Leading design is equipping others

Anne’s approach has been different. When she joined the team, her first assignment was to go through what the team had already done. She found most of the screens to be poorly designed, with a lot of jargon and extra work for the users to do simple things.

She immediately scheduled usability tests and invited the developers to watch users work with their designs. The outcome was as she predicted: not very usable.

Initially her teammates were deflated, but they caught on quickly. And saw the opportunities for change.

Anne never held brownbag lectures about fundamentals. Instead, she went to the whiteboard with the developers and sketched out new designs. She explained why she was changing things.

Eventually, the developers started coming to Anne with their sketches before they started implementing anything. She’d share what she thought would work and what she thought might be an issue for the users.

Over time, she told us, the developers would start to critique their own work. They were getting better.

Designing without a Designer
Jared M. Spool, UIE, May 20, 2015

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