Designing Faster

I’m at an inflection point in my career of building digital services and reflecting on two things:

  1. How can we design better?
  2. How can we design faster?

While the thoughts are still in flux I’m going to set them down here and stew on them a bit.

  1. A Cadance is a cycle like a sprint, but every day is scheduled for a certain activity such as designing, studio, making tests, testing, reviewing tests, etc. If the schedule is set there’s less need to spend time discussing the schedule and less time figuring out what to do each day, instead you just do it. And if it’s an aggressive schedule you get a lot done fast. It relies on a project manager/product manager/leads to work in a parallel track to slot work into the cadence.
  2. Made-to-measure design recognizes that not every assignment requires bespoke design, and not every schedule or budget allows for bespoke design. And from the customer’s point of view we may want to leverage UI conventions that are familiar to them. So instead a made-to-measure approach uses not only frameworks (e.g. CSS and HTML such as Bootstrap) but genre-specific templates for dashboards etc.
  3. Inverting studio and desk time is something that often happens naturally when in war mode, but could be done all the time: spend most of the time together designing and rather than stop the studio at the post-it note or sketch level, keep iterating and adding details. Then spend the minority of time, say one day per week, working solo to document and refine the work.
  4. Testing constantly is now possible. Remote, asynchronous testing tools have become so easy and affordable we can bite off many more of our hypotheses and set up a queue of tests so feedback arrives as rapidly and as plentifully as analytics.