Isn’t it great having extra time to work on your skills? Isn’t it even better to have the liberty of choice and comfort while putting these skills at work? These questions sum up how the COVID 19 lockdowns were a blessing in disguise for the ever-evolving field of UX design. The pandemic crisis made the entire world face a rough time. Under the garb of employee health protection, remote work is the only option left with most of the companies, and the UX industry is no exception to this. However, the professional and aspiring UXers had the advantage of improving their skills of remote collaborations using various advanced modes to work from a distance yet together.
UX design is all about constant adaptations, learning about dynamic user needs, and finding solutions to design problems. UX designing is gaining more popularity than ever because of the growing demand for ease and efficacy that digital products provide. Digital products and virtual experiences are a crucial part of every person’s life today.
From online grocery shopping to OTT entertainment platforms, digital technology is becoming a must and these numbers speak ‘em all. In the initial days of lockdown, India saw a surge of 43% in OTT consumption. A survey study of online Indian shopping behavior revealed that 59% of Indians bought groceries and safety essentials from online sources to avoid physical contact in the lockdown.
These days, seasonal UXers and big UX corporations are delving into remote work and remote collaborations due to pandemic restrictions. Despite working under the observance of social distancing norms, the designing field is on a go mode, and UXers are all set to keep the user needs rolling. However, with the dichotomy of UX at its peak and other industries falling due to the deadly COVID outbreak, remote collaboration is the answer for UXers to stay in the game.
As modern problems require modern solutions, understanding to collaborate efficiently while working remotely is crucial for UXers, but how is this done, or will it even continue? Well, we have got some much-needed answers to this question for you, and here they are!
Keep the dream team intact!
Remote working has its pros and cons. While it can increase the lack of motivation and procrastination, there are some ways to address these problems. Keeping the UX product design team short and manageable is a wise step to take. It is easier and convenient to facilitate collaboration between a few members than a big group.
Remote work can alter the ways of communication and collaboration among colleagues. Working at a distance cannot fill the gap of catching up with coworkers in the tea area, chit-chatting about the exciting projects they are working on, etc. Thus it is vital to keep a smooth channel of conversation among the team members alive.
As desperate times call for desperate measures, it is important to balance work and personal life and give way to virtual or online collaboration. Interactive sessions, fun virtual events, and festive online gatherings are a few possible ways to keep the teamwork in sync and the collaboration alive.
Virtual setting collaborations can be even more efficient and comfortable, which sometimes, in-person collaboration cannot be. Hence networking with multiple stakeholders and real-time collaborations with the team members is vital and possible through virtual communication.
Tools for effective UX collaboration.
Working in different geographies shouldn’t stop the collaborating spirit of designers. UX designers make ideas flow through graphics, so they should also know how to communicate ideas efficiently while they collaborate.
There are some terrific tools available in the market that can foster collaboration easily and efficiently. These include Microsoft Teams, Slack, Digital whiteboards, InVision, etc.
Let us have a look at the most popular collaboration tools for UX design.
Slack- It is a great collaboration and communication tool that most designing teams use these days. Slack is less like a tool and more like a chat room. “Workspace,” which is your organization, is divided into “channels” that are separate group chats. These group chats facilitate seamless communication with teammates and do away with the hassles of too many emails. You can even sync slack with your google drive, iCloud, Dropbox, etc.
InVision- This tool helps collaborate and communicate across various UX and development teams and other stakeholders as well. People use InVision to provide high-fidelity components to the development teams. Designers use low fidelity screens during the solution finding phase, and during the delivery phase, designers switch to high fidelity. InVision also eliminates the stress of multiple meetings.
Digital whiteboards- Tools like Miro, Mural, and InVision’s freehand assist in the collaboration and problem-solving of designers and teams. These tools are widely used for workshop collaboration with small teams and for analyzing sessions as well as affinity diagramming.
Microsoft Teams- Everyone uses this tool for team organization, especially during remote working sessions. It is the best tool for real-time collaboration between UX teams. The reason behind this is the quick feedback and organized conversations provided by MS teams.
The future is hybrid.
Like other sectors, the UX design industry is trying to cut office traffic to abide by the social distancing norms. Few employees are working from home, some from the office and some near from the office. Along with this, as UX designing incorporates freelancers and multiple stakeholders, the need for hybrid collaboration in UX design is at its peak. The tools mentioned above make this hybrid collaboration convenient by making brainstorming sessions and team members’ inclusion easy for the product designing teams.
Adapting to remote and hybrid team collaborations is not a choice but a necessity for UX designers, all thanks to the pandemic. Zoom and webinar tools facilitate the sync and collaboration among the multiple threads of a project via meetings and conferences. This hybrid collaboration and conferences can be the future of UX designing with the ease and comfort they bring to the table.
UX Design is an expanding job market-
The pandemic proved to be a catalyst in accelerating the fast digital transformation. However, the demand for digital products and the people who make them, i.e., the UX designers, is still high.
Exceptions are seen in hospitality markets due to the pandemic. Uber, Swiggy, Zomato, Airbnb, etc., have suffered the bruises of the lockdowns. But indeed, skillful designing has the solution to these problems; the only thing needed is more time and effort.
Bootcamps and training programs online have helped aspiring UX designers to sharpen their professional designing skills. But the market saturation due to covid 19 in the UX design requires highly skilled and experienced designers and not newcomers. However, as the future of UX is going to grow the design trends as the “fast UX” to cut cost and amplify product availability, the junior designers stand a chance, particularly in freelancing and remote collaboration projects.
Healthy collaboration with other sectors and more beneficial innovation is all that the UX designing field requires to open its arms for more jobs. Therefore, to grab more interesting and fruitful projects, fresher UXers should keep in mind evolving their communication and collaboration skills along with sharpening their designing skills.
Despite the challenges which the pandemic brought for the UX design community, the field has a range of fresh collaboration opportunities. Once the UX designers observe and learn the new ways to work in collaborations, iterate designs, and incorporate variant opinions, nothing can stop them from swaying along with the success of digital products, even in the pandemic.