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Next Level Collaboration: The Future of Content and Web Design47:05 with Rebekah Cancino
Tomorrow’s complex digital experiences and responsive design challenges require a new kind of cross-discipline approach to content creation. Successful outcomes demand collaboration and co-creation. Yet, siloed workflows and legacy processes can hold you back. Learn how designers and developers play a key role in creating future-ready content, and leave with skills and actionable approaches you’ll need to transform the way your team produces together.
All right, well I am here today to talk to you 0:01 about collaboration and content design, and what it means to the 0:04 web experiences that we're creating in the future, so before I 0:09 get started, I wanna tell you, a little bit about myself. 0:12 I work at Site Wire, it's a firm of a 100 people in Phoenix, digital agency. 0:16 Just joined the team about two months ago and, these are my people. 0:22 Well, some of them. 0:27 [LAUGH] This is my parents and my husband in the back and my sister. 0:29 Got two more siblings. 0:33 And the reason I wanted to tell you little bit about my family, is because I think. 0:35 Knowing my background will help you understand how 0:39 I've come to think of things a little bit. 0:41 So, my dad was a GIS developer. 0:43 And I grew up, in a really small town in 0:46 Northern Florida and my dad was hearing impaired, he was deaf. 0:49 And so when I was 13, 14 I 0:53 started interpreting for his ESRI word courses right? 0:53 And learning about typography and that vector and raster word data 0:58 and information systems and, how we can interpret rich complex information 1:02 visually and my Mom, sort of the opposite of that my 1:08 Mom is an artist and i learned from my Mom that. 1:13 How you shape things visually and how you combine 1:18 them with words can really shape how people feel. 1:21 And guide them through processes because she also does set design. 1:24 So I learned a lot from them growing up. 1:27 And I was also homeschooled. 1:28 So it really affected, I think, the work that I do today. 1:30 And I'm from Phoenix, which is super awesome. 1:34 If any of you guys wanna come for a visit, 1:36 I can tell you where to find the best tacos. 1:37 And in Phoenix, I have this little guy: Omar Jackson. 1:41 He is amazing. 1:46 He does not like computers. 1:47 Okay. 1:50 So enough about me. 1:50 [LAUGH] Let's talk about collaboration and content design. 1:52 So, before we take a look at the future. 1:56 I thought it would be helpful just for a moment to go back to the past. 1:58 Right. 2:02 So, a lot of times when we think about the industrial revolution 2:03 we think about some of the negative things that came along with it. 2:06 Tenaments, overcrowded cities, non-existent worker rights. 2:09 But, there was actually a lot of advances during the time, right, in health care. 2:14 And literacy and in people marching forward, right? 2:19 And one of the most remarkable things I think about the industrial 2:23 revolution is, that the way people worked and produced together was forever changed. 2:27 There was a little bit of that magic that happens, when the whole is greater., 2:32 than the sum of it's parts, right? 2:36 And that's, that's, when we unlock that magic, that's what drives us forward. 2:38 So, flash forward to today. 2:42 We see that, digital experiences have dramatically 2:45 changed since the birth of the web, right? 2:49 They're extremely interconnected. 2:52 They flow from one device to the next device and, 2:55 and through people's lives through digital and in person experiences. 2:59 There's almost no way to distinguish them. 3:03 They're really interconnected. 3:05 Walgreens, has this amazing App. 3:07 It was, it was amazing before they did their last update. 3:10 It won a webbie award. 3:12 But what's so amazing about this App, Is they, 3:14 they studied the usage stats for it and they 3:16 found that most people using the App, were actually 3:19 in Walgreens at the time they were using it. 3:22 This was really remarkable to them. 3:25 They hadn't planned the experience for that. 3:26 They hadn't thought about that context. 3:28 So, they changed the functionality of the App to suite that. 3:30 So now, when you're using the App, at home you can scan 3:35 bar codes and make a quick list of things you have to pick 3:39 up and when you walk into the store, the App will light up 3:41 a store floor map and guide you to the items on your list. 3:44 Or say that you're waiting for your prescriptions or maybe a 3:47 take care clinic appointment, kind of bored no one likes to wait. 3:51 You can browse through your Instagram or Facebook pics 3:54 and have prints instantly ready, when you're done, right? 3:57 You can scan coupons, it basically is a partner. 4:01 It elevates the in-person experience. 4:04 They're very intertwined, both contextually, and with the 4:06 data nad information that's being transferred back and forth. 4:09 So it really is a whole new world. 4:13 Sorry for the Disney TV reference. 4:16 We have devices that we haven't even dreamed of yet. 4:19 I know a lot of people make fun of the Google Glass and 4:21 all of these wearables that we have, because they seem a little bit silly. 4:24 We know they're just in the middle, of what's coming next. 4:27 But the point is, is that we can't plan, for 4:32 what's coming next, because we haven't even dreamed it yet. 4:34 And so we have to change the way that we produce 4:37 things, because we've been stuck producing content and digital experiences for 4:40 things that we can plan for and when all of the 4:45 constraints and bets are off, we're left with sort of broken processes. 4:47 So it's getting really hard to tell where 4:52 the code ends and the content begins, isn't it? 4:54 Jerod Spool likes to say that everything is content. 4:58 Content is what the user needs or wants right now. 5:01 And that's wrapped in interaction, design. 5:04 It's wrapped in meta data that helps people find it easily and categorize it. 5:08 Content is at the heart of every experience that we design. 5:14 And yet, here we are in 2014, still producing content 5:19 and still producing web experiences like each element is completely interdependent. 5:25 We have, the writerly people, the designer type people, the developers who don't 5:30 get looped in until the end and then, wonder why the heck we thought. 5:35 We can have that sort of interaction design. 5:39 And on that platform or on this device. 5:41 Right, in fact with responsive design, we've 5:44 started to see that these work flows that 5:47 we have and these silos that we've built, 5:50 are starting to really cause us some trouble. 5:52 There's been a lot of articles and things said and talks given. 5:55 About, how with responsive design and adaptive 5:58 content, the friction that we feel, in 6:01 those siloed work processes and our waterfall 6:04 methods are becoming more and more apparent. 6:06 Right? 6:09 There was an article recently posted, I think just 6:10 a couple of weeks ago, on a list apart. 6:13 And, the author was talking about how they 6:16 had landed this new web project and, this web 6:18 project was going to be responsive, it was 6:22 a high profile project, and they were ultra stoked. 6:24 Because they were gonna try all of these new toys and tricks 6:26 and, and methods of building things that they had been wanting to try. 6:30 They were going to try HTML wire frames, and Atomic 6:34 design, adaptive content style ties, all of these awesome things. 6:36 And then, when they actually went to go do them, and try to 6:41 fit those new ways of making things, 6:45 this new methodology into their current workflow. 6:47 They got stuck. 6:51 And what the author came to the conclusion is, is that meeting the demands of a 6:53 multidevice web is much less a problem of 6:58 technique and much more one about how we communicate. 7:00 And communication, is essential to collaboration. 7:04 So, remember earlier how I was talking about the Industrial Revolution? 7:09 There's something interesting, about being in the present time. 7:15 We have this great luxury of being able 7:19 to look back and see quite clearly what happened. 7:21 But if you imagined the people who were living, in the Industrial Revolution. 7:24 I'm sure that they were just going about their daily jobs trying to get through, 7:28 focusing on the task at hand, no idea that they were in the middle of something 7:32 as big as a revolution, so I may sound a little crazy but if you look. 7:39 And how where we are now, and, and contrasted and 7:46 parallel it with what was happening in the Industrial Revolution. 7:49 I think that we're in the midst of another one right now, 7:52 because we're at the point where if we don't learn how to work 7:54 together, in a new way, and change the way we produce,we'll either 7:57 stop making progress, or the companies that don't learn will get left behind. 8:02 Right? 8:06 So, it's time to be greater than the sum of our parts yet again, in a new and 8:07 different way and move from merely collaborating and the 8:11 exchange of ideas and having inputs to actual co-design. 8:16 The co-design is not easy. 8:20 Just like the author of that [UNKNOWN] part article 8:23 noted, you can have the most talented designers and developers. 8:26 Interaction designers and writers on your team. 8:29 But if the processes aren't in place and the communication skills you 8:32 need to make those things happen aren't there, you'll fall short every time. 8:35 Right? 8:40 So, the revolution is already underway, and we see it. 8:41 We see it in projects that we think, how, how was that possible? 8:45 How are they able to build this amazing website or this amazing App? 8:49 It's noticeably different, than everything else that's out there. 8:55 We see these high functioning teams and, I wanted to find out how they did it. 8:58 And so, my normal way of doing a talk 9:03 is I'll research information and try to piece it together. 9:06 On my own, and I realised that was completely 9:10 counter intuitive to the talk that I was giving, 9:13 which was all about communication and collaboration and that 9:15 two or three, four heads are much better than one. 9:20 So what I decided to do instead,is I decided 9:23 to look at projects that really inspired me lately. 9:26 Those projects that I wondered, how did they accomplish this ,what was different. 9:29 And, I called them up I interviewed them on the phone sometimes on the back of a 9:33 über on the way to my next business meeting so, I hadn't intended to share the 9:38 phone recordings with you because they're a little 9:44 ghetto but I thought it'd be much more 9:46 fan, to hear even a low quality phone 9:49 recording then listen to me talk the whole time. 9:52 So, we'll have some of those clips and the people that I interviewed, first 9:54 off, how many of you have seen the new Virgin America site that just launched? 9:57 Only a few? 10:03 It's so rad. 10:05 It's the world's first fully responsive airline website. 10:06 And it's amazing. 10:11 It functions more like a web App. 10:12 And this is the homepage, that is all that's on it isn't this amazing? 10:14 I looked at this and thought how, on earth did they 10:19 get such a large cooperation to whittle down the amount of stuff 10:22 they wanted to cram on the homepage to something as focused 10:27 and streamlined as this and how did they create such a seamless? 10:30 Web App experience, when it's powered by something as old as Sabre? 10:34 Sabre is, is the system that powers all of the flight's information. 10:38 It's, it's archaic. 10:43 So, I interviewed the design team from WorkingCo, to get some of their invites, 10:44 their insights, and we'll hear a few of their stories in a little bit. 10:49 Happy Cog. 10:52 Happy Cog does great work. 10:53 One of the projects that they did that 10:55 really impressed me was a higher education site rebuild. 10:57 I looked at this and I thought, why 11:02 there's a lot of politics that go into that. 11:03 How many times have you been in a project where it's steeped in 11:05 tradition, there's so many people who have opinions and wanna weigh in on things. 11:10 And the end result ends up kind of Frankenstein like. 11:14 This wasn't like that at all. 11:19 It was clear and focused and an amazing experience. 11:20 So, I talked to the designer who worked on this project to get some of her thoughts. 11:24 And then finally, Nicole Fenton is a friend of 11:30 mine and she teamed up with her friend, Kate 11:33 Keifer, from Mail Chimp and they recently wrote this 11:36 book called Writing For the Web With Style and Purpose. 11:38 And what's really interesting about these two ladies 11:42 is, they're really sort of cross discipline people themselves. 11:45 So Kate is steeped in UX she's learned mark down. 11:49 Ooops, What just happened? 11:53 Okay, we're good. 11:54 She's learned mark down to make things easier on her team. 11:55 And Nicole, works hand in hand with developers all the time. 11:59 In fact, sometimes she makes changes to content right in get. 12:02 That's not a normal copywriter. 12:06 And she understands what she's dealing with and how digital is different and 12:09 we need that material literacy, all of us do in order to create 12:13 experiences that matter and, and not have to redo work so I talked 12:18 to them to get a few insights as well, so throughout this talk. 12:22 We, we have a few stories from them peppered in. 12:26 But really all of the insights that I have, 12:29 are sort of distillation of those interviews and those 12:32 conversations that I had, trying to find patterns of 12:36 these high-functioning teams and share them with all of you. 12:39 So, the first step I think. 12:42 To being able to code design. 12:46 And to have true collaboration, where the whole is greater than the sum of the part. 12:50 It's to be open. 12:54 And by being open, I mean being open to possibilities, being open to being wrong. 12:55 Being open, to the fact that maybe our version of idea isn't the best. 13:01 It's always up for grabs. 13:07 Testing is the true answer, right? 13:09 So, the first step in being open is ask a lot of questions. 13:11 Ask a lot of questions, whether it's research, whether it's 13:16 from your co-workers who are also on the same projects. 13:20 I don't know about you and your workplaces but, from some 13:23 of the people that I've talked to, sometimes they don't even 13:27 realize that a project is going on, that really intersects with 13:30 their discipline or their expertise, because 13:34 there's so many blocks in communication. 13:37 So ask, have lunch, take new people to lunch. 13:40 Take, take a department. 13:43 That use, someone from a department that you normally don't talk to. 13:44 See what's going on. 13:48 Be willing to say, I don't know. 13:50 That's the biggest thing. 13:52 We can't make progress and we can't be open to suggestions and improvement, if 13:53 we insist on being right all the time and we insist on making mistakes. 13:58 I've done this plenty of times. 14:02 Ask for feedback, and consider criticisms. 14:05 So, this is huge. 14:08 Feedback in a way, it's a, it's a microversion of being mentored. 14:10 We open ourself up, for someone elses perspective 14:15 to help improve our work or make it better. 14:18 How many of you have read moon rocking with Einstein? 14:20 I was just talking with someone about it last night at dinner. 14:22 Isn't it a great book? 14:25 That book is by Joshua Foer, and 14:27 he proposes that practice doesn't make perfect. 14:29 That, seeing and observing someone who is doing something better than you. 14:34 That you want to be like. 14:39 And, looking at their steps and analyzing 14:41 how those are different from yours helps close 14:43 that gap, and that's the only way to 14:45 achieve excellence, and cruise past the okay plateau. 14:46 There's a video on it on 99U. 14:49 Highly recommend it, check it out. 14:50 But feedback is sort of a miniature version of that, right? 14:53 We can go and we can talk to someone who maybe has more experience in 14:57 a certain area, and just get quick information, 15:00 and don't, don't wait until the next meeting. 15:03 Try to do it right away, quickly. 15:06 And with criticism, criticism can sting the 15:09 most, especially when it's not delivered well. 15:11 That doesn't mean that there isn't value to it. 15:13 With criticism, I would say consider all of it. 15:17 If it doesn't stick after you've considered 15:21 and really thought through if that's something that 15:23 could make a difference or help you improve what you are doing then let it go. 15:26 That's okay, but at least consider it. 15:29 And finally always be learning. 15:32 Learning new methods. 15:34 Learning new ways of talking to people. 15:35 And staying on top, of course, of our industry knowledge. 15:38 There's one thing that I think is really important to mention 15:42 about this how many of you are familiar with Carol Dwecht? 15:45 She's a PhD psychologist. 15:48 She's done research. 15:52 On what it takes to grow. 15:54 What does it mean to have a growth mindset. 15:55 And one of the key things, that's scientifically 15:57 proven that lets someone grow and develop past where 16:00 they are as an adult, cuz most of us tend to plateau, is having an open mindset. 16:04 Lots of interesting research but check that out 16:08 as well, there's a lot of details to it. 16:11 So, the second thing I wanted to mention, was just jump in. 16:14 So, I recently joined a company and one of the things that I'm 16:18 trying to instill in the junior team members, is don't wait to be invited. 16:23 Don't wait for someone to invite you to a meeting. 16:28 Don't be, hurt if you don't. 16:30 If you think that there's an area. 16:32 That you can help in, just go there. 16:35 Nicole Fenton, when I was talking with her, said something really interesting. 16:38 She said, content doesn't belong to content, design doesn't 16:41 belong to design, and code doesn't belong to dev, 16:45 because we are all responsible for the end experience, 16:48 and I think that thinking of it in that way. 16:51 Helps me jump in, in ways where maybe I 16:54 feel like is a little outside of my comfort zone. 16:57 I know that they're interrelated. 16:59 So, I go ahead and get in there. 17:00 Actually, I just mentioned this already. 17:04 So, don't wait to be invited, jump in. 17:05 All of the same principles that you use to design, amazing experiences apply 17:11 to writing, how many of you are familiar with this hierarchy of design goals 17:17 I use it all the time I love it basically? 17:24 We start with functionality and we slowly graduate up to delight. 17:27 We can't have delight if we 17:31 dont' have functionality and intuitiveness and efficiency. 17:32 The same thing, the same principles apply to writing. 17:36 You can't have a personality and focus on brand tone and all 17:39 of those things if you don't have basic clarity and functionality in place. 17:43 So, my main reason for pointing this out, was that if 17:47 you're a designer you're already perfectly poised, to start thinking about content 17:51 and designing things that matter, by starting from the content first, because 17:56 that's what informs our design and 18:00 helps us create contextually relevent experiences. 18:01 And sometimes, content is like code, for all of you developers out there. 18:05 And Nicole has something to say about that, so I'm gonna let her talk to you. 18:09 So this is Nicole. 18:13 You can tweet her @nicoleslaw. 18:15 >> But I think that interface writing is code. 18:18 Like it's code for people, it's code for readers. 18:21 It's like, I'm doing this step. 18:23 What am I supposed to do next? 18:26 You know, and that's a very 18:28 like, programmatic way of dealing with something. 18:29 Like if you're going through a checkout flow and something happens, or you have a 18:33 question, like, an interface writer has to think of it almost like a programmer. 18:38 >> An interface writer has to think of it almost like a programmer. 18:44 So really what she's saying is, its as simple as thinking 18:47 through the steps what's the best way to guide someone through 18:50 this, user journey what's the best way to help someone get 18:53 the information that they need its very logical it branches off. 18:57 There's different possibilities, we have if, then, requirements as well. 19:01 So, if that is a useful framework for you as a developer in 19:05 terms of thinking how to write things more clearly, think of it that way. 19:09 The main point I'm trying to make here is, I think there's a lot of value. 19:13 And becoming T shaped individuals. 19:18 IDEO talks a lot about this and what they mean by 19:20 T shaped individuals are people who have a really deep expertise. 19:23 So really really skilled and knowledgeable in 19:27 one area, but have that material literacy. 19:30 That broad knowledge, that compliments their expertise and 19:33 allows them, to create things that are relevant. 19:37 And work in a way that's more productive, and efficient with their team. 19:39 Michael Evans talked a little bit about his T shaped team members. 19:44 He is the product manager for Work and CO. 19:49 The company who recently redesigned Versions website. 19:52 And so I'll let you guys hear a little bit from him about his thoughts on that. 19:55 For us, it wasn't, we didn't think about it 20:02 as content, we more thought about as like, how 20:05 do we present products to the user in a 20:09 way that really makes it as simple as possible. 20:11 With also presenting like, information that they care about. 20:15 But I mean the whole project was super collaborative. 20:22 Like that's the only way we could do this. 20:25 With the team, our team is very, like our designers can 20:27 program our junior product managers are a little bit our developers are 20:31 pretty so it's like everybody can sort of be in everybody's 20:36 business a little bit and sort of know what's right or wrong. 20:40 >> So, I apologize, the last captions didn't come up for that screen. 20:46 He says, our designers can code, our developers 20:50 know a little bit of UX design, and 20:55 having this cross discipline training and knowledge and 20:58 broad expertise, everybody can be in everybody's business. 21:00 And know when something's going right or wrong. 21:04 This is how we will create efficiencies and be able to produce things quicker. 21:06 So even if content isn't in your job description, it's 21:12 something that can bring a lot of relevance to your work 21:16 that you get to the right answers faster and help 21:19 you produce and design things that mean something, and that work. 21:22 The third point I wanted to make was to make friends and play nice. 21:27 So, join forces, right, if you're working in one area, maybe 21:30 you have another designer who has a slightly different role than you. 21:36 Again, two heads are better than one. 21:40 Jump in and do it together, you'll be surprised 21:42 how much faster you get to the right answers. 21:44 One of the things that work in co mentioned over and 21:47 over again was that they were really really focused on getting that 21:50 virgin america site into development as quickly as possible because they wanted 21:56 to be able to rapidly test it, and iterate on the design. 22:01 So in order to get something into development 22:04 as quickly as possible, you really have to 22:07 have a strong deep knowledge of what you're 22:09 designing for, what the most important information is. 22:13 The hierarchy of importance and, and what user flows makes sense, 22:16 in order to get that in and start testing and tweaking. 22:20 So, Joe Stewart talks a little bit about his process, and how he 22:23 got started and he was on the team was working co as well. 22:27 I'll let him tell you a little bit about that. 22:31 >> For the Virgin project there were two lead designers 22:36 on it, me and my background in graphic design and then this other guy Felipe 22:41 Memoria who's background is with more of a traditional UX and so. 22:47 We started doing the concept work together. 22:53 Were just sitting in the same room, next to each other, you know, usually 22:58 we just stared talking about it a 23:04 little bit of research and client interviews [INAUDIBLE]. 23:07 We draw a lot together like most of the time 23:13 what we're doing is basically drawing really loose wire frames together. 23:16 So like, they'll look like four lines on a piece of paper. 23:20 But you know, we try to talk through it. 23:24 You know, so that part of what 23:27 co-designing which was a, a really big thing. 23:29 >> So, to give you a little context to what 23:33 I had asked him before he told me that story. 23:36 I said, how did you get started? 23:38 How did you even prioritize what was important 23:40 if you were jumping in and doing wire frames? 23:43 Did you work with a content strategist? 23:45 Did you work with someone who knew about the information. 23:47 Who had written for Virgin before, and he said, we didn't. 23:52 Between the project manager, between the UX design experience that Filipe 23:56 had, and Joe's design experience, they were able to put their heads together. 24:02 Put themselves in the user's shoe, right? 24:06 You noticed he mentioned they had done research, they had 24:09 done stake holders interviews, to find out what mattered right? 24:12 And in doing this, they were able to 24:17 get together and really prioritize what information works best. 24:18 So one of the things that I would 24:22 recommend, and one of the things that I like 24:24 to do with my team, is anytime we're 24:26 starting on a new project, we get everyone together. 24:28 We throw out every piece of information that has to be included in 24:31 the experience, and just put it up on the board, kinda like content modeling. 24:35 So we understand the little building blocks that we're 24:39 dealing with and in doing that, we're able to force 24:41 the priority of each one of those elements, and 24:44 get to wire frames that makes sense a lot faster. 24:48 Alright, so the second thing that was a theme in everyone's 24:50 conversations that I talked to, was to make sure that everyone's invited. 24:55 Time and time again they said you can't 25:00 co-design, with just a select amount of people. 25:02 So even though they would start the process, with maybe two or three of them. 25:05 They would very quickly and even before then so remember he mentioned that 25:09 they had done the stakeholder interviews that was getting a lot of people 25:14 in the room to see what mattered and they checked in with them 25:16 often so your designers your devs your UX people your strategists, art director. 25:19 He mentions that all of these people were 25:25 heavily involved in every step of the project 25:28 and there's absolutely no way they could have 25:31 designed something together had those people not been invited. 25:33 I'll let him tell you a little bit about that. 25:37 >> The magic was really when where it, our executive 25:41 had them involve one unbelievably smart thing that Virgin did was. 25:46 They had a lot of stakeholders from a 25:51 lot of different departments all there, all the time. 25:55 So we, we moved into Virgin's office to be there every single day 26:00 and it wasn't like there was one person that we were working with. 26:05 Beta director was there, head of IQ was there, head of 26:09 operations was there, you know, all the different people that understand 26:12 all the different parts, what's gonna make this airline website work 26:16 with us were all there, so it's are you all together. 26:21 It's not like this person works with this person 26:25 and then you have to do this to this person. 26:28 We're all there all together. 26:30 >> They are all there all together. 26:34 I like how he said they are all in the room so 26:36 they could all argue, right, 'cuz you have to hash it out. 26:38 That's one of the things that I think was so amazing when I 26:42 saw that homepage and saw how streamlined that information was on the front. 26:44 Homepages are extremely political. 26:48 Especially when you deal with large 26:50 organizations who have different department heads. 26:51 Sometimes the department heads have competing goals right? 26:54 They got everyone together to make sure they had people's buy-in. 26:59 To make sure that people knew what was happening to gain efficiencies. 27:03 They don't have to go back and explain something or present it. 27:07 One of the things that Joe mentioned was 27:10 they never ever put together a presentation deck. 27:12 Because every time they put together a presentation deck for a client. 27:16 Is time that they didn't spend actually making something 27:20 that mattered to the client and making a difference. 27:23 I thought that was pretty impressive. 27:27 One of the caveats to this, though, is I asked him, 27:29 how are you able to get by doing all of this? 27:34 And he mentioned that Virgin was an exceptional 27:37 client, it was really the right client fit. 27:40 I don't know if any of you are wondering those things but, but I did. 27:43 Cuz, some of the things that they were talking 27:47 about, like moving into virgin's office for a year. 27:48 Having an hour meeting with their team every day, making sure 27:52 that all of the senior level executives where in the room. 27:56 These are not easy things to ask of a company. 27:59 A lot of times you'll get turned down. 28:03 So I think one of the things I learned in 28:05 talking to him, is that in order to code design 28:07 to be possible, we always have to be working at 28:09 educating our clients and selling them on why this matters. 28:13 How it reaches their bottom line. 28:17 Not that it's some fluffy, happier way of doing things. 28:18 But really hitting home on getting things into development faster. 28:22 Not wasting time and money on 28:26 presentations that don't affect their bottom line. 28:28 And making sure that you have everyone's who's opinions matter. 28:31 And who knows about the product and 28:36 understands what it takes to make something work. 28:38 In the room to avoid costly redesigns, going back and forth, 28:40 making simple changes that could have been done had those people been together, but 28:45 in order for that to happen, we have to learn to let go 28:51 and there's a couple things I think about this that are really tough. 28:54 As an individual sometimes when I'm working with proj, our projects and 29:01 someone has maybe an idea or a different way of doing something, 29:06 and I know that's not gonna work or I've been working on 29:10 that project a really long time and I'm deeply invested in it. 29:13 It, it can sting a little bit and 29:17 be a little uncomfortable to trust someone else. 29:19 Enough to really work with them. 29:22 Because you can't co-design with someone and co-create if 29:24 you think that your opinion's better or you're holding 29:27 on to something really tightly because you're not creating 29:29 the room or the space that allows that to happen. 29:32 Right? 29:35 And that can happen in any department. 29:36 Ora, the designer who worked on the higher ed project for Happy Cog. 29:39 Had something interesting to say. 29:44 Her, she's a designer so she focused it on 29:45 what letting go of control looks like as a designer. 29:48 I had asked her or a you worked 29:51 really closely with a client, you worked really closely 29:54 with a content, you started from the content 29:56 first and built this in a really collaborative fashion. 29:58 What would you say to a designer that might hold them back. 30:01 From doing the same thing. 30:05 What are some of the challenges that you want them to be aware of? 30:06 And she had this to say. 30:09 This is Aura, by the way. 30:11 >> So, if you're a designer chances are 30:14 like, an assumption I'll make but it's casly true. 30:18 A somewhat controlling person when it comes to what you're creating. 30:23 And I think what sets your client up for success, is for what 30:28 you're trying to control so deeply to actually, like, take into account. 30:35 That extra variable, right? 30:41 And the, one of the [INAUDIBLE] here or testaments 30:43 to the success of a site is once a 30:46 client puts all their content in does the design 30:50 system that you built still function the way you intended. 30:54 >> Yeah. 30:57 >> And that, that's twofold. 30:58 Like, that has to do, did you build a system that like, has enough needs. 31:00 And then also there's an education guide, like did you teach 31:03 the client what to use where, or what each piece is for? 31:06 So I think the sooner you open yourself up to 31:12 using two accounts for those things rather than trying to like 31:14 jam a square into a circle, you know there's 31:20 I think that you'll be happier once your sites launch. 31:23 You will be able to show them on your website so long. 31:27 [LAUGH] 31:29 >> So some of the things that she said, I want 31:33 to, I want to unpack it because it's easy to gloss over. 31:35 Some of the. 31:38 Challenges she said that we faced. 31:40 Some of the things that stand in our way from having co-design 31:42 and what it means to let go of controllers, a few things, on 31:44 she said making haunting considerations first, was a challenge for her because it 31:47 meant letting go of he older notion of how things should be designed. 31:52 It meant saying well, what are all of the content types and information needs first? 31:58 How can that inform the design? 32:04 And so it means the design sort of flexes and 32:07 bends to fit the content, rather than the other way around. 32:10 So that's one of the ways of giving up control. 32:13 She mentioned something else. 32:16 She said,. 32:17 Educating clients. 32:19 Educating clients and making sure that they understand how the system works. 32:21 That's letting go of the control making sure that we can manage it for them. 32:27 Or sometimes re design things in a way that really 32:32 doesn't even account, we think so much about the users. 32:34 That we forget about the people who have to use the CMS, the people 32:37 who will be responsible for keeping this 32:41 project alive and updated long after they're gone. 32:43 So, and sharing the control earlier on, we ensure that our projects will live longer, 32:46 healthier lives, and stay relevant, far beyond the 32:51 time that we stop working with the team. 32:55 Sorry this, that keeps happening you guys. 32:59 I'm not sure what's up there. 33:01 So, the fourth thing that I wanted to talk about was planning ahead. 33:06 So we've talked a lot about being open and collaborating, 33:11 getting together with other people, making sure you get all the. 33:15 Right people in the room at the same time. 33:19 But one of the things that I really have to mention or I would be doing you 33:21 disservice, is that in order to have really effective 33:25 productive, co-design working sessions, you have to be prepared. 33:29 You cannot go in and not have your agenda planned to a T. 33:34 I don't mean getting really granular, and 33:39 trying to be prescriptive in your approach. 33:41 I just mean being really intentional about how you're gonna use your time. 33:43 And I'll tell you about some of the things I do to prepare for co-design sessions. 33:46 I always do my research and discovery with my team, right? 33:52 To build those shared insights. 33:56 So it can really slow someone down if only one person is 33:58 interfacing a client, only one person is in on the stakeholder interviews. 34:03 Maybe development isn't included in that part at all. 34:08 What can happen is, is that we lose insights 34:12 and we end up having to redo work or regurgitate. 34:15 Information to certain team members. 34:19 So if we can build smaller project teams and make sure that everyone can 34:21 be involved in that discovery and research 34:25 phase, we can have shared roles and responsibilities. 34:28 We, we build that common knowledge and we're able to 34:31 be really informed and work together as a team more efficiently. 34:34 Just a tip: Nicole wanted me to let you guys know that she has some really 34:38 great research questions to get you started on 34:44 the resources section of Nicely Said, the book's website. 34:46 So some of these questions are the exact same 34:50 questions that I use when I'm doing discovery projects, and. 34:52 Getting started when I'm thinking about what to 34:56 consider in terms of both content and design. 34:58 So a really great useful tool. 35:00 The next thing that I think is really 35:05 important is that we have to consider the context. 35:07 And clearly state our project goals. 35:09 We're not going to be able to get together and 35:12 produce anything of meaning, no matter how collaborative it is. 35:14 If we have it, first consider the context in which we're designing for, 35:18 and made sure that our goals 35:22 are overlapping, with user needs, business goals. 35:23 So I like to state those openly. 35:28 It can seem a little funny and stilted when you get into a, a meeting and every 35:29 time you're going into a co-design session to just 35:34 jot it down, but it kind of becomes routine. 35:37 And it really helps you stay focused and I was really pleased to 35:39 hear when I was talking to Joe from Workingco that they do this aswell. 35:42 They have a crystal clear goal when it came to their 35:47 redesign of Virgin America's site and that was to increase bookings. 35:49 So, all of the design decisions they made. 35:54 Of course, wanted to make things easier and focused 35:58 on the user where we are all in service of 36:00 reaching that business goal, which is the whole reason, no 36:03 team was there in the first place, re-doing that site. 36:05 And so, by reminding ourselves, every 36:07 time, we get into create something together. 36:10 Just real quickly, having them up someplace visual. 36:12 We make sure that we don't get off course. 36:15 And that we don't make decisions that down align to 36:16 our, what we're trying to achieve, in the first place. 36:19 By the way, when it comes to user needs. 36:23 If you're curious, the Virgin America project. 36:26 They realy really heavily user testing. 36:29 So. 36:31 Everything they did was shaped by watching something, seeing how 36:32 people were using it, and then iterating on that approach. 36:36 So, really in alignment with this principle. 36:38 And then finally, considering someone's context, even if you 36:42 don't have the time to go through and read all 36:47 the research, maybe you weren't in as a team together 36:49 when you were going through and doing that discovery finding. 36:52 Maybe you're struggling with having one of the stakeholders trying to micro manage a 36:55 project or trying to slow down a productive working session. 37:00 It helps to just jump back in really 37:06 quickly and go through, what is the user thinking, 37:08 feeling and doing at this moment, when we are 37:11 in this user flow, when we're on this screen. 37:14 And sometimes, I even use this to put myself in my client's shoes. 37:17 To make sure that I'm really being a true partner to them. 37:21 So sometimes, when friction comes up again. 37:24 May-, 37:27 maybe I don't have the right answer. 37:27 Maybe I just need to take a step back, 37:30 and have a little bit of empathy for the client. 37:32 And respect them as a subject matter expert. 37:34 And as a true. 37:36 Co creator with me. 37:37 Because there's is that habit a lot of times that we have of 37:39 to separate people who are non-designers 37:43 or non-developers who don't have that expertise. 37:45 From being true experts who can make a 37:49 great decision but that's not always the case. 37:51 Great ideas can come from anywhere. 37:53 This can work for both users and co-workers, clients, et cetera. 37:55 Finally, when it gets down to actually designing the working meeting. 38:00 I like to get really basic. 38:05 So, I put up a visual agenda. 38:07 Some of my friends who can sketch a little bit 38:11 better than me, actually put it out like a real clock. 38:13 I can't do that. 38:16 I can never draw a full circle. 38:16 But I wanna make sure that everyone knows what's going on that day, how 38:19 much time we have to do it, what the goals we need to accomplish are. 38:24 So that everyone's working towards the same thing 38:30 and we can see progress in the meeting. 38:33 This is especially useful if you're doing this with client 38:35 stakeholders because a lot of times it can feel really uncomfortable. 38:38 For clients to be in a situation where you're creating things on the fly. 38:42 It can feel a little bit like am I going to get my money's worth. 38:46 Will they actually accomplish this goal? 38:49 So making sure that you clearly state what 38:52 each collaborative working session is meant to accomplish. 38:56 Having it up and then checking it off as you go through. 38:59 Really helps build trust, keeps people on task, and helps 39:02 ensure that those working sessions are productive as they can be. 39:05 Finally, diverge and converge. 39:10 The whole concept of building buy in means 39:14 that everyone needs to feel heard and listened to. 39:17 That's great, you can start with brainstorming. 39:20 but you can never have a brainstorm session and not end 39:23 with actually narrowing it down and making decisions there's some really 39:27 cool games that you can use gamestorming has them and stanford 39:30 design school has great resources on how to construct more meaningful. 39:35 Divergent and convergent thinking processes. 39:40 So, it's always a flow of getting by in, making sure all of the ideas are heard, 39:43 and then, narrowing down, grouping, prioritizing, organizing,and getting 39:48 to that final decision that you're going to make. 39:53 So, those are the main four areas. 39:56 That I wanted to cover. 39:58 And one of the things I wanted to, to end with is that I've heard a few 40:00 people say this in different ways, people don't 40:05 experience content separately from design, UX, and code ever. 40:08 Like, have you ever talked to your mom? 40:12 My mom has never once said to me, well 40:15 the words sucked but the interaction design was amazing. 40:17 She doesn't need to know what that means, to her they're all 40:21 one thing, and that's how it is to most of our users. 40:24 And so, when we make things, we can't separate them, we 40:28 can't be that way either, we have to do it together, 40:31 because in the end it's all one experience, it's all about 40:33 designing the best experience we can, it'll come from doing it together. 40:37 So. 40:41 Let's create things that matter. 40:44 Let's work together. 40:46 Let's find faster ways to build 40:47 more efficient products and start the revolution. 40:49 Thanks guys. 40:53 [APPLAUSE]. 40:56 We've got a couple minutes for questions. 41:03 >> I concur we have a couple minutes 41:06 for questions would anyone like to ask Rebecca anything, 41:08 I've got one. 41:13 >> Okay. 41:14 >> What's a project so I know you just 41:16 recently changed jobs, you were at Forty before that, right? 41:17 >> Mm-hm, mm-hm. 41:20 >> What is the project that you did at 41:20 Forty where it it first sort of opened your 41:22 eyes that it went a lot better when you 41:25 collaborated in this fashion as opposed to an old one. 41:27 >> Sure, sure. 41:31 But you know it was actually a project where we didn't 41:32 start in a collaborative session, it was for a mobile app. 41:35 The client had come to us, and they had specked out all 41:39 their design requirements really laid out how they wanted it to be accomplished. 41:42 And we kind of, just jumped in and went to work. 41:47 We did our normal discovery process, but once 41:49 we kind of got that information from them, 41:52 we went off to create it on our own, and then came back with some wire frames. 41:54 And. 41:57 For them it really missed the mark. 41:58 It wasn't what they were expecting. 42:00 There were some requirements that we hadn't considered for the type 42:02 of development that they needed and what their developers could do. 42:05 And so we thought, you know, instead of going back 42:09 and forth and iterating on this and trying to get feedback. 42:11 Why don't we just have a meeting where. 42:14 These product managers can be with us, call the developer in, have 42:17 your designer come in and we'll all, we'll all sketch these together. 42:21 So what would normally be like a week long process 42:25 turned into a six hour working session, and we had 42:28 the entire user flow and really fast sketches done that 42:31 informed the more formal wire frames that we had to do. 42:35 For some of the higher ups and execs. 42:38 So it was immediate, it was literally this 42:40 realization of, this could of taken a week. 42:43 But because we were all there, and if we had questions we could ask them. 42:47 If someone had input or concerns it could get 42:51 put in and influence the design right then and there. 42:53 It was amazing. 42:55 >> anyone, as soon as anyone has a question 42:57 just raise your hand cuz I'm just gonna keep going. 42:59 So a lot of you talked about be open, have an open mind, be receptive to criticism. 43:03 >> Mm-hm. 43:08 >> There's gonna be somebody who's hot 43:08 head and doesn't like hearing what they say. 43:10 How do you diffuse tension in some of those co-working experiences- 43:12 >> Sure. 43:15 >> Where you say okay let's, you know, how, how do you go through that process. 43:16 >> Sure. 43:20 So typically I find, this is mostly the case that the people I work with, 43:20 who we have tension with, whether it's a 43:25 client or a coworker, they're not bad people. 43:26 They're not nefarious and wanna make my day suck really bad. 43:28 [LAUGH] Typically what's happening is, something 43:33 they really care about feels threatened. 43:35 Right? 43:37 Something that they think is really important 43:38 to the project, feels like it's at risk. 43:39 And so I try to find out what that is, and why they're feeling that way. 43:42 So I usually do a lit of, a little bit of digging. 43:45 Like, tell me about this, or what's bothering you here? 43:47 And I, I ask. 43:51 A lot of times, we see someone that's kind of upset. 43:53 And we'll never say, hey, is something bothering you? 43:55 Is there any way that I can help? 43:58 Or, is something going wrong here? 43:59 Do you have any concerns about this project. 44:01 A lot of times. 44:03 I found that, in just having a conversation with him. 44:04 And considering that they're not attacking me. 44:08 That I'm able to find out what they were concerned about, 44:12 and it's usually pretty easy to fix, does that make sense? 44:14 >> Absolutely. 44:17 And that, it definitely plays into 44:19 the, the homepage's political comment [CROSSTALK] which 44:20 I thought was really dead on, here's the question right here on the front. 44:23 >> Hey this is more of like a organization or even a sales question. 44:27 >> Okay. 44:32 >> But in my experience one of the hardest things about being able to collaborate 44:32 and have everybody involved in user research, 44:35 is that clients will cut the research parts. 44:38 >> Yes. 44:41 >> Or they'll try to cut out member s of the team to trim the budget back. 44:41 >> Yes, mm-hm. 44:44 >> Cuz they think my nephew makes websites, why can't you 44:44 guys just have two people and do it in two weeks? 44:48 So I'm always interested to hear like what's your approach to, making 44:50 sure that the whole team is able to stay there through the 44:54 duration of a project and selling in the research phases and really 44:57 preserving all the, the time and people you need to do it right? 45:01 >> Sure. 45:04 There's a couple of things. 45:05 It's a two fold question and I can talk to you afterwards about it at length. 45:06 But there's two things. 45:10 One. 45:11 I usually try and find out who's holding the purse strings and why they're tight 45:13 on that budget, why do they think that they only have x amount to spend. 45:17 I also try to find out where they're spending other things 45:20 and I try to put actual value whether it's in experience metrics. 45:24 Or I've actually tied UX and persona development directly to loss of organic 45:29 traffic with panda 4.0 and Hummingbird, because those Google algorithms consider 45:35 the entire experience, so once, once I can translate how what I'm 45:40 doing ties back directly to what they want, whether it's traffic or ROI. 45:44 And make it a lot less fuzzy, putting tangible frameworks around it on 45:49 what they can see, what they can expect from this I'll get better results. 45:54 On the other hand, sometimes you just gotta work with what you've got, 45:59 sometimes you're not gonna be able to get more research budget and what 46:03 I like to do there, is I like to just scale back some 46:06 of the processes that i'm using so it's not that I ever stop applying. 46:10 Best practices or the way I'm thinking about it, it's just that 46:13 maybe, I've got to really condense down the process that I'm going through. 46:17 So perhaps I'm doing just a couple qualitative interviews. 46:21 Right? 46:25 Qualitative interviews are a lot cheaper than backing it up with surveys. 46:25 Or maybe, if I can't do, if they don't have a budget for 46:30 qualitative interviews, I'll say, well, can I talk to your customer service reps? 46:33 The people who interface most directly with your customers. 46:37 That's free, just a couple hours of their time. 46:40 So, I'll usually try and improvise and use the best 46:43 practice methods but in a condensed or scaled back framework. 46:47 Does that make sense? 46:51 >> Great. 46:53 Rebecca that was awesome. 46:54 So, we're out of time, but Rebecca will be in the expo hall during the 46:55 afternoon break, so you can go up and ask her any more questions you might have. 46:59 Let's put our hands together for her, for her right now. 47:02 [APPLAUSE] 47:04
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