My buddy, Shaun has written a really informative article about design collaboration and how it can be used to yield better products. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Shaun in the past and his approach to collaboration and providing feedback was always a positive experience for me. I’m glad he was able to share some insights in how he and his team at Savvy utilize it to create products for their clients.
Collaboration with customers is as important as collaboration with other designers and team members. At Savvy, we keep our customer involved throughout the creation of their product. We take our time to explain options and have discussions with the customer to make sure we understand their thoughts.
This enables us to get buy-in from customers early on and work from clear beginnings and ends. Larger reveals aren’t big surprises, and no one gets to the point where they’re seeing work for the first time.
Looping in customers and having them part of the design conversation is a crucial step in the product creation process. I’ve found that by doing this, you don’t have a lot of surprises and there is less thrashing overall. Feedback is also easier to take.
Often, during a conversation with others, we think more about what we are going to say next rather than what others are saying. This impacts the feedback process, especially in design, because we often know what we want to say before hearing another opinion or solution.
When you choose to listen first and react second, it allows you to fully understand the feedback someone else is presenting and sets you up to go deeper — what is the perspective they’re using and the place they’re coming from?
One of the key skills I had to learn when joining an agency that works with multiple clients is to listen. I’ve found that often listening to a client’s problem allowed me to get to the real reason for their ask. From time to time I learned that what they ask for isn’t what their business needs and so it allows me to then respond with a solution that aligns with solving problems for a business goal.
If you work in an environment that is made up of teams of people across various disciplines, I recommend giving Shaun’s article a read.