A perfect design can be made possible with the help of effective collaboration.
To ensure that the result meets expectations, the entire team including designers, creative directors, developers, writers, and other team members have to join hands and perform work with utmost care and crystal clear communication.
This can help your end product to be highly functional and free from major errors.
The iterative design also requires a predictable flow mechanism while we build creative descriptions and obtain the inputs from the clients.
What is design collaboration?
Design collaboration is a collective effort, where the inputs from different stakeholders are taken into consideration for the design approach.
The professional, innovative, and creative inputs from various researchers, coding experts, and other team members put together, create impressive and pleasing designs that evolve to produce the best output.
Perfect design collaboration isn't easy, but not difficult either. With best practices, an ideal approach, and perfect tools, you can build a good design collaboration mechanism.
The design collaboration project process involves a set of procedures that helps to move the design from a mere idea to the final product.
Let's have a look into the steps involved in the design collaboration workflow for a specific business.
Steps of design collaboration workflow
1. The marketing team provides a brief
To implement the design collaboration process, the design requirement and brief of the creative are put forward by the marketing department.
The brief consists of the details regarding the project, the timeline it covers, the important dates, the due dates, and the references.
Once this is completed, then they are compiled and sent across to the design team for further process.
2. The design team reviews the brief
Since the creative brief has been sent to the design team, now they have to work on it. It is essential to make sure that the project is viable and feasible. Also, doubts and questions will be raised from the team.
The marketing team takes care of those queries and doubts. Once both the teams are happy with the decision and it is well aligned, then the creative brief can be accepted and moved to the next stage.
3. The UX and Information Architecture (IA) stage
In bigger projects, there will be a dedicated UX team itself which includes not just designers, but also developers and UX Analysts and headed by a UX Architect. There will be a defined process which includes UX research, user interviews, surveys and based on these an Information Architecture is created. The involvement of the design team with the back-end developers is vital in this stage as the Information Architecture also defines the menu, navigation flow, grouping of categories etc which all require inputs form the developers as these are connected to the database and structuring these in an optimal way is important for the smooth performance of the website or application.
Even though the output of the UX will be wireframes and prototypes, this stage actually defines how the front-end is connected to the back-end database of the website or application. The whole UX process is carried out so as to make the website intuitive and also to make the information available to customers in a minimal number of clicks.
4. The design team submits the first draft
After the confirmation of the creative brief, then the design team can start working with them.
Now, the designers will create a brief design for onboard and work according to the timelines and specifications provided in the creative brief.
Now, the first draft is then sent post-completion to the marketing team to collect the feedback.
5. Feedback is sent by the Marketing team
After receiving the first draft, the marketing team will analyze it. Actionable and corrective feedback is provided by the marketing team in case of a difference of opinion.
The feedback should be clear and it should project the important points, avoid the chances of confusion and let the project move steadily.
6. The design team works to rectify the errors
After the marketing team sends brief feedback, the design team should make necessary modifications and adjustments in the work.
The design team will be required to work effectively and every change should be looked into, with care and need to be rectified.
7. The final design is provided
The above steps can be repetitive until the marketing team becomes satisfied with the work done by the design team. After this, the final draft is made, and these will be exported and delivered. The guidelines for this will be mentioned clearly in the creative brief.
Why design collaboration?
When the abstract idea is developed and the concept is finalized, the teams put collective efforts to create and develop the final product.
The design collaboration enables delegation of the whole process, where every step counts to evolve a huge design structure and finished product.
The designing process is complicated and has many faces. Many people with their efforts put together, help in enabling the design collaboration workflow.
Initially, the marketing team provides a project brief with all the details regarding the project. This includes the timelines, dimensions of the design, and other information. This is useful for the design team to easily review and accept or advise any modifications if required.
The major advantage is that a design collaboration involves the right combination of ideas put together and a combination of their areas of expertise.
It also involves the adoption of various practices to achieve a shared common goal. The design collaboration involved finding new solutions by evaluating the various perspectives and new possibilities.
The designs are meant to match the needs and requirements of the end-user. If it matches well, then the business can hit the target. Having a clear picture right from the beginning and creating awareness with everyone in the team will help to form a good design.
When several designers work on various projects by interacting efficiently with their peers and the stakeholders across various domains, it creates bonds and long-lasting relationships.
Every day is a learning and the new beginning can help you to collaborate and derive fruitful relationships with opportunities to learn and gain knowledge.
Tips to enhance your design collaboration process
The procedure involved in design should be an end-product of innovation, collaboration, and networking.
Also, everyone involved in the team should be aware of the roles being assigned to them.
This should be made through clear and open communication, accurate timelines, experience, and skills.
The following points can let you understand in detail the various methods you can use to enable the collaboration of the design teams.
1. Have an appropriate plan of action
With an effective plan in place, the members will have a clear direction to move ahead.
They will be more clear about the goals to be achieved and the ways to achieve them. Also, the whole process can be subdivided into a roadmap for the achievement of the goal.
Now, the design plan should be detailed and also well-calculated.
While we consider the methods for audience targeting, initially you may create a concept for the design which is user-friendly.
Also, look for the stages, requirements at each stage, the budget, and the scope of the project.
Also, consider the timelines for every project and the final delivery date.
Divide the whole tasks into subtasks with the delegation of tasks among the team, the work gets simpler and effective.
2. Give access to the accurate tools
Naturally, only the right, relevant and accurate tools can serve the deserved quality to your collaboration workflow. Poor tools can affect the workflow and make it more complicated.
Also, the team members can find it undesirable to use a tool that builds problems instead of finding solutions.
Therefore, every team member must have an accurate collaboration tool, so that the entire process is streamlined.
If the project includes website design, then there should be appropriate access to the design software that has good social media integration, SEO techniques and tools, HTML 5 support feature, and more.
You can also make use of apps such as Zoom to enable the video conferencing technique. This way, you can witness the streamlined process.
You may choose the tools as required and they should be able to help you build the process efficiency. Thereby, this enables perfect team collaboration and boosts the quality of design.
3. Monitor the progress
If your goal is to get a perfect finished product, then it is essential to keep an eye on the progress of the project.
Do everything with a schedule set in place. Even when it is about providing the initial draft, collecting and implementing the feedback from the clients, making modifications, or any other project, there should be no compromise in the quality offered.
Have clear communications through email or any other channels to make sure that everything is aligned and on the right track.
Build a strategic approach, and get everyone involved in the communication. Derive meaningful information, feedback, and insights that can help in the long run decisions and the process in general.
4. Share the version control details
The design team finds it very difficult to search through several files and folders for reference. Here, the designing errors can be strictly avoided if the files chosen are up to date.
Now, you can share the guidelines with the team. The version control guidelines must mention the important factors. You should also ensure that these guidelines adhere.
5. Have regular design huddles
Weekly or biweekly huddles can be very useful. These can make everything aligned and share a communication regarding the processes, trends, and other factors.
It is always better to have team discussions or collaboration for the discussion. Also, you can make the groups and also create a platform to raise issues and processes faced by every individual designer.
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6. Have consistent updates
The design collaboration process is a bit complicated. This is because there are many dependencies involved that make it appear more complex.
For example, the work done by a researcher will have an impact on a designer, and the work done by a designer will have a similar impact on the developer.
Due to the dependencies involved, it is advised to have the team communicate regularly, share and communicate the updates.
There are daily updates and meetings often for major collaborative teams, where every single individual can share many ideas and simplify the tasks.
7. Outline the expectations effectively
It is to be noted that everyone has an independent viewpoint. Hence, it is necessary to create an outline of these expectations.
Also, convey the guidelines well with your team and ensure that the copy is being provided to all the team members without fail.
Keep the discussion in one place, and communicate everything with every member.
Meanwhile, consider reviewing the plan and also outline the needs, expectations, and other factors to improve the project.
8. Design and develop rigorously
Develop the components with rigorous and strong design by working with a team of engineers.
Also, take care of getting rid of the friction in the best possible way. The non-design and design methods should collaborate well.
Remember to use a specific pattern for animation, interaction, or transition effects and patterns. Also, set the plan for every work process both the design part and non-design part.
Both together make a large system, and it can help you save time and effort. Also, the efforts will be streamlined and properly aligned.
9. Consider the terminology
The collaboration workflow of design is very complicated. Your team members will be required to check every then and there, you make sure that the collaboration is smooth.
The terminology and the language cannot be neglected. Once the project is under discussion, you must be able to confirm that the key terms of the project are familiar to everyone on the team.
Also, try to check the language and its simplicity. Ensure that the translation doesn't miss out on important things.
10. Review the process periodically
Facilitate feedback and reviews regularly. This way, you can get an idea about the work, and also, the work can be reviewed consistently.
Frequent review of the work done by the team members and communication about the flaws or areas of improvement can help to minimize the huge possible errors in the final product.
Also, get feedback from the members to ensure that every process falls on the right path.
11. Recognize even the small wins
Rewards, appreciation, and recognition can urge the team to work more on the project. In a project that involves design collaboration, there involves smart-work and innovative design ideas.
When you recognize and admire the creative and successful implementations done by the team, this can keep your team members inspired, and gives more energy for them to perform the best work and produce the best results.
To execute the design collaboration project workflow, the design team should take care of the best design strategies and use accurate and relevant tools and resources.
With effective close collaboration, the work becomes smooth and easier than expected. Otherwise, the entire process ends up becoming too complicated and inefficient.
How can Avocode help you in this process?
At Avocode, we help teams build great digital products. We have the best Inspect tool on the market. You can work with Figma, Sketch, Adobe XD, PSD, and Illustrator files to quickly export assets in multiple resolutions and formats, generate and copy code in 10+ languages, get the text from your designs in two clicks, keep track and download design versions, leave contextual comments on top of the designs, and, of course, share, store, organize, collaborate, you name it.
And you can use our Comment tool to review & discuss design progress with transparency, explain your design thinking & share feedback, and track all the changes worthy of your attention.
About the Author: Rithesh Raghavan is the Director at Acodez, a Digital Agency in India. Having a rich experience of 15+ years in Digital Marketing, Rithesh loves to write up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development.
What is Avocode?
It’s an all-in-one tool for teams that want to code and collaborate on UI design files 2x faster.