Duo on February 26, 2014
Our February @DUO event, Better Websites By Design, addressed the elements of building an engaging website. During the site development process, managing various departments and their respective opinions, while remaining focused on building an effective site, can be difficult. The solution? Collaboration.
Four of Duo’s most talented team members came together on February 18 to discuss the best methods for collaborating on site design and how their differences have proven to be strengths as a result. The speakers included: Molly Lee, Duo’s Senior UX Strategist, Joyce Pang, Duo’s Interaction Designer, Brian Krall, a Senior Front-End Developer and Ariel Upton, Duo’s Marketing Manager.
ICYMI: Here’s a quick rundown of Better Websites By Design.
Websites require responsiveness to be effective.
They must excel in both form and function, but which is more important? Actually, they should be equal. Favoring function over form neglects brand development and conveys a lack of technical prowess. Perhaps more alarming, it shows little faith that the user could navigate the site successfully on their own. Favoring form over function, on the other hand, focuses more on design and conveys self-interest. As a result, content is placed on the back burner and the site becomes more work for the user. Using these pieces in conjunction with one another ensures that the UX designer does not stray too far in optimizing one and neglecting the other.
Collaboration within a specific department is only the first step. Successfully interweaving small pieces together benefits one department, so translating that to several departments has the same effect. Collaboration should start at the beginning with group project sketches and continue with frequent check-ins until the group is ready to test the product. Function as a unit and the result will be more complete with fewer glitches.
Joyce’s advice: design for people, not for flair.
Design is often considered to be the process of “making things look pretty,” but it’s so much more than that. Designers consciously attack a laundry list of tasks that contribute to making a website attractive and functional. Concept development, brand identity brainstorming, style guide creation and quality assurance are just a few of the things that designers want clients to see. Even so, clients typically perceive aesthetic refinement to be the job of a designer. Designers use strategic and technical planning to methodically offer creative solutions to complex problems. When a designer sets a goal, he or she plans to accomplish it in a compelling and powerful way.
Development excels with collaboration.
When development, design and UX work together they are able to solve small problems. Those solutions strengthen the foundation of the project, building momentum that sets the team up to solve larger problems. Develop a design language, or your own style guide, to help avoid some of these small problems altogether. Development should allow the team to see how everything works to ensure positive progress, so get the design into the browser early in the process.
Marketing aims to attract visitors and convert them into qualified leads to ultimately close them as customers.
This process must begin with knowing the customer. Identifying your target audience is the key to creating an engaging website. Conduct buyer persona interviews to find out the types of roles and problems your customers have so you can understand the type of solutions to provide them. It’s essential to know your content, so determine what your content aims to accomplish.
Each department contributes vital assets to the end-goal but collaboration is the key to lifting that end-goal above the client’s expectations. By consciously striving to work with fluidity and common goals in mind, your team can create a website that delights both users and administrators.
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