Prototyping vs Management
For years and years, it has been quite a common, natural practice to have top down design related decisions in old hierarchies.
Everybody has different opinions and styles. So whatever a manager in charge thinks, likes and feels might not correspond to a user’s expectation and need. Often, the result is a product that pleases a managing director but finds no use in daily life due to lacking user-friendliness / bad UX and UI.
Another example: You are facing not one, but multiple managers in charge of decisions, all having different expectations and opinions. Which makes the whole decision process a) complicated and b) longer than needed — because everyone will want to add their two cents to the design. The overall result will be the same: A design that most likely won’t create huge buzz among users.
Luckily, there is a huge shift happening in the collaboration of designers and managing people. User testings and prototypes are valued more and more. This is a good thing, because they help reducing steps and feedback loops on the way to the final design.
So — what exactly is different that way?
- The market / user gets to decide what they want. Furthermore, within the framework of user testings, a designer can figure out what a user likes aesthetically, but also what they understand in terms of functionality and flows. In the end, users receive a product that they are actually willing and enjoying to use.
- Instead of long-winded, irrational round tables, you get to see and understand a user’s needs right from the beginning, black on white. No assumptions, no misjudgments. Rather than that, you can react flexibly and agilely to whatever a result a prototype is leading to.
Questions guiding this process can be:
Does our user understand the app and its flow?
Did we find the right tone of voice?
Does our user find its way through the sign up flow?
What and where is the bounce rate?
Which steps are necessary / redundant?
In the end, every designer has a very high aesthetic approach. Nevertheless, the functionality and simplicity of a product are key to its success which is why a user-centered design approach has become so indispensable.
We — instead of they and us
We are happy to observe that more and more managers are opening up, esteeming the importance of early prototyping and testing. This way, everyone involved experiences a lot more understanding and dialogue within the design and decision process.
For what reason? As soon as these new structures are establishing, you will suddenly find yourself situated on the same side with managers / stakeholders, developing a shared understanding of design. Managing and designing people are no longer two sides of one coin but working together, hand in hand.
That is exactly what we exemplify at Studio Lenzing. We test features and designs proactively as soon as possible, because we see it as a core element of ideation that shouldn’t happen downstream. Needless to say, we are happy to collectively work on our projects on an equal footing with all of our clients.