Collaborative design is the new norm for companies and learning the ins and outs of this phase are vital to the UX process. The following is a guide to collaborative design, including key ideas for developing, organizing and structuring the collaborative design phase.

What Is Collaborative Design?

Collaborative design is a process that brings together different ideas, roles and team members. Collaborative design is a multi-staged UX (user experience) process that involves planning and strategy developed by user feedback. The design phase of the UX process is iterative.

Collaborative design is related to collaborative marketing and is part of a UX process that achieves different stages, along with design, to reach a final goal of a product or campaign. Imagine each UX process has a beginning, middle and end. The design phase is the middle, the research phase is the beginning and the launch phase is the end. Though this is a very simplified view of most UX processes, it helps you understand the grand scheme of where collaborative design falls into place.

A group of coworkers in a meeting.
Collaborative design is part of collaborative marketing.

A Design Phase Is Iterative

A design phase for a UX project is both collaborative and iterative. It’s collaborative in that it soaks up feedback and ideas from different people, sources and departments. It’s iterative because it then uses those ideas over and over again to polish them and reach a desirable end goal of a campaign. This is a three-step procedure: brainstorm, design and revise based on market feedback. By repeating these three steps, teams achieve close approximations of their design goals. Collaborative design teams are part of an iterative process that strengthens design integrity. They also are able to hone-in on client or market needs.

An example to demonstrate iteration is an ice cream store giving out taste tests of new flavored ice cream to a focus group. After a flavor is eaten, the test subject says what’s good or bad about it. The store then uses the feedback to refine the ice cream based on the preferences of the user. They then try the new improved flavor again on another test group to see if their changes have worked. This is the iteration process of the UX design phase in action.

Male and female colleagues work on ideas using a whiteboard.
The iteration phase helps companies refine ideas.

Software to Assist the Design Phase

Once design became mostly collaborative, companies followed suit by developing software that encouraged this process. It’s important to implement tools that coincide with the entire UX process for a campaign, particularly the design process. The right software furthers the collaboration possibilities through increased communication, file sharing and creativity.

Digital asset management (DAM) from Canto is optimized for giving teams structure and stability during the design phase of their collaboration. DAM has the power to unite teams and ideas during a project. For example, if a team is researching an idea, they can share their collective research files in a centralized library created within the DAM system. This allows for more connected teams during research and boosts strategies. Early planning of the design, be it sketches or graphs, are easily stored and shared. This allows full transparency of the direction the project is moving in. During the design phase, teams are able to use metadata tagging to locate and save files specific to design.

In order to develop strong user experience, collaborative design needs to be optimized. Remember these key features to correctly develop it.

 

Casey Schmidt – Content Manager and Industry Expert | Canto

Casey is a content management and branding expert who enjoys taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand for readers.