Written by Jed Grant
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Usually an interaction designer works to understand and implement project requirements in a way that allows users to most effectively accomplish their tasks. In this model, team members review designs and offer feedback, which leads to valuable improvements in the product design. Various iterations with the team happen before the design is even presented to the client.
When you present the design to the client, the client usually requests additional changes, which in turn leads to further iterations of design. The whole process to complete a design varies in the number of iterations—it can be excessive or light, depending on the team and client.
However, I’ve recently discovered several advantages to collaborative interaction design—that is, working alongside another designer on the same project. Collaborative design can reduce the number of iterations it takes to reach a high quality of design.
I had never considered working in tandem with another designer until a recent project when I found that regular discussion and feedback from another designer allowed for greater intuitive leaps in the quality of our work.
The regular discussion refined significant design elements and layout much more thoroughly, before we even presented the product to the team or client.
With collaborative design, both designers usually enter a project with a strong understanding of design choices. This helps us make better informed choices and leads to an increase in overall design quality.
Working as a design team has been an enlightening experience, and I am beginning to think that multiple designers on a single project provides enough benefit that it may be valuable to maintain the practice as a standard methodology.
Collaboration to the Face
Each week the interaction designers have an open forum called “Collaboration to the Face” to discuss or share their work and get assistance or feedback if they choose.
Typically this proves to be a very beneficial activity for those who are able to take advantage of it. By extension I have found that a design team on a single project is able to gain similar advantages on a daily basis.
While I am sure there are drawbacks and other considerations, I think working in a collaborative manner is valuable and hope to have similar experiences in the future.