5 Tools for a Remote UX Design Process
Are you working remotely as a UX designer? If so, you have probably found that there are many advantages to working remotely; you can dictate your own hours, you can work from anywhere in the world, and you are able to tap into a global client base. However, working remotely as a US designer can also bring challenges. At Pixel506, we provide strategies for planning and conducting remote UX activities.
Is remote UX research a long-term possibility?
The pandemic has changed the way business is conducted and working remote is a much more viable option than prior to Covid. Zoom meetings are acceptable, travel to clients is less important and workarounds to in person interactions have been created in most work processes. UX design services are no exception. Clients no longer expect their design team to be in the same city, let alone country. Design services have responded to this increased geographic freedom with new strategies to provide excellence even with social and travel restrictions, and any other geographic differences.
In this article, we provide parameters and tools for successful UX remote services. Luckily, most UX design tools for user research, UX workshops or presentations, and collaborative options are remote-friendly and even free to use.
Good communication is an indispensable tool
When working remotely, effective communication is more critical than ever. You may need to sharpen your skills in this area, mostly when communicating design decisions to non-designers or getting a stakeholder buy-in on your plan of action. Communication is also essential for external participants of your research and even helps developers understand interaction patterns and design specifications.
Try to have a plan of action to effectively communicate each procedure in the simplest way possible to each group of people since it can be challenging to engage the entire team. Create order among diverse ideas and facts to maintain clarity.
Use pre-designed charts and clearly distributed steps for each potential client, for each internal department within the company, and for each external person involved in your UX research. Visuals are important for clients to understand the process as well as have an idea of the timeline for completion of a project.
At the heart of all good UX design lies the user. Oftentimes, stakeholders forget that the design must first and foremost “speak” to the users of the product. Part of the UX designer's job is to help educate all parties involved on the importance of connecting with the user for a successful design and product. A deeper examination will make them more empathetic towards users, and will make stakeholders feel involved and responsible for ideas and research findings. The designer will need to create awareness of usability issues, and design challenges. User personas are one such way this is accomplished. For more on how to create user personas see our article here.
UX Tools for Collaboration
No doubt you need good organizational skills when working UX remotely. There are many tools and tips for remote collaboration and brainstorming available that can make your life easier and help you maintain order in every process. Below find our round up of popular UX project management tools.
With user research, consider there are many reliable video-conferencing platforms you can use as tools for remote facilitating and presenting such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Google Meet. It may be a good idea to record your session to go back at a later point and review what was said or finish your notes.
For workshop activities where you may want to generate ideas or other contributions from participants, use tools that make it easy to quickly add an item to a list or virtual whiteboard. Google Draw, Microsoft Visio, Sketch, MURAL, and Miro are a few examples that might work in this context. If whiteboards feel intimidating for the team, an alternative could include using columns in Google Sheets for affinity diagramming, as they’re quite simple in appearance. Consider Optimal Workshop for remote card sorting and lookback.io for remote usability tests.
Alternatively, use survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or CrowdSignal, or live polling apps such as Poll Everywhere that you can insert directly into your slides.
Time Zone Sensitivity
If team members and participants are geographically distributed, be respectful of time zones and schedules. Doodle is a meeting poll tool that automatically personalizes time zones and allows individuals to specify when they are available.
Overall, try to keep your tools simple and think creatively about how you can make use of options within the team’s existing toolkit that everyone is familiar with. This helps keep the focus on the UX design and not on unimportant details involving the use of a tool.
Advantages of remote UX (h2)
- Lower expenses: This is mostly in travel expenses for the team or for participants. Imagine all the money you can save as a UX designer that can be directed to other valuable activities, such as deeper analysis or more research.
- More inclusion: This means more people, in general, can participate. You can have access to a more diverse group of participants to whom you might not have access locally. You can create a large-scale participation event through social media or e-mails to invite people to collaborate and be part of the project in a fun and creative way.
- Convenience: Remote UX allows survey participants to partake from the comfort of their own homes. Your potential participants are likely spending more time at home, looking for new activities to do. Providing an opportunity where they can learn, socialize, and give feedback about the things they would love in an app is a great way to make use of their time.
Planning remote UX activities can be demanding but using the best tools and apps available on the market can help you find the best solution to fit your needs and clients. As we all settle into the new normal, the basics rely on managing time effectively for uninterrupted deep work and improving communication skills in a conscious way.
Remember there are plenty of user-friendly tools for remote UX, and before you waste time worrying whether remote UX is possible, remember that it is!
- In a time where working remotely has become an abrupt reality, more businesses are understanding that UX designers can work effectively and produce quality work.
- With colleagues, clients, and partners working remotely and face-to-face interaction limited, effective communication is more critical than ever before.
- There are many user-friendly tools for remote collaboration and brainstorming available that can help you maintain order in every process.
- Moving to a virtual way of working has thrown light on many of the benefits of remote UX, including lower expenses, more inclusion, and convenience.
- At Pixel506, we provide strategies for planning and conducting remote UX activities. Our experts can assist you with your UX strategy, product and user research, and UI/UX solutions.
Pixel506 is an award-winning nearshore agency that helps companies succeed in the digital world. We develop websites, design mobile applications, provide social media support, create content, conduct keyword research, set up SEO services and SEM campaigns, and design customized brand styles from the ground up—and that’s only a small fraction of the services that we offer.
Since 2009, we have continuously expanded our knowledge, skills, and experience. Today, as an end-to-end marketing agency, Pixel506 offers a wide variety of services across the creative, digital and technological landscape. Our people-focused, data-driven, and results-oriented philosophy ensures that everything we produce is wholesome, measurable, and efficient.
We invest heavily in developing and maintaining strong client relationships. By working closely with our clients, we ensure that we offer customized solutions and deliver high-quality, insightful, and actionable results. Most of our team members are located in Latin America, but we are a Brooklyn-born company with a strong client base in North America.
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