This is a guest post from Victor Conesa, VP of Product at Justinmind. Validately is excited to team up with Justinmind. Validately’s tools will be available to Justinmind users later in January.
Web design is becoming a more collaborative process, and we require tools that can support us with this.
For any company that produces apps and websites for its clients, one of the risks is in fact that after weeks or even months of hard work, the intermediate product releases may not meet the clients’ expectations. There are many factors that cause this, however one of these is certainly lack of effective communication and collaboration with all project stakeholders during the design process.
In this post we will explore how a collaborative prototyping platform can improve the design process, serving as a communication tool to integrate everyone involved in a project.
Fill the communication gap with a prototyping tool
Collaboration is a key component of web design thinking and it is enhanced only when the right systems are in place to facilitate efficient communication. In the software world this is crucial, because one of the biggest challenges is to communicate how the design is going to come across in the business world, to people who don’t necessarily speak the same language (tech, or otherwise). It’s only after seeing the ‘final’ product that people really understand and can explain what they actually want.
Prototyping platforms are the obvious solution to fill this communication gap between the business world and the software design world, because thanks to high-fidelity simulation features and highly interactive wireframes and prototypes, clients can actually see a near real-life app or website before developers have even started to code.
“Requirements definition has always been a problem in software, and making it come to light with interactive prototyping really made a difference to a lot of people”. (J. Bellis, Elsevier, Justinmind User, read his story here).
The web design process is built upon creation, communication, collaboration and validation. Collaboration tools help to boost productivity, especially in larger enterprises where there are distributed groups of designers involved. And when you look at it from the client’s standpoint, where many are coming from all over the world and different working environments, collaboration management is key to keep everyone informed.
Furthermore, the input of other people, who may be directly or indirectly involved in the web design process, is crucial to any type of project. What we do alone we can always do better with the help and feedback of our peers.
“Let’s think of all the times you’re getting close to your desired output but you’re just dried up. Then someone comes in suggesting a small change and suddenly everything makes sense.” (M. Lukkarinen, Tieto, Justinmind user, read his story here).
When it comes to prototyping, the whole team should be able to edit and make changes to prototypes together. One person or a small team can easily produce a fully functional prototype that lets the client see and experience a coherent model of the app or website early on. All potential kinks can be ironed out efficiently at this stage, if an appropriate collaboration system is put in place.
Collaborate with your team to create your prototypes
Now the design process can start. A great way of working together is to create a shared prototype at the beginning of the design process, so that the whole team can comment, edit and adapt it simultaneously. Consider sharing assets with your team, keeping the same design code throughout a single project and all the others, thus enhancing brand consistency and improving productivity, as things won’t need to be redrawn.
Furthermore, during the creation process, it’s key that the chosen prototyping tool makes it quick and easy to share the prototype online. The prototype should also be available to view in any browser or device so that the simulation is always available for any type of reviewers to give feedback.
Share and review your prototypes online
Once the first process of creation ends, you’ll have a first design that can be evaluated to check whether it meets the corresponding needs and expectations. Taking advantage of the online account, the prototype can be shared online with clients and users, who can review it and leave useful feedback. To ensure the success of your final product, giving and receiving feedback at the prototyping stage is essential. Feedback is a powerful tool that has become a requirement of the design process. It is conducive to effective teamwork, as it gives everyone the opportunity to voice their opinion at all stages of the process. Moreover, feedback from users is crucial to understanding where our focus should lie when addressing customer needs.
Having detailed screens and a complete view of the overall end user experience allows for real-time testing, iteration and validation. Mapping and testing the entire design enables the designer and reviewers to consider the overall UI and flow as well as the details, and to check for requirements and specifications compliance.
“I can share the prototype through the cloud with my colleagues and clients, and get their feedback, and then quickly do the requested changes and put it back to the cloud to let the clients see it. They are so happy when you do that”. (M.Lukkarinen, Tieto – Justinmind user)
Once the content and features are set and validated, a more detailed and high fidelity prototype can be built based on feedback, and the iterative design process can start again.
To learn more about collaborative prototyping with Justinmind, read on here, or try it for FREE getting the PRO TRIAL version here. Some of our best collaborative features include Publish, Share and Review Online, Real-time Collaboration, and Online and Offline teamwork.