UX Nights April 13, 2021

Design Methodology Bootcamp

Improving workflow and collaboration

Video Transcript

Introduction

Steven Wakabayashi: For today’s schedule. We will go over design methodology, bootcamp, teach you tips and tricks on how to be better designers with some logistical know-how. And then what we’ll do is a little bit of Q&A/group discussion on the topic afterwards. And then at the end, what we’d like to do is a get together, gathering time for us to get to know one another.

And just a little bit about our organization. For those of you who are new, our organization is called QTBIPOC Design. We just started last summer, growing quite rapidly. And our mission is to empower LGBTQ+ BIPOC designers with free and accessible education.

This month, we are starting up a bunch of new other events, such as design jam sessions, where you get to practice creating designs in a two hour sessions with other people to add more portfolio pieces.

We have a book club where we read books on the intersection of design, equity, inclusion. We are also launching our first UX bootcamp next month. And so we have a couple of people that are going to test drive the course with us. And afterwards we are going to have multiple cohorts of people as well.

And so really excited to keep growing with you all and seeing where we go as an organization.

Popular design frameworks

Steven Wakabayashi: So we’re going to be talking about design methodology. And when we talk about design methodology, what does it mean?

There’s so many popular frameworks, right? You’ve heard of it probably like design thinking, design sprints, double diamond model. And today we’re just going to simplify this tremendously. Just know that there are just different ways of approaching a problem. And at the end of the day, many different problems, many different solution.

And my advice, whenever you learn new methodologies here and there, the biggest tip I can give you is break it apart into smaller pieces. Imagine you’ve just disassembled this Lego set, right? Whenever you approach a new project, you pick up the little pieces as needed. And so for today, we’ll just pick the really simplest one so far, which is the double diamond method.

And talk a little bit about why it’s set up how it is and how we can apply it to our work.

The Double Diamond Method

Steven Wakabayashi: And so just to break down the linear flow across our UX journey, we have different phases. And what I want to first point out is diverging versus converging, right? Diverging means we move away and converging means to move closer.

Research & discovery

Steven Wakabayashi: So as you can see the diamond is opening up and it’s closing. And so the idea behind this design methodology is that we are generating a bunch of ideas, a bunch of different opinions of what it can be. And we use different tools and methodologies to diverge. And the idea is once we hit a point where we have enough to work with, or at least we want to test a couple, we start to converge.

We start to hone in on a couple options. And the idea of a design methodology across the board is the process of iterating against this model. Yeah? And let me actually just turn on the chat on my side. So if anyone has any questions, I’ll see it. Okay. Awesome. And as we break down this research method, right?

A couple of different tools here, we have typical research. It can be researching, looking at blog posts. It could be doing more in-depth research. If anyone’s heard of institutions like Nielsen Norman or e-marketer, there are different websites that have more scientific style publications with insights.

Typically if you work at a larger firm, your firm has memberships that you can have access to. So highly recommend. If you go to a big company, hit up your research firm, or if you’re at a smaller company or startup, highly recommend just hitting up the research team of what are they using to derive insights. The next part are interviews.

So interviews. In interviews, this is just sitting down with somebody asking them questions, understanding more, right?

So this is us just doing a lot of intake of information. Another opportunity is heuristics. So if anyone’s heard of it, this is basically the assessment of an experience. So heuristic methodology is just simply taking screenshots. Of a website of an app step by step and putting notes on it really simple.

A website I really like is, I think it’s called design from mars.com where they do a heuristic analysis and they add like memes in it and make it really funny. But overall it’s really insightful. And I think as we just do our work, there’s so many different ways of doing each deliverable too. And that’s why I don’t want to get too much in the weeds because I’m going to give us some tips or just like how to think through what we use and when.

Brainstorming. So whenever we sit in a room together and we just start ideating putting ideas on a board, how that looks so many different ways and even creating journeys and personas. So there are ways of creating artifacts, right? Artifacts are deliverables. That you can use as a pillar of truth for alignment. There’s a lot of debate right now around just like personas.

Is it like very stereotypical? And so I just overall what’s happening across the spectrum are just different ways of empathizing with our users and being able to document it so that other people can have access to it. So by doing all of these things, as a part of discover, we start creating a bunch of different ideas based on our intake.

Define & gather insights

Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah? In the next phase converging, we start converging when we hit enough. Insights or enough examples that we want to work off of. And for this one in the define phase, or just in general, after you do all this brainstorming, research thinking, we move into different types of workshops or different types of methods that allow us to hone in on one, a couple of different examples is a prioritization methodology.

If you are ever in an instance where you have a lot of ideas and you’re like, I don’t know which one to vote for There are so many different ways of prioritizing. You can use a sticky dot method where you just get a sticker and you play some on different comps that you like to essentially democratize voting have also done this with feature level.

So example you have three different comps right across the board, and you’re like, we want to choose a direction. You can use sticky dots, essentially pick which part of different comps that you like to then move forward with. And so as we start to converge, it doesn’t just have to be converging on concepts, but it could be converging on different parts as well.

Strategic alignment is a really big one of how are we aligning and how are you making these things into pillars that span across the entirety of a project? Yeah. When you explain methodology, can you use an example of an assumption we’re trying to solve? Example assumption. Yes. I have a bunch of examples afterwards that will pressure test us to break down.

Yeah. I think that’s great. And so I think that’s a great way to think about it is, and then we’ll do a couple examples later on in our workshop, but essentially is you have like real world doesn’t work like this, right? Like real world. You don’t get clients that are like, let’s use a double diamond method and we’re going to do this for five hours and this, no, they’re going to go, we want an app.

We want it yesterday. And so what are you going to do about it? Yeah. And so really, we’ll do that exercise later on, but imagine just, these are all different tools. Yeah. And. Basically the number of diamonds too, you don’t have to just only have two. You can do three, you can do four, or you can do 20, you can do one, right?

Ideation & brainstorming

Steven Wakabayashi: If you want to do another iteration, of discover and define, you could do it again, where you ended up testing a couple of things, seeing what resonates and then doing the brainstorming research. Once again, you usually see this with smaller projects becoming bigger projects, and they’ll do this iteration of the discover and define the research phase over and over again, as they increase the real estate of the reach of the product.

And as we get into the more tactical, right? So here we’re defining or creative a strategy, and now we want to get into the actual design of it. And so when we get into develop. Many different ways, right? Wireframing is a method, designing is a method, rapid prototyping is a method, so many different ways.

And this allows us to diverge once again, to create different things, right? Imagine yourself creating wireframe rarely do you really create one, and so I think this is also a great way to also think about these methods in the way that if they are meant to have us diverge, you want more ideas rather than refining it immediately.

If that makes sense. So in this instance, you take the tools of wireframing, designing, rapid prototyping to make multiple comps, to make more of a spread of ideas so that you could converge later on. Too often, as designers, we start working on one thing, we try to perfect it off the bat, but a great recommendation of a creative processes is splitting up.

What is a idea generation in one part of our day and then do the curation editing the other part of the day. And this is set up in different models, even past design with writers, how they do it as they have the idea generation brainstorming, outlining as one part of the day. And then the editing as the next part of the day.

And sometimes as designers, we actually start editing before we idea generate. And that’s when you feel the frustration as a designer, you’re sitting at your computer for the 20th hour in a row. You’re like, I hate this is because you’re doing both diverging and converging at the same time. You’re actually doing many diamonds over and over.

And that’s why it’s really stressing you out. Yeah. And so the idea is if you’re going to start diverging, just divergea lot of diverge all the way out. And then once you get to a point, then just converge start picking your ideas, right? Start pulling people into the room, giving you feedback . That helpful?

Prototyping & delivery

Steven Wakabayashi: And then the last, as we start converging towards a product, right? This is when we start using methods of using either usability testing, right? Seeing what comps work, what doesn’t work we could use for reviews with other peers and colleagues, seeing what works. And as we get more specific into the deliverable, as we get into annotation, development, handoff whichever different methodologies work best to give it to whoever it is, building it.

Breaking down divergence & convergence

Steven Wakabayashi: Pretty broad so I’m going to simplify it even more. Again, diverging generating ideas, converging refining direction. Biggest advice for new designers is keep it separate when you keep it separate, it’s going to help save you so much in the long run. Yeah. You don’t want to keep doing them at the same exact time.

Otherwise you’re just creating so much headache for yourself. And as a part of divergence, it’s about being kind to ourselves, being compassionate with ourselves, and just letting go of perfectionism and just allowing ideas exist. And then converging is bringing the right minds into the room and bringing different disparate ideas together to give feedback so that we can start refining together.

And why we sometimes stress out in meetings is because we sometimes don’t know what we want. Yeah, we go into a room where is this room a moment when we’re going to diverge or converge,, and then you think we’re all going to diverge, but then everyone’s converged. And then you’re like, I hate everyone.

So I think this is another really great way to start thinking about how you even talk to people and setting the expectation of a meeting to say, you know what, in this meeting, our purpose is to diverge. We just want to generate as many ideas as we can. Or the flip side, this is a meeting where we’re going to pick and solidify ideas we’re going to vote.

And so using some of these terms, it’s really great way to help set expectations with meetings so that we can also feel really. Yeah.

So stop judging yourself if you want to diverge. And if you’re going to converge, do not make decisions alone. Yeah. And of course like in the middle, why, I’m not getting into the weeds is because really, depending on just so many external circumstances, this is going to look different, right. Based on timelines, budget, requirements, audience products, teams.

And I’m gonna elaborate on this a little bit timeline being, how long do you have to execute on this? If somebody says one week versus six months, very different, also budgets how much money somebody has allocated to certain aspects of the work? Especially for new designers, unfortunately we come out of systems like bootcamps, reading books that tell us like "this way or the highway," "design thinking is everything," and "Google design sprint is to solve everything." And my biggest advice is to let go.

Some of that undue stress, you put on yourself to have to follow strictly a methodology, just imagine it to be. As if you are studying for college, right? Everyone has different ways of learning, absorbing information. But what if you just read a book that was like, Hey, this is how you’re going to memorize things.

You’re like, I’m going to do it. I’m going to do it. And then you read the book. You’re like, I’m not memorizing, but I’m going to do it like, Oh my God, I hate this. It’s a matter of finding a balance with what is working with you as well. And so as you work through deliverables, see, what are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses? What are areas where you can index more on yourself and what are areas that you want to index more others and understand that this is a team collaborative effort. And when you know how you’ve worked really well, and you can help to bring other people on their journey with you and explain it to them and what you need to be successful.

This is when you have synergy happening. The next one is requirements. So these are things that it just has to have. So in terms of requirements just know that to understand this is to ask a lot of questions, right?

It is to ask a lot of questions to people who are owning the products so that you can understand what exactly does this need to entail. Sometimes you have, 99% of the time, you have people who are owning different parts of the business, right? You have product managers, you have business leads, you have the CEO, and you also have the people who are executing and engineering. And when a team works really well is when their goals are not aligned, which is crazy, right? When your goals are actually not aligned, it’s actually great because everybody is able to rally for different parts of the pieces that come together.

So imagine if everyone, all they cared about was right. Software technology, and it just had to be great. Other parts of the business fail. On the flip side, if all we cared about are users, our timelines or our budgets might fail. And so when a project manager has their goals and what they want to accomplish, you have your ideas, right?

As a user experience designer or designer come to the table and advocate for what your role is supposed to advocate for. Audience, these are the people you’re targeting, addressing work with. Usually when you grow a bigger audience, you want to expand the scope of the project. Product, this is actually, what are you developing.

Is it web? Is it mobile? Is it an application? And then team, this one I want to end on this slide is really important is because who is on your team is going to change the tools that you are going to use. Imagine you have somebody coming on the team. Who’s like awesome researcher, right?

Lean on them to help you research. Lean on them to give you the insights. But also too often we get one structure that works on one team. We keep trying to force fit it onto other teams going, "Oh my God work." And it just doesn’t work out for us. And Rihanna’s not happy. And yeah, so I think that was also really big opportunity for me to learn as well.

It just like all the way through my career. It was just really understanding how to listen more to the people on your team. What are people’s strengths? What are people’s weaknesses and use that to help inform your processes and how you’re going to pick it.

Challenges

Steven Wakabayashi: So a couple of things we just mentioned, designers trying to implement the same processes on every project. This is where I usually see a lot of designer falter. Every project is different. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, think about all these as little pieces. And sometimes we might be able to use more divergent thinking, if we have an opportunity to do and and also think about reallocating time and effort into other things. If you, for example, if things are already defined for you, if somebody said, okay, we’re going to do this work for this 18 year old, to do X, Y, and Z, they’ve already done all the validation of who we are going to address.

So the idea is to just play with different methodologies. Sometimes you could be extremely scrappy with a couple of methods to win you some time so that you can use that later on, see it as that too. Yeah, so true. Learn this hard way during my first internship. I’m glad I learned it early to be on more flexible. Absolutely, light years ahead of me. And then lastly, a good tip I give the designer is if you had to pay for this, how to have your pocket, where would you allocate your energy and resource?

Yeah. Sometimes designers, like I need to do this validation and I’m like, okay, here’s your budget? Go use it, create the ad. No, I don’t want to do research. And so I think it’s a great way to just pressure test, right? Put ourselves in the situation to think a little bit differently in terms of how we can show up with different tools for the team.

Applying these methodologies

Steven Wakabayashi: So this is for Orlando, this is a portion of our talk today or just some scenarios. And I think there’s a great opportunity to just for us to brainstorm based on some of these scenarios. What questions would you ask so that you can understand what tools that you want to develop? First scenario Gmail is updating with a brand new feature during the next month.

What are some questions that you might want to ask so that you can understand what tools to implement or just understand more about the project?

Attendee: Sorry, can you repeat that again? You’re cutting out.

Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah. If we are launching a new iteration of gmail.com in the next month, what questions could you ask so that you can understand what tools you want to employ? So think about, remember the thing that was in the middle of the divergent convergent diamond, all those assumptions or those criteria. What are some questions that you’d want to ask?

Attendee: So we would start with divergent thinking, which would be user centered and research of empathy of how the current application is working and not working.

Steven Wakabayashi: Okay. I will first start off with questions. So before diving straight into employingmethodologies, one question I ask is who’s on my team, who am I working with?

And I’ll say yeah, what are Gmail’s goals with these new features? Yep, absolutely. What other reasons why they’re adding? Yup. Awesome. What are some other questions?

Okay.

I might ask, what are the, who are the new features for? Yeah, this is great. Yeah, exactly. What’s currently working, not currently working with design. Yup. What’s the goal for the end user. Yup. Yup. Yup. And thinking more about just what do you have to work with? Remember the part , you mentioned divergent thinking is how do we gain insight into the knowledge for us to do the right decisions, to make the right decisions. And the first part with any existing product is asking for research and insights into performance or the current product. So you would want to understand. Google analytics. Give me your analytics output. If it’s a consumer facing product where a B2B product, a good question I typically ask is what are your customer support queries spitting out?

If a lot of people are sending questions regarding a certain issue, there’s a feature right? We are already running usability testing sessions, right? With other design team. How do we know if that is? That’s absolutely how we measure it. Absolutely. Yep. And then question two as follow up for everyone is based on all this, right?

Let’s say you have insights. They give you all this. You have a small but powerful and mighty team infinite budget, but you have one month. The broad question I would start off usually is what is actually the most important out of all the tools, right? What different tools will help you to get to the next step that you need?

So we talked about divergent thinking, what is a divergent method that would help you a lot given all of this? Yeah.

Yeah. So we had talked about, let me exit out of this, right? Remember all of these different deliverables down here, just different tools, right? Research and interviews, heuristics, prioritization, alignment, wireframing design. And honestly, the trick, the gag was there’s no right or wrong answer.

50% gag. So the idea is basically right, you want to first choose a method that you diverse with that gives you more insights into how you can start to create the cons. If you want to index more with wireframes you can just say, Hey, yeah, let’s just go straight into wire frames using insights.

But okay. Tip number two for you is the more upstream you go with more of your effort, it eats away at your downstream efforts. Yeah. So the more time and energy you put into the research in the upfront, it takes away from possible potential iterations that you’ll have with design with wireframe.

So in terms of allocating, just imagine you have what’s a good way, like a good like poker chips. Yeah. You have certain number of poker chips, and each methodology has a couple poker chips. And when you have a month, you essentially have, right. How ever, many hours that exists in that timeline.

And as you think through each different feature, each deliverable I would say, start thinking about how you allocate those poker chips. How about this, I’ll just talk through the scenarios and then you can just glean insights from it.

So creating a new app from scratch. But with limited budget. So this is another really broad one, where it’s oftentimes people come with this. And so the first things I’ll ask, right? Exactly like what everyone asks, who is on the team, how much money do you have? How much time do you have?

Triad of efforts

Steven Wakabayashi: And what I didn’t include here is usually this triad, they call it like the triad of efforts. Basically one is time, one is money, and one is fidelity. And basically when you pull on one, it pulls at the other, right? Time, money, fidelity. You can have the highest fidelity item, you’re pulling on that, but it’s going to cost you more time and more money. If you’re gonna pull away, you’re gonna take out time. It’s gonna give you back money, but it’s going to take away from fidelity.

So this is also a great way to think about as you start working with budgets, timeline, fidelity, meaning how refined the product is, right? How many rounds of design iterations, how robust is the design.

And so usually that helps to give an indication of if you don’t have a lot of money, you don’t have a lot of time. You’re not going to get the best app. And so that’s what I, that’s where I would start just like a little bit just understanding some of those questions, and then based off of that, I would, they have so many different names.

I called like the triad of effort.

Breaking down the process further

Steven Wakabayashi: Let me see. And then how I would break it out, is just simply I would just do two chunks, two phases. So what I would do is I would just break it out into things that will help you gain insight into the product, right? Just your research, your discovery phase. If we were just a simple it down, simplify it down completely right.

Research. How much time are you willing to invest in research? On the flip side, how much energy and effort do you just want to go into the design right away? And so to me this is where I would usually start when I’m creating a roadmap for myself. And so don’t, I know I should have simplified these diamonds or whatever, but I would say based off of that, if research is already provided, if it’s already a product that exists on the market, if there’s already enough, I typically will just allocate more energy into revving on the designs, right? On the flip side, if more things are up in the air and you don’t know, this is when you invest more time into that first diamond. So as you work through your process and you start. Another tip is to actually create, what is your process look like from end to end, and what are the different tools you’re implementing so that you can better understand where you want to put efforts. But. As I break down, some of these I’ll get now into the weeds a little bit more in terms of research, is just to understand, Oh, I should put these in the slides, but research is broken up into four quadrants. Basically the developing insights. You want to develop insights for your market, which is current state of where we are at. What are market trends people say, right? Which is different from consumer right. Consumer or the actual individuals and what they want.

Imagine like a mom now and a mom 30 years ago, almost the same thing. Still caring for children. Doing a lot of other things. But market like today versus market 30 years ago will be very different, right? So in the four quadrants, you have one quadrant, which is for market insights. You have one quadrant for consumer insights. Who are you developing for? You have one quadrant for business insights, who are you creating something with? And then the last quadrant is a business company insights. There we go. So business and company are separate or sorry, business and product. There we go. Business and product insights. So business, meaning who are you working with and why is it important to them? Yeah. And then the product insight is what are you creating and why is it important?

And so the idea is in the research phase, you just want to understand all of this. Yeah. You want to understand these four points, consumer, market, business, and product. And basically you’ll have a bunch of them already scattered right across, if it already exists in a product, if consumers already exist. And then basically the distilling of the insight is to agree is information that I’m gleaning, right? Yeah. Is this helpful. Yeah. I know. I should have done a chart for you all. Bear with me. And then the ideation phase later on is for this one, it is just really just wireframe design and development.

So wireframe, meaning what is a blueprint that I’m making, which is imagine you’re creating a house, and you see these light blue blueprints. That’s the wire frame. Design is adding a flush layer of color onto it, but making it with higher fidelity. And then basically development is making it function.

This is in regards to digital design. And so sometimes depending on who’s on the team we can actually bypass a couple of steps if we just want to go straight into the design. Also another huge tip I have for new designers is to also understand who you need to, I should put this in here, but who you need to get agreement from in the process is extremely important to determine what your flow has to look like. So for example, if it’s a very hands-on project where people just want to have a lot of thoughts and decisions, you typically want to make it a lot more comprehensive and broad with insights at each step. But if it’s a smaller team and they just agree on you, you’re like, okay, got it. You can typically then bypass steps.

And why this is important is because let’s say for example, you’re working with a client who’s like very high touch. Hey, Ivan, I want to create a new application on the iPhone. I like, this is my baby. I want to see everything through.

And as you’re working on it, they’re going to be like, "Ivan, what are you doing now? Ivan, what about now? Okay. Tell me, Ivan, ah, stop. But imagine all you did was you popped out of your womb, beautiful designs. It’s already made, they’re going to be like "Ivan, what the, I don’t understand how you did this."

And you’re like, but "I did all this work!"

"Ivan, I don’t like it," and they can’t verbalize what they like or they don’t like. And so the idea of slowing down the process sometimes allows people to join the journey with you. So as I see things to be created, yes, Ivan popping out apps out of his womb.

And as you work through things, sometimes it’s really beneficial to slow things down depending on who you are talking and working with. Yeah. Does that help? In terms of let’s see, and why I don’t really get specific into the nitty gritty sometimes is because really the factors that if I could leave you with anything, it is ask more questions, understand the process, understand the team we are working with and be the consultant where you come into it to offer different pieces, right?

And as designers go up in seniority, basically what you do is you end up presenting different methodology frameworks across different projects and seeing what resonates with people. And so if you can start practicing that now and pitching different processes and creating timelines and seeing what works, this is going to be really beneficial for you later on as well.

Any specific questions so far?

Balancing client and designer input

Attendee: I have a question about like incorporating what the client wants when you’re actually in the design phase. How do you balance being the person who knows their craft and understands design as well as getting input from your client and making sure that their needs are heard, but also still maintaining that? I guess like maintaining. Your knowledge and expertise within the design itself. Does that make sense?

Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah, absolutely. It’s especially for designers. Research is going to be your Knight in shining armor, insights is going to be your Knight in shining armor. So the more you can root your work with what is best practices, what’s performing well in the market, right?

These things are hard to argue, right? Usually as you do more and more work, you generally start to understand how things perform and you can start to index performance of this certain project with what’s happening in the market. And so another great advice is to help explain why you made that decision.

Help explain to them why you went in a certain direction. But I also challenge new designers to not lean so much into aesthetics, but see it more as a science. See, putting together pieces, disparate thoughts and see it as a way of concocting something out of best practices. And typically across our landscape, unless you’re working on a product that’s just like real, cutting edge and out there, it’s been done many times before and there is exhaustive insights, analytics research on what’s good and what’s not great in terms of performance.

And a couple of great resources, Nielsen-Norman is really good that I highly recommend, especially when you’re doing commerce work Nielsen-Norman has a lot of stuff that they offer for free that you can see how things perform across different competitors.

Different websites, that index analytics: Alexa, similarweb.com. Basically you can plug any website into these URLs and then pop out analytics. It’s actually crazy. And so if you work with a client that has somewhat of a traction, if you go to similarweb.com, sign up for free account. Off the bat, you can understand what’s the bounce rate, what’s the click rate. What’s all these metrics without even having access to analytics. So what I typically do is I’ll get websites that I think should be doing well, and I’ll put them through this and assess. Is it really doing well? The numbers aren’t like a hundred percent, but it’s 70% accurate when I’ve compared it to client analytics. And so it’s actually eerily accurate.

What else? Other research? And then at the end of the day, maybe it’s not research oriented, but when we work with other people, as long as we center our work in client focused, client centered thinking, meaning, Hey, if this person wants to work with us and we can deliver for that person. That’s what’s going to make them happy. That’s going to be what’s going to make us satisfied.

So imagine in the instance, all of us, we’re getting our homes redesigned. We hired an interior decorator. They came on site to decorate our entire house. And they started putting all the furniture as black. Every furniture, every piece. And you’re like, but I hate that. I just don’t like that. But it’s so efficient. It’s so clean. You get fur on it. You can’t even tell you can’t even tell if it’s dirty, and they’re like, this is best, but you’re like, I don’t know. I just don’t want it though. But then the interior designer’s like, but this is the best.

And so sometimes you hit tension when even if it might be what you think is best. And it’s just the, client’s not ready to go there yet. Sometimes it’s better to find a happy, medium. Find a balance. And in the case, right in the home, where you got it decorated by interior decorator, even if it’s not perfect.

But they designed it exactly how you wanted it. Also gave you some insights into what’s on the trend, all the different plants,, all that stuff. And then you just end up with a home where you feel comfortable that this is what you wanted. Plus also some advice on, things you try differently, that’s where you want to get to. And that’s where you’re gonna find the sweet spot. Especially working with people. Does that help? Awesome.

Using multiple methodologies at once

Steven Wakabayashi: How often do you find yourself using more than one methodology to solve a problem? Yeah, all the time. I feel like with each methodology too, you end up opening up a can of worms and you sometimes go, Oh, I didn’t realize that was like that. Sometimes in research you uncover, this is just not the right product.

And you’re like we need to figure out what to do with this. And sometimes in design, you realize that technology can’t support what you’re creating. And so the idea is the more you can get into iterating and bringing people along with you on the journey and you get different ideas and thoughts, the faster you can work through and suss out what is and what isn’t working.

Yeah. I would say it’s 99% of the time. It’s like what is expected. Yeah.

Managing your time

Steven Wakabayashi: And so I just share this pie, feel free to keep like sending questions and yeah. Keep answering questions to type it in as any comes along. Splitting up time is just the way we think about our day, right? Eight hours a day, we can split it as innovation versus iteration. Diverging versus converging.

How do we set up our days so that it even aligns with the way that we’re working? And then what we talked in our last talk was around inclusion of people remember, how does that look like? And sometimes that often gets forgotten about right, as we talk about inclusive accessible design.

And so in terms of creating something that is more accessible by other audiences, is it dedicating right? A certain aspect of the day too as well. And then just getting it to time for all of us as we work through the day and getting time back before we lose it all, some advice for you. So the first one is, as you’re working with people proactively set up your reviews.

A lot of designers are like, I’m going to design. You tell me when you’re going to review and you don’t feel good about it because you aren’t prepared. So as working through stuff already, like you have a deliverable set up, when is that check-in going to be, and when is the final review going to be?

And when you can be on top of it, you feel more prepared and it also makes you seem that you are more on top of things. Also don’t set like reviews where it’s you can’t even hit it too. I know. Like you all think you’re perfect. I sometimes think I’m perfect too. And we always underestimate our time, but give yourself buffer.

Yeah. Give yourself a little bit more breathing space and that’s going to save you across your entire career. Yeah. Next step is share more often than you’d like. So we are oftentimes in our own little bubble, we just go off on the side and we’re like tinker. And we come back thinking, Oh my God, it’s perfect.

Love me, embrace me. It doesn’t work like that. And when we can come out of the cave with a couple more things to show people to suss out things, this is when we can get insights quicker. And so along the lines of understand the amount of check-ins you need so that you feel confident with your work.

And proactively set that up yourself. Yeah.

I love that my current team has daily stand ups every day. I’m gonna check in gently as needed. Even though I just started, I like the cadence. Perfect. Daily standup is also another great opportunity to check in with the team as well. Yeah. And if daily is too much, I recommend once every other day, or two times a week, so many different ways.

And then. If you want to go super granular, you can track your time as well. You’ve got sites like toggl or different time-tracking software to track what are you actually working on? What deliverables. And that should give you a better understanding of how long each deliverable takes. And again, as you work through your career, and as you work on different deliverables, the more you can understand how long it takes you to execute on each deliverable will help you be able to come to the table with, okay, that’s going to take me like a week.

And it’s about being brutally honest with yourself. How many times have we been in an instance where we’re like, I’m going to be done with that tomorrow and it’s midnight and it’s not done. And you’re like, Oh my God, what did I do? Or it’s just me. But yeah, it’s across the board.

We, we do that because we’re in the system, unfortunately, that exists, that celebrates people when they do things quicker. We don’t celebrate things, people, when they take a longer time, we actually denigrate them. Stop wasting their money and stop wasting my time. And so see this as us just reacting to the external environment around us.

Yeah. It’s not your fault, but it does not have to be forever. And as we get into estimating, just how long things take really it’s the work that you’re doing, the deliverable plus the number of reviews, that works for you. Again, the keyword is what works for you. Other people might be scheduling meetings that works for them.

And that’s a great opportunity to collaborate and be like, okay, I got you Kiki. Let’s set up those meetings so that we’re aligned. But what works for you is going to be different from everyone else. Yeah. Times the number of people, if you have more people, you’re going to have more check-ins right.

If you also have a bigger amount of people, you actually have smaller check-ins to get buy in, and then you trickle it out where it’s right. There’s strategy behind it too equals a total time something’s going to take, so there’s this down. Why we suck at also identifying how long something takes is because all these variables we totally ignore.

When’s the last time you sat down and you’re like, okay, how many people are going to review this? I’m going to have to actually add a buffer to that much work. We forget that. We’re like, wireframes easy, five hours done? It’s getting reviewed by hundred people, boo. And you’re like oh no. Oh no. But yeah think about all the different variables, that come up that will ensure that will require you to add a little bit of buffer so you can be successful.

And then the last part is just time at work. Just some advice for people at jobs. I think this was a big one for me too, is just in terms of where you allocate your time at work to is extremely valuable.

Especially if you want to get raises. If you want to, go up in the ranks at whichever company. The extra curriculars, sometimes you get immersed and you’re like, Oh my God, I love this need all these like ERG. Unfortunately, they don’t, a hundred percent of the time give you the raise or the promotion that you seek, because remember everyone’s getting hired to be an expert of their craft or bring something to the table.

And unfortunately, sometimes when we have our time also getting taken out by other initiatives, our work impacts suffers. And so really it’s finding this balance of where do we sit and what are we actually trying to get out of it? Yeah. Another tip is, as you are working through and you have free time, a big advice I always give to new designers is raise your hand.

And when you raise your hand, just tap up people, right? Just be likeboop boop boop, like, Hey, I got some free time. Can I help you? And you don’t have to keep doing this up until like midnight. Find a balance. If you have some time through the day, this is a great way, especially for those starting out in your career to get into the spaces like with the right people quickly, because you’re just like, Hey, I got some time, how can I help?

And as you keep coming from the space of how can I help? How can I help? People develop and establish trust with you? And they’ll keep bringing you along, especially when you’re in an advertising setting or when a setting where you have a lot of projects spinning all the time. This is a great way to just go to different creative directors, right?

Or different creative leads that you might not necessarily be reporting into directly so that you can facilitate connection with them and to work on their projects too. And then the last one is perfection versus deadlines. So perfection across the board, I’ve been talking about this at so many talks, but perfectionism is this big demon in our industry that we just have to dismantle.

It doesn’t exist. Whatever you think is perfect is going to change in the next 10 years, three years, two years, I guarantee it. Let’s go back in time, like five years, like who thought, who. The idea of the perfect website 10 years ago versus now also very different. And so there’s so many factors that play. Also aesthetics, right?

I say the word yellow, right? Some of you immediately have an affinity towards " Oh, I love yellow," And some of you are like, "I hate yellow." And some of you are like, "I don’t care." I just said the word, right? And so there’s just so many factors that play in terms of like environmental, in terms of ROI and education, in terms of, just how we were groomed and raised that go into us, having a certain aesthetic.

And this is where biases comes into play. And because we all have our own biases, for good or for worse. It could be due to culture. It could be due to society, education, and a whole plethora of reasons. Perfection doesn’t exist. And absolute perfection doesn’t exist. Yeah.

And so with that is to let it go be easy on yourself. And as you design, just see it as another opportunity, another adventure to try something new, and then you always have the looming deadline that exists. And so the idea is to find a balance between these two dualities of what works best for you and under certain circumstances and instances, you cannot deliver exactly what you’re trying to achieve sometimes because of other forces at play.

It’s okay. This is real world. This is real business. This is real life, right? And so the more nimble you can be, the more adaptive you can be, the more you can come into every scenario and go, okay, I’m a blank slate. Let’s go, this is how you can be more successful, because as technology evolves, everything is evolving extremely rapidly around us.

Also, accessibility rules for websites are changing now, even faster and faster. They’re launching a new set of rules this year, going to launch another set of rules next year. It used to be like every few years, and so you just have to be more on top of things. Not to be obsessive about it, but really to find a balance with it, understanding because things are changing.

You don’t have to be as perfect. Yeah. Yeah, no. Yeah. Fire. Perfect looks different for everyone. Absolutely. Who’s going to get that tattooed? I’m going to get it right here.

Collaboration

Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah. And so we’re running short on time to go into the hangout session, but we’ve just been as an org doing a lot of talks of just, what does it look like?

Which is like how to create more equitable teams I’ll just run you through at a high level what does it look like? And it’s really this relationship that we develop with people that we work on projects with.

So it’s this relationship we have with our work, right? That is a relationship to foster. It’s a relationship we have with our peers, right? Our other designers, our collaborators, there’s also the relationship we have with our community. And if we want to create more mindful products, we have to understand and create more mindful relationships with every single one of these touch points.

Because if you cannot show up for yourself and be mindful and compassionate and kind and loving and caring and all that for yourself, you cannot show up like that for you, your peers, or your community. And as we talk about the word equity, what does it mean? It’s the same thing, right? We’re trying to create love in the system.

We can’t explain what love is. We just have to show what love is, right? And same thing. As we talk about equity, accessibility, all of these things. It’s how do we show and exemplify it? In terms of creating more equitable environments, it comes by showing up for ourselves so that we can show up for our community and our peers.

A little bit of therapy, huh? You weren’t expecting it. We love doing this. All the returners will tell you. Yes. Sometimes we get into Enneagrams too. So yeah. Five minutes. Any questions? Any other questions? Any thoughts? This is at the end of our presentation. Yeah. And we’ll record this and put it online for everyone as well.

 

Transcription by Descript

From design thinking to agile, there are so many ways to think and design. In this session, you will learn:

  • Various design methodologies and when to implement them
  • Finding a balance between the triad of effort
  • Tips to improve collaboration between designers, colleagues, and clients
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