ux design with distributed teams

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  • UX DESIGN WITH DISTRIBUTED TEAMShow to ideate, prototype & research together remotely

    Johannes Baeck - @jbaeck - johannesbaeck.com

    UX Camp Hamburg - August 2015


  • Hi, I'm Johannes

    M.A. International Information Management

    UX Consultant & Designer at usability.de (before: Aperto Berlin, IBM)

    Lecturer User-centered Designat the University of Hildesheim

    UX Design Mentor at CareerFoundry

    Maker of Music at the piano and with my ukulele


  • Lately, I have been working more and more with distributed teams

    HannoverBerlin Pune




  • Lately, I have been working more and more with distributed teams

    London Hannover

    San Francisco

    New York

  • And yes I have been in awful conference calls

    A conference call in real lifehttps://youtu.be/DYu_bGbZiiQ

  • My recent experience with distributed teams has been quite good!


  • There are many types of distribution

    All distributedOne/some remote Teams in different locations

    inspired by James Kalbach (http://blog.mural.ly/remote-design-collaboration-survey-results-part-1/)


  • Some all-distributed startups have been designing great products

  • So how can we make user experience design with distributed teams work?


  • Lets have a closer look at our process

    User Research & Testing

    Planning & IdeationPrototyping & Design

    Communication& Team Work

  • Planning & Ideation with Distributed Teams

  • Ideation sessions using shared virtual whiteboards

    Distributed agency Hanno uses virtual sticky notes in mural.ly for remote design thinking ideation sessions.


  • Designers at EightShapes use document cameras and screen sharing to see what their teammate is sketching in real time.

    Sharing paper sketches remotely with document cameras


  • Co-located workshops as a starting point for remote collaboration

    An effective design studio session at the beginning of a project can set the stage for further remote team work.

  • Prototyping & Design with Distributed Teams


  • Hovering ADs


  • fallback when nothing else works out

    Show, dont tell always have a flexible screen sharing stack available

    for this one corporate client

    standard for internal use

    new standard for corporate clients?


  • Let stakeholders directly interact with the design you are talking about

    InVision LiveShare gives every participant a cursor and the possibility to directly comment inside the design layout

  • Axure Team Projects make both remote and non-remote work easier

    Axure Team Projects let designers work together in one file with version control.

  • Set up a workable spec workflow and adapt to developer tools

    UX Design Team

    Dev TeamProduct Management


    JIRA Agile Board for functional spec

    and clarification

    Confluence Wiki for requirements and research data

    Hosted Axure prototype incl. visual design spec

    with version history

  • User Research & Testing with Distributed Teams

  • Why remote user research?

    Reach globally distributed users in their natural environment

    Save time and money (do more iterations)

    Have more research tools in your toolbox

    Moderated (e.g. screen-sharing)

    Self-moderated / Automated (e.g. usertesting.com)

    Diary studies


  • Involve remote stakeholders by streaming research sessions


    Stakeholder Location D

    Test Participant Location B

    User Researchers Location A

    Stakeholders Location E


    en S




  • Before you start with remote research

    Know your audience(are they tech-savvy? how well do they speak your language?)

    Prepare for technology and connectivity issues

    People may behave differently remotely (scheduling: people less committed to being there, trust: can you control my computer?)

    Combine with contextual interviews or lab usability tests for better results if possible

  • Communication & Team Work with Distributed Teams


  • Be aware of your remote constellation and deliberately rethink your process

    - Leif Singer (iDoneThis)

    On a high level I think just being aware that you need to have a remote strategy is important. Don't assume that things will work the same as in a colocated situation. Don't assume that it will just work. Try to communicate more than you'd actually need to. Commit fully, or not at all.


  • Learn to choose your mode of communication wisely

    Mail / IM / JIRA

    Audio Call

    Video Call

    Co-located Workshop

    Building trust and relationships

    Exploring big ideas

    Tackling complex problems

    Getting routine work doneFollowing a maker schedule

    Clarifying urgent issues

  • Build and keep connections

    Virtual presence Sqwiggle shows a snapshot of

    each team member which updates throughout the day

    In-person meetups Distributed team at Zapier

    on a company retreat

    https://zapier.com/learn/the-ultimate-guide-to-remote-working/how-build-culture-remote-team / www.sqwiggle.com

  • Balance remote / non-remote meetings prepare & facilitate!

    - Jason Fried (Basecamp)

    By rationing in-person meetings, their status is evaluated to that of a rare treat. They become something to be savored, something special.


  • But why should I care? Lets just avoid working with distributed teams altogether


  • Why thinking about your remote ux process might prove useful You might not be able to avoid working remotely - so make

    the most of it!

    You get access to more users for user research and you can involve more stakeholders

    Your process becomes more flexible do more iterations (e.g. ideation sessions)

  • Thanks!

    Lets connect