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Rethinking user-centric design

Updated: Mar 21

Setting up a Design Team: How to Build a Multidisciplinary Dream Team

In today's digital age, design plays a vital role in creating successful products and services. To achieve this, companies need to build multidisciplinary design teams that can combine expertise in interaction, visual and industrial design, and industry-specific knowledge.

In this blog post, we'll discuss how to set up a design team that can deliver compelling user experiences.

Identify your team's goals and objectives

Before building a design team, you need to identify your goals and objectives. What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to create a new product, redesign an existing one, or improve your user experience? By defining your goals and objectives, you can determine the skill sets you need in your team.

Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member

Once you've identified your goals and objectives, you can define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. You need to determine the skills and expertise required for each role and what tasks they will be responsible for. A multidisciplinary team should include interaction designers, visual designers, industrial designers, and researchers.

Hire the right people

After defining the roles and responsibilities, you need to hire the right people. Look for individuals who have a strong background in their field and have experience working on projects similar to yours. Hire people who can collaborate effectively, are open to feedback, and have a user-centric approach to design.

Create a collaborative workspace

Design teams need a collaborative workspace where they can work together, share ideas, and collaborate effectively. Consider creating a physical space that promotes collaboration and communication or use online tools that allow team members to work together remotely.

Foster a culture of learning and development

Design is a rapidly evolving field, and it's crucial to keep up with new trends and technologies. Encourage your team members to attend conferences, workshops, and training programs to enhance their skills and knowledge. Offer opportunities for mentorship and continuous learning to help your team members grow and develop.

Embrace user-centered design

Finally, embrace user-centered design (UCD) principles to ensure that your design team is creating products and services that meet the needs of your users. Involve users in the design process and use feedback to iterate and improve your designs. By focusing on the user, you can create products and services that are intuitive, easy to use, and enjoyable.

In conclusion, setting up a design team requires careful planning and consideration. By identifying your goals and objectives, defining roles and responsibilities, hiring the right people, creating a collaborative workspace, fostering a culture of learning and development, and embracing user-centered design, you can build a multidisciplinary dream team that can deliver compelling user experiences.

User-centric design (UCD) is an iterative design process focused on users and their needs at every stage. UCD requires users to be involved in various research and design techniques throughout the process and aims to understand and contextualise the user at all stages. Careful selection of user representatives can represent the diversity of users in user testing. The aim is to make systems usable by addressing users, their range of needs and requirements, as well as human factors such as ergonomics, usability knowledge and techniques.

Microsoft has recently implemented UCD to improve its employees. Where previously internal tools were disjointed and built without reference to users, a new transformational project seeks to streamline the employee tools through an integrated user experience informed by a user centric design philosophy.

Involving Users

There is a range of methodologies and tools that a UXR team can deploy to better understand business users: contextual queries; one-to-one in-depth interviews; high level task analysis; design sprints, and usability tests all provide important information. Galer, Harker and Ziegler (2016) explore these different approaches, encouraging product managers to move from business-centric thinking: about business objectives, release dates and production, to user-centric thinking: about problem validation, hypothesis creation and results.

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