Talk It Out,
Or Write It Down?Thoughts on communicating digital experience design
the next 30 min
1. What is this guy talking about?
2. Evaluate process with 5 questions
3. Real-world scenarios
4. Takeaways / Q&A
Hi, I’m mike
I consult with early-stage product companies
to help them create awesome digital experiences
At the time that I was asked to speak to you,
I was co-teaching UXD at General Assembly.
When teaching, Core UX values
were on my brain more than ever.
We are meant to empathize with our users
and advocate for their needs
That we are meant to instill purpose
in products and experiences
We are meant to educate our collaborators
on the human centered design process
“Your scientists were so preoccupied
with whether or not they could, they
never stopped to think if they should”
– Dr. Ian Malcom
Spread the “why”
•We all agree that our work should be research driven…but we are
practiced in being investigative
•We have to be as adept at communicating our informed
reasoning to our collective team as we are at forming it
•Top quality design is more than the sum of our deliverables
Unless you are a one-person product company,
design work never occurs in a vacuum.
Unicorns are great, But it’s all
about playing well with others.
•Embracing communication starts by accepting that
one size does not fit all
•Even in a stable company, the environmental elements
that impact a project will always vary
•Advocate for the time to evaluate process just as you
we evaluate our design problems
•Don’t abandon methodology, scale it
•Talk, talk, talk, talk… then consider what to write down
Evaluate your task’s goals and resources
Customize the macro approach
Employ a standard library of deliverables
To be custom yet consistent…
Be really, really respectful of your team4
When you kick off a project, start here.
5 questions that will Ensure
1. What is our environment?
•Are we working in-house at a product company,
as a freelancer, at an agency, for ourselves?
•Are we bootstrapped? Funded? Part of a marketing
•Is this a new concept or an evolution/iteration?
•How established is our team? Seasoned together, recently
assembled, cross-department? Are we all in one place?
2. Where are my developers?
•Are my developers sitting next to me, on the other side
of the office, or on the other side of the ocean?
•Are there natural communication barriers such as
language, technical vocabulary, or time zone?
•Are their software formats they are not adept at using?
3. What stages of the project
are UXD’s directly involved in?
•Are we in the room from day 1 to completion? Or are we
responsible for just research, just strategy, just design,
just development, or some combination of several?
•Do we have equal voice? Do we own a particular stage but are
subordinate in others?
•Did we weigh in on scope or has that been predetermined?
4. To whom are we handing off?
•Are we presenting to a group or 1 to 1?
•Is the primary recipient a designer, a developer,
a project manager, or a business stakeholder?
•Is the recipient in place because of their hard skills or
because of their bureaucratic position? What is their
level of design/tech knowledge?
5. How long is the lifespan
of our deliverables?
•Are they selling an idea or providing actual reference
for future actions?
•Do they instantly get converted into a new format or
do they maintain their original format during ongoing use?
•Are they digitally or physically archived?
Funded digital product company
MVP live in the app store
Senior internal design & tech team
Mid-sized Eastern European agency
Dedicated project staff
Research, strategy, concepting,
UX design, visual design
Deliverables presented to internal design & tech leadership
UX documents are appended to Jira stories
Devs begin from UX handoff, prior to visual design
Rapid agile development, deliverables are “archived” quickly
Re-envisioning an IOS App
Re-envisioning an IOS App:
Audit of existing
Steps 1-4 were independent from sprints
Steps 5-7 were modularized and integrated with development sprints
Paper prototyping Invision prototyping Annotated wireframes
Consumer goods company
No prior version
Internal design, social media, & tech team
In-house Wordpress dev
Dedicated project staff
Visual design, QA
Deliverables presented to project management, design,
and social media stakeholders
UX documents used by dev in support of
Photoshop comps to fill in the blanks
Deliverables are trashed once dev is complete
In-Progress marketing blog
Bailing out a marketing blog
Audit of existing
Audit of existing user
Steps 1-6 were completed after visual design and prior to development
Constantly self-evaluate your process looking
for means to improve the communication
Respect your collaborators, respect you scope,
and create documentation accordingly
Never abandon UX methodology, but always
scale to achieve maximum efficiency