The latest WUD (World Usability Day) was held in Criteo’s sleek offices, with 3 interesting conferences on innovation. Last week, we shared with you the Smartphone Street Observer. This week, we’re sharing our takeaways from the Altran Prime conference on different ways of working collaboratively.
The benefit of working as a team
(François Vérez – Altran Prime Designer)
The old workflow:
At first, the human factor and the designer worked separately. The ergonomist analyzed the current landscape and came back with his or her initial recommendation for the product. Quite a bit of time was wasted explaining why such and such had been chosen and to transcribe what ergonomists and ethnologists had observed while on the ground.
The new workflow:
They have cut back on the time spent on the initial background analysis and instead test the products more quickly and frequently. Choose a point of view or a hypothesis, and then go and test it on the ground to see if it works.
They always work in pairs even if there’s someone managing each phase.
- The designer works on the ground to observe and listen, to see for himself and even begin prototyping.
- The ergonomist creates alongside and provides creative input to the designer
You may be wondering: why not hire someone who has a combination of design and ergonomy experience? Because it is more interesting, rewarding and richer for designers and ergonomists to work in pairs than alone.
This method saves a lot of time, which can and should offset the cost of having 2 or 3 different people working simultaneously in the same areas of the project.
Reducing the time spent on preliminary analysis and the fast adoption rate also allows them to be more innovative.
A few application examples
This method can be applied to a product, a service, as well as an interface.
- A product experience for a new blood separation machine: The ergonomist and designer went into the field together to understand the daily lives of those who use a machine to separate blood. They were able to quickly put together some paper prototypes to present their ideas to the team and the engineers.
- An interface for an air traffic controller: They sent a multidisciplinary team of 8 people into the field, which allowed them to quickly move onto wireframes. The specs were built gradually as the interface came along. After the tests, the designer was able to do the redesign without waiting for all of the ergonomists’ feedback.
- Work in pairs: this adds rich, complementary perspectives.
- The team should remain involved throughout the entire project.
- Analyze to innovate: adopt a point of view. Even if continuing to conduct the tests is important, it’s more important to take a stance in order to move forwards. We cannot analyze everything or wait until all of the study results are in before moving in a direction.
- Having a designer on board can also help visually interpret the analysis, which then in turn makes communicating about the project much easier within the team and when presenting to the client.
- Back up design choices with arguments: the solution will always be more easily accepted and understood by the team and clients.
Stay tuned for the 3rd article in our WUD series: Elegantt for Trello.