As a team and as individuals we had a large volume of work to complete with some of us having experience of various areas and others not. We managed to work collaboratively, supporting each other when we encountered areas various team members were weak in. It was an extremely tight deadline but also very rewarding and extremely educational.
Working as a team
Due to the short timeline involved and the fact we were working as a group, we opted to use as many online collaboration tools as possible adopting what worked and discarding anything that was not quick and easy to get to grips with. We used a combination of the following collaborative and communication tools which all allowed inline chats between team members.
- Google Sites
- Used to store all research of various types
- Google Docs
- Used for storing transcripts
- Google Slides
- Used for the creation of presentations
- Real time Board
- Used for the creation of Object & Function maps
- Task analysis maps
- User experience maps
- Task Flow maps
- Storing of secondary visual research
When we met as a group we adopted a process of collectively discussing work to be done, agreeing the tasks to be undertaken and then worked independently for a period of time before regrouping to evaluate and critique the work. Essentially completing short focused design sprints with iterations every two hours. This worked quite well for us and when combined with the online collaboration tools it allowed us to work as a team even though we were not co-located.
Appraisal of my own contribution and my peers.
David, was very adept at quick iterations and his ability to quickly do this set the standard as to level of detail in early iterations. He helped prevent the team getting bogged down in overly fussy design and detail and instead we where able to provide quick rough solutions which we could discard or keep as needed.
Maria’s fine art background and experience of the graphic deign industry helped us visualise the end final prototype and the level of detail we would need so as to make our prototype a functioning and understandable application within Blackboard Learn. By setting the overall fidelity level we all had a standard to work to.
My own contribution, I felt covered two areas. My design background allowed me provide a similar level of detail as Maria, while by background as a team lead allowed me to prevent the team from getting bogged down in non relevant issues and moving the team forward while always being consciousness of the tight deadline, it also provided me with the experience to be able to draw detail out of peoples solutions in a non confrontational manner.
I feel as an individual I could have undertaken more user research in the early stage of the design iteration process, especially with the first prototype. This was down to a combination of time, as I don’t think I really understood the volume of work involved, and the method we chose for the first iteration of the prototype. The paper prototype did not lend itself easily to user testing as it took time to setup and required the team to change the various parts as a user tried to perform the various tasks. Possibly if we had created a digital interactive version of the paper prototype this would have allowed us to user test individually.
Overall the project was an extremely worthwhile process, both from gaining the first hand knowledge of how to undertake the process as well as working with a team under tight deadlines in a very fluid and creative environment. I learnt a lot in a very short space of time.
I went from not fully understanding the process and having various uniformed views about the stages involved, to being confident enough to run a small a paper prototyping session within my workplace. Although previously this is something I wanted to do, I would not have felt anywhere near confident enough to attempt it.