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Team Design Reviews: How to Give 'em and Take 'em

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This presentation was delivered during the 2007 IA Summit in Las Vegas. It talks about how Yahoo! design teams have used design reviews to improve their work. Delivered by Dorelle Rabinowitz and Lucas ...

This presentation was delivered during the 2007 IA Summit in Las Vegas. It talks about how Yahoo! design teams have used design reviews to improve their work. Delivered by Dorelle Rabinowitz and Lucas Pettinati

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Team Design Reviews: How to Give 'em and Take 'em Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Team Design Reviews Dorelle Rabinowitz IA Summit 2007 Lucas Pettinati How to Give ‘em and Take ‘em
  • 2. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Let’s introduce ourselves… Dorelle Rabinowitz Lucas Pettinati Design Manager Senior Interaction Designer ‣ Yahoo! Personals ‣ Yahoo! Personals ‣ Yahoo! Platform UED ‣ Yahoo! Platform UED ( Currently at Google ) ( Hiring Dorelle’s replacement ) Our Team ‣ Our User Experience Design (UED) team works collaboratively ‣ Our environment is conducive to collaboration across functional teams ‣ We perform various roles: - IxD - Visual Designer - Researcher - Prototyper - Web Developer 2
  • 3. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Three major kinds of design reviews Ad-hoc Reviews ‣ Extremely frequent and informal ‣ Meet 1:1 with designers and stakeholders ‣ Quick feedback on explorations and ideas Team Reviews ‣ Regularly scheduled ‣ Team provides guidance to improve usability and solve open problems ‣ Collaborative refinement of solutions Stakeholder Reviews ‣ Scheduled for key project milestones ‣ Stakeholders validate design against competing needs ‣ Decisions based on prioritization of objectives 3
  • 4. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. The focus our talk today is Team Reviews Team Reviews are Team Reviews are not Discussions around Design by committee design decisions Critiques that provide Driven by personal opinion encouragement Directions, next steps, Show and tell session and approvals
  • 5. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Everyone in our immediate team participates Attendance is limited to UED ‣ Typically we discuss work before it is reviewed with other stakeholders ‣ We may go into great detail about a particular methodology or deliverable Everyone is free to comment ‣ The key to a smooth session is to have a decision-maker Design reviews work best in a trusting, non-judgmental environment 5
  • 6. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. The team shares work at various stages of the design process Concept ideas & sketches Design explorations User research plans, competitive assessments, content inventory, taxonomies Deliverables ‣ Flows and Sitemaps ‣ Wireframes ‣ Visual Mockups ‣ Specs Feedback depends on the design stage and varies from suggested alternate solutions to final approval 6
  • 7. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. A slice of our process (re) TEST Project Completeness (re) ARCHITECT (re) DEFINE Time 7
  • 8. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Reviews are beneficial throughout a project Scope Creep Requirements Within Scope Project Completeness Deadline Early Late Team Team Usability Stakeholder Begin End Time Testing Review Review Review Project Project 8
  • 9. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. We recommend having team reviews at the same time at least once a week Make it a regular thing ‣ Part of the way things work ‣ Work doesn’t have to be “ready” ‣ Attendance is assumed Frequency depends on the size of the team and the decisions that need to be made ‣ Presenters generally need 20 minutes (or more) ‣ Allow time for feedback and discussions 9
  • 10. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Team members play multiple roles during a review Organizer Presenter Participant Decision-Maker 10
  • 11. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. The Organizer runs the session Before During After Determines who Keeps time Distributes notes will present Prioritizes Focuses Obsesses projects to be feedback reviewed Takes notes 11
  • 12. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Presenters do the most work but get the biggest payoff Before During After Determines Explains project Synthesize presentation goals, plans, feedback format and kind of feedback needed Constructs Explains design Iterate argument decisions Be open-minded You are not your design Take notes 12
  • 13. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Participants have it easy Before During After Plan on Listen Follow-up 1:1s Wait to judge attending Respect the Iterate difference between positive feedback and personal opinion Remember that you’re trying to be helpful 13
  • 14. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Decision-Makers are like referees Before During After Keep an eye on Manage team Assist with next progress expectations of steps how to give and take feedback As team trust builds, this becomes less needed Help presenters Make decisions Provide therapy prepare if team is split Reality checks Team collaboration leads to natural decisions – it’s not design by committee 14
  • 15. Let’s do a really short review ( it’ll be fun )
  • 16. First Impression [ Choose your own topics ] Tina Her Ideal Man PRIMARY Smoking Doesn't smoke Doesn't smoke PHOTO Height 5' 4" tall 5' 6" to 6' 2" Has Kids No No Body Type Athletic Average, Athletic, Muscular Education College Grad Some College, College Grad ! Listen to her voice greeting Watch her video greeting " SECONDARY PHOTO Q: Who are you and what kind of person are you looking for? I am an intelligent, adventurous, and sometimes outrageous, professional scientist, dancing through life, longing to share lifes adventures and wonderments with a special person. I enjoy hiking and camping, music XC skiing and cooking... And everything is better together! Appearance SECONDARY Her Ideal Man Tina PHOTO 34 years old Age 30 to 40 years old Caucasian Ethnicity Caucasian or Hispanic/Latino 5' 4" tall Height 5' 6" to 6' 2" 1st Athletic Body Type Average, Athletic 1st Brown eyes Eye Color Any SECONDARY Light Brown hair Hair Color Any PHOTO Lifestyle Her Ideal Man Tina Doesn't smoke Smoking Doesn't smoke 1st Drinks socially Alcohol Drinks socially SECONDARY PHOTO College Grad Education Some College or College Grad 1st Full-time Employment Full-time or Self-employed Entertainment / Media Occupation Any $75,000 to $99,000 Income Any Family & Home Her Ideal Man Tina ADVERTISING San Jose, CA Location Within 50 miles of her Catholic Religion Any I'll tell you later Attends Services Any Single - never married Ever Been Married Any With roommate(s) Living Situation Any No Has Kids No 1st I'll tell you later Wants (more) kids Any
  • 17. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Design reviews are effective for a number of reasons Often we crank on our own projects, deal with our own issues and feel isolated. During team reviews we can answer the following: ‣ Does this solution solve all the right issues? ‣ What aspects can we compromise on, and what battles do we fight? ‣ Has this solution been discussed in a previous project? ‣ Is this solution ready to be shared with the “outside”? - Business folks - Clients - Other stakeholders ‣ Do we feel confident that our work delivers what was promised? 18
  • 18. Team reviews prevent absolute failure ...while improving design integrity 19
  • 19. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Benefits to the team Presenters know they don’t have to think of every teeny thing ‣ New solutions often come up during reviews ‣ Some details are best explored in a group setting Participants learn about areas in which they may not be a subject matter expert ‣ The team is exposed to the body of work rather than their individual silos The forum provides a sounding board for every discipline to contribute ‣ Improves cross-functional expertise ‣ Jump-starts future phases and smoothes hand-offs The end product is better because of all the iterations and input 20
  • 20. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Benefits to Decision-Makers Helps keep track of the volume of work ‣ Understand who is doing what and how well they’re doing it ‣ Assess need to intervene ‣ Is someone ready to take on more responsibility Are we adhering to corporate standards? Does the work contain a new pattern or best practice? This process inspires confidence in sign-offs 21
  • 21. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Tips & Reminders Take notes on printouts ‣ This makes it easier to reference specific issues with a solution ‣ Sketch alternate solutions in context Constructive feedback provides a direction, not an opinion ‣ “I don’t like it” and “It’s just ugly” are not very useful ‣ Express what you don’t like or what specific things make a solution unattractive Presenters should ask for clarification if needed ‣ Accept feedback from the team, perhaps they see something you don’t ‣ Embrace the idea that meaningful feedback is the best way for you to improve your skills 22
  • 22. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Tips & Reminders Don’t take negative feedback personally ‣ You are not your work It’s hard to distance yourself from your work ‣ If you approach a review as an opportunity to get more help on a project, then reviews become much less about your work, and much more about communal problem solving ‣ The more we “practice” our craft, the more feedback we get, the better we become Take your time reaching a decision ‣ If more exploration is needed, advocate it ‣ It’s okay to mix and match between different proposed directions 23
  • 23. Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved. Parting thought... “Conceptual integrity in turn dictates that the design must proceed from one mind, or from a very small number of agreeing resonant minds.” Frederick Brooks Jr. 24
  • 24. Questions? Dorelle Rabinowitz dorelle@google.com Lucas Pettinati lucasp@yahoo-inc.com Copyright © 2007 Pettinati/Rabinowitz All rights reserved.