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Dublin Designer Joined over 5 years ago via an invitation from João B.
Hi David, I deal with this on a daily basis. My best approach, if everyone is working in the same space, is to do a quick feedback workshop to explain things and what's you expect of them. After that is done you can follow up each 'department' feedback separately. I don't know if you work in sprints or not but allocating a timeframe for the feedback would be great. This aligns everyone and gives them time to arrange their schedules to meet you. It improves communication and collaboration levels as well as understanding everyone's point of view.
I use Nielson Norman website, UX movement, UX Planet and then Google a bit.
I wrote something very similar 2 years ago. Definitely use some research to validate your suggestions.
I guess it all depends on what does Design mean for the company you are working at.
Is design the product design? Is it the brand/marketing design?
Dirk pointed out most of the things a excellent Head of Design:
Being able to define strategies and measure impact of these
Promote design across the business and show the value design provides
Understand the operational aspects of design and how to improve – reduce cost, encourage innovation
There are literary hundreds of things an excellent Head of design, it all depends on how mature the company/the team is.
I agree with you. It's always a fine balance between what design and business and one can't overpower the other. While designers needs to understand the customers needs but also understand they are working for a business and a business runs on making money or saving money. On the other hand a business needs to understand they are making money of people, and people have needs, expectations and anxieties.
The designer needs to be at the middle of all of it and work with all these variables in order to influence the business to make the right decisions.
Thank you for answering the question.
Tiago thank you very much for such a prompt and straight forward answer. Glad to chat with you about this a bit more on my next visit to Lisbon. I'm going to take your book recommendations and we'll chat about this.
Hope things are going great with your 'new' project. Let's catch up one of these days.
I would say that the best way to look at that is looking at your analytics to understand what is happening. Once you identify what is happening and where you have two options:
Look at small changes that you assume will increase your conversion rate, I would suggest doing these through A/B or multi-variant testing. This way you know if the change was a fluke or not. I call these low hanging fruits, but if you have a nice lean approach and the right metrics you can do really well here.
Look for the 'high' hanging fruit, which is bringing people in that match your audience and interview them regularly and then build your own hypothesis, put them live, measure, learn and repeat.
On both options you need a very well defined metrics to look for. Total users that subscribe is not a nice metric to look for.
Example of a bad metric: Registration flow - Total users who registered vs total users who visited the website.
Example of a good metric: Registration flow - Users who visited the page, ended registering and came back to the website to use the tool/service.
Because your conversion rate on the registration might be high but then if users don't engage, what's the point?
Let me know if this helps.
Thanks for the comprehensive answer. I'll kep this is mind when setting up the design rounds. I too agree the approach breeds to be about the work and not about the designer. Having also the evidence and being able to justify based on the goal/desired outcome is key for a successful conversation. The challenge is in fact how to avoid the space of getting personal, it will be an art on it self and adjustments will be made so these activities can be as productive as possible and an opportunity to grow professionally.
I think the biggest challenge the DM has, specially if she comes from a destination background, is how to develop those people soft skills to support the team. Designers are introvert or very scientific, pragmatic by nature, specially ones who have been on the job for a while. I wonder what and how does one develop such soft skills. Any thoughts on this?
Hey Mitch, great feedback. I'm glad you went through some of the managing people sort of approach. Regarding design critics, how do you see these set up, since designers generally are attached to their own idea and work?
I've faced a few times this kind of posture and I sometimes don't know, apart from explaining that these comments are not personal and always refer back to the outcome we want to get. What in your opinion, a design critic looks like?
Hi Andrew, very interesting answer. Why limit the user-centric thinking just for product and engineering?
And what about the managing the designers part? What do you think it's fundamental for a design manager?
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