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Adversarial to Harmonious: Building the Developer/UX Connection

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Ever worked on a project where Design and Development blended like oil and water? Whether you're on a UX team of one, or designing with the help of a whole department, the success of your work ends up in the hands of a developer.

Teams with specialized skillsets and certain cross-team cultures can put up walls between designers and developers. We will deconstruct these adversarial relationships from real-world examples, then learn how to convince, collaborate, and co-create.

Being stuck in a storming phase isn’t good for you, your product, and ultimately your users. Bringing harmony to your team is important to your success and your sanity. Hone your best expertise to build relationships, handle differences of opinion, and learn to speak geek to be heard!

Walk out with tools and techniques to stay efficient and deliver the best possible experience for the real human beings who will use it.

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Adversarial to Harmonious: Building the Developer/UX Connection

  1. 1. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Adversarial to Harmonious Building the Developer / UX Connection Nick Tucker @ncktckr Laura Faulkner, PhD @ laurafaulkner
  2. 2. Ever worked on a project where Design and Development blended like oil and water?
  3. 3. Being stuck in a storming phase isn’t good for you, your product, and ultimately your users.
  4. 4. Differing goals, work styles, personalities, and pressures lead to messy results, slow deliveries, and frustration
  5. 5. Bringing harmony to your team is important to your success and your sanity.
  6. 6. Bridging the gap from adversarial to harmonious is possible... + Teamwork techniques Personal connection
  7. 7. Think about your best or most positive experience working with one or more developers. What made it positive? What made it productive or enjoyable, or both? Why do you think it worked well?
  8. 8. Specialized skillsets and cross- team cultures can put up walls between designers and developers.
  9. 9. Teams in the wild Unicorn. One person team that does it all—and pretty well. Horse. Jack-of-all-trades, master of none or one—the results show it. Over-the-wall. Design + Dev working as an assembly line. Integrators. Design + Dev collaborate, but it’s back-and-forth and everyone stays in their corner. Partnership. Design + Dev are in it together, from the beginning.
  10. 10. Designer personas Visual only. Master of Illustrator, meticulous aesthetic detail, no or limited exposure to implementation. Tech savvy. Understands how designs will “translate” to code, foresees constraints, . Prototyper. Knows their way around markup, builds prototypes, speaks “code” to developers.
  11. 11. Developer personas Backend. Works on underlying functionality of product, no or limited UI exposure. Frontend frameworker. Great at Legos, builds UI with frameworks, limited ability to make custom controls and experiences. Frontend master. Solid grasp on UX, can bring a new and unique UI to life from the ground up. Full stack. Hybrid backend and frontend skills, in the unique position to make end-to-end UX shine.
  12. 12. Deconstruct adversarial relationships from experiences.
  13. 13. What causes friction?
  14. 14. Differing priorities for Design and Dev teams. Timelines and budget constraints. Miscommunications and terminology. Opposing philosophies. Divergent goals.
  15. 15. In moments of stress, we all become 5-year-olds.
  16. 16. What does everyone want?
  17. 17. Make customers happy so they love our product. Build something cool, interesting, innovative— something we can be proud of.
  18. 18. How can we begin?
  19. 19. Build relationships, handle differences of opinion, and learn to speak geek to be heard!
  20. 20. Keep a running list of terms. Terms buy you respect. “Fun” references buy you rapport.
  21. 21. Ask, “What is a…” at least every other day. Support your geeks to share their "beautiful information” and "beautiful code."
  22. 22. Diffuse ourselves. Try this: Picture your inner 5-year-old
  23. 23. Take the time to understand constraints.
  24. 24. Defend development needs and goals.
  25. 25. What do designers and developers bring to the table? What do UXers see that devs may not? What do devs see that UXers may not? What do you bring to the table?
  26. 26. What do we need to do as teams?
  27. 27. Learn how to convince, collaborate, and co-create.
  28. 28. Get connected. Talk early and often.
  29. 29. Listen. Understand everyone’s goals.
  30. 30. Play the accordion. Define your expand / contract phases.
  31. 31. Explore together. Pair up and prototype.
  32. 32. Bring developers in at the beginning.
  33. 33. Seek constant feedback to get later buy-in.
  34. 34. Be prepared to describe impact.
  35. 35. Use data and metrics.
  36. 36. Practice a graceful acceptance of give and take.
  37. 37. Tools and techniques to stay efficient and deliver the best possible experience for real people.
  38. 38. Timebox prototyping Don’t get paralyzed looking for perfection. Set your boundaries ahead of time.
  39. 39. Tie-break in the wild Use A/B testing to choose the best experience. Works when engineering is cheap and UR is the long-pole.
  40. 40. Test UX with real code Partner w/ dev to “stress test” designs. Helps cover more variations, keeping everyone aligned. Easy to repeat tests as design evolves.
  41. 41. Co-present to peers and leadership Win together. Quickly cuts to “what’s important”. Everyone wants to look good.
  42. 42. Frontend code review Side-by-side look at what’s been built. Praise and polish together.
  43. 43. E2E walkthru sessions Finishing touches before customers see it.
  44. 44. What will you do come Monday morning?
  45. 45. 1. Pick a few techniques we talked about today that you want to try. 2. Describe the project or people you’ll try them with. 3. What actions will you take and when? Make your plan of action
  46. 46. #UXPA2016 www.uxpa2016.org Session Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/sessionsurvey?sessionid=344 Conference Survey: www.uxpa2016.org/survey nick tucker @ncktckr laura faulkner phd @laurafaulkner Enjoy the session? We’d love your feedback!

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