques
Design thinking
Testing on design projects (with Invision)
Research and simple design testing
Optimal Workshop
Can't remember life before thenounproject
The Noun Project
Some time ago, someone asked Leo Messi how Guardiola motivated him: “It’s not the coach that motivates us, it’s the match”, he stated.
Our team is made of 2 all-road UXs, three mostly UI developers, and a visual designer. Each one of them is responsible for building his/her career, get training, attend conferences, and try whatever they want to in their projects.
This is where motivation is. And when this works, the only thing needed is, from time to time,  that someone throws an interesting concept or challenge that sounds appealing for their projects and their path. The rest is just about respect, collaboration, being nice, and a bit of magic.
By the way… we also have BBQs :)
This is my favorite. It gives me the most relevant insights and clues I will later use during the design phase. There are several approaches we may follow (or many of them):
We call it Design thinking but it’s actually a mix of directed activities coming from Design Thinking, Manual Thinking, Innovation Games, DesignPedia, Lego Serious Play, and many others. We do them even remotely.
Design thinking sessions
Design thinking sessions with directed activities
You may read about my favorite ones in
this article I published in the Invision Blog.
Yes, classic user testing, just like it’s held with brand new tools loke OptimalWorkshop and Maze.
User testing
First click test with Optimal Workshop
User testing with Maze and Invision projects
It’s almost always possible for us to set up presential sessions with users and stakeholders (we’re quite lucky). So our most common approach is to get as much insights as we can from our qualitative approaches, and later on use a quantitative approach to double-check on those insights.
Quantitative data
We’ve handled remote testing with a couple of apps (with Maze and Invision), but I must admit we’re far from considering it our main source of insights.
We’re also used to handle Card sorting, tree test, and first-click tests through Optimal Workshop.
Remote testing
We use Typeform and SurveyMonkey to get a quantitative approach of some insights we want to double check, or to get some data that we couldn’t get otherwise (main usage scenarios, questions related to devices they use, etc.)
Main usage scenarios set to quantitative
We do a lot of research at the beginning of our projects. There are three things I really value (and consider it difficult to start a design project without at least two of them):
“Opinions are not bad… but research and data is unbeatable”
The vision range
Every project starts when a key stakeholder realises a need and decides, after thinking of it for a while, to share it with others to find a solution.
What often happens is that, when the vision (and probably a solution approach) is share, the key stakeholder assumes that everyone understood exactly what he/she’s thinking of… and that never happens. Every person creates its own vision based in previous experiences, similar things, apps the’ve seen, and a lot of related stuff. We call that the vision range.
If we do nothing (from a design perspective), there’s a huge risk of never getting to the right solution, because the vision is not aligned, and everyone expects a different thing. At most, we can get close to one of the visions.
So… let’s do something at it :)
The vision range issue, and the UX process
How I work
I used to be, some time ago, a
genius designer (*).
Those times are over.
My design process is designed with 5 goals in mind:
• Rapid alignment with business, users, and expectations
• Rapid detection of critical factors and risks
• Opinions are not bad, but research and data is better
• The design is open and available since minute 0
• Constant validation and feedback
• Inclusive and collaborative design (great ideas can come from anywhere)