A workflow allows an individual or group of people to work smarter, not harder. It lets them automate internal processes to save time and be efficient within a company. There are physical and digital workflows, both applicable in the work setting.
Specifically in UX, it’s important to have a workflow because there are so many steps involved in the process. One example of a UX digital workflow is having a style library. The benefit to this is that it prevents design debt. According to Invision, the digital product design platform used to make the world's best customer experiences, design debt is “the natural decay that accrues as a project matures - new features are added, old features grow stale, and the codebase starts to get unwieldy.”
Therefore, when a person or team is constantly having their style library updated with new icons, colors, and symbols, there will never come a time when the design “expires.”
A style library also makes the process of accessing what is inside very effective because everything is compiled into one place.
There are numerous examples of workflows and best practices. A product manager should make the workflows clear and customized to the team prior to a project starting.
In my opinion, I think it’s best to have the communication channels, whether they will be face to face or digital, established in the beginning. This will prevent a lot of unnecessary frustration and tension within the team.
Two of the main communication channels I used with my teams and continue to use are Slack and Trello. It enables everyone to be on the same page in regards to the progress of the project or sprint. Another way of communicating can simply be face to face. This can be effective or ineffective depending on the situation. Some people like to work with no distractions while others want direct contact with their team.
Another form of communication besides addressing minor updates is stating the progress of every individual. A physical way of accomplishing this is through standups. For those who don’t know, standups promote team members to actually stand up and say what they are up to, what they plan to accomplish, and any roadblocks they might have. This form of communication is extremely beneficial in my opinion.
Another digital workflow that is vital to being efficient is version control. This includes file naming, file placement, iterations, and updates. There are many programs that were created to help with version control. Two of the many are Abstract and Plant. However, one can still “control the different versions” using google docs as well as their desktop.
After the research takes place, a team will synthesize the data and most probably do design studio. Design studio includes people roughly sketching ideas of how they think the structure should be (using the key findings from research). It is a good way for everyone to express their thoughts and comment on other people’s sketches in an appropriate manner.
After the designs are tested, they are brought to high fidelity and are ready to be handed off to developers. An effective way of doing this is by using programs like Zeplin and Inspect. These two programs show all the details a developer would need without the designer spelling everything out. It prevents time wasted between the designer and the developer as well as potential frustration.
As I mentioned before, there are many workflows, both physical and digital that you and your team can take advantage of. So try some of them out and see what works best for you.
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