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WebCamp Zagreb 2013 Talk

Me speaking on WebCamp.

Two weeks ago I gave a talk at WebCamp Zagreb and mentioned a few takeaways at the end. They were one-liners and I would like to expand on them as a reminder for those who attended and as an explanation for those who are just going through the slides.

1. Keep everyone in the loop

Communication is the most important factor in any human endeavour. Everyone should know when, how and what needs to be done. Use lightweight tools that allow everyone to see what’s happening, but don’t force them to act if they’re not responsible.

It’s critical for everyone to be aware of how their work affects others and to be able to communicate that. Calling up a meeting to disclose what storage system you’ll use on a device is a waste of everyone’s time expect the programmer’s, but if it triples a loading time between screens then a UX designer should be notified. Knowing where that fine line lies takes experience and a well-coordinated team.

A rule of thumb is that bigger decisions, direction changes and milestone reviews should be shared across a whole team, but small day-to-day stuff should touch only those before or after your work in the pipeline. When that person hears about a change, she should decide if it affects someone else and escalate if necessary.

A sketch of the design process map.

2. Solve a business and user problem before a technical one

When we got the brief to adapt an existing solution for mobile, our first thoughts were not what platform, framework or language we’ll use. Although they can be intriguing questions for a tech-savvy team, they are best left for later. Considering user and business goals should come first and technology should follow as an enabler.

3. Decide what to build before building it

The thing in this project that really had a great impact was having a “stand-alone” UX phase after which the rest of the work was planned.

Outlining the final solution in wireframes and prototypes took only a minor portion of the total time needed to complete the whole project, but it gave a very clear picture of the work that needs to follow. Creating a correct estimate on that is relatively easy, especially compared to doing one at the start of the project with only a few sentences as a brief.

Image credits: WebCamp Zagreb

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