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5 Secrets of Building a Leading Design Team

Source: from Adobe XD

Any business dealing with digital products has to incorporate the design team into its organizational structure. Otherwise, it won’t be able to progress in the design aspect of product creation. Still, it’s not enough to have only a set of valuable features in place. You need to align them into a good-looking, properly functioning solution bringing value to customers.

Thus, every manager may face a dilemma when it comes to design team creation. What staff should a UX design team include? What skills should be available? How to compose this team without an overlap of skills and duties? Here is a detailed guide on UX design team creation for your business success.

What Types of Teams to Choose from?

The first thing to remember is that product design teams differ by type and structure. Your task is to analyze your business needs, senior management’s requirements, budgetary limitations, etc., to decide on the team type you need.

  • Centralized teams

A centralized team of UX designers is typically an isolated asset within the company, either an external agency hired for the specific UX design project or a team of company employees separated from the rest of the project development staff. The strength of such teams is in their exclusive focus on the project’s UX design goals and specifications. They are also largely independent from the rest of the company’s staff. So, they can create outstanding, consistently designed products meeting the set UX requirements.

  • Integrated teams

An integrated team works differently as it is integrated within the broader project development team. It may consist of several web design specialists performing other duties within the project but unified for a part-time job of UX design as they possess the relevant skills and qualifications. These teams usually consist of cross-functional employees, so they can perform other duties as well, ranging from sales to marketing to programming.

  • On-demand teams

On-demand, or elevator, teams are typically stable, but they are assigned to different projects to complete UX design tasks when the time for this aspect comes. Such teams are popular in web design agencies, where a company can have several teams developing several different digital products. Thus, an elevator team can join in for a certain period, advising the developers on UX design and shifting to another project when the time comes. This team design gives flexibility, which is an advantage over centralized teams – a more rigid team option.

Source: from Dribble

Secret Recipe for a Killer Design Team

Now that we know what types of teams are available, it’s time to proceed to the teambuilding process as such. As a manager responsible for hiring the right number of UX specialists with the right skill set, you’re sure to face many dilemmas and choices in this process. Here are some pro tips to help you out.

#1 Construct a Multi-Skilled Team

Though the title of our article says “UX design team,” many years of managerial experience prove that such teams should include not only designers. Ideally, a team should include a product designer, a marketing and communication specialist, a design specialist, and at least one manager. In this way, the team can become an autonomous, well-functioning unit that can deliver value and contribute to organizational processes without constant oversight.

#2 Differentiate between Managers and Designers

As we’ve just said, designers and managers are two different roles in the UX design team. A manager should possess in-depth design knowledge to understand what is going on. But a more critical skill of managers is to create favorable spaces for designers’ productivity and collaboration. That’s what every creative needs to work effortlessly and enjoyably, delivering top-notch design ideas and results.

But keep in mind that a manager’s role in the UX team is often limited. A manager has little authority over design approval or feedback on the design options. Managers are there for the only goal – ensuring that teams work productively and don’t face bottlenecks in the process. The manager’s role is not static; many teams require different input from their manager as the project progresses. So, make sure you negotiate all these terms with managers and designers to ensure they are on the same page.

#3 Invest in Brand Vision and Identity

Creatives work much better in any organization if they have a clear project vision. That’s easier to achieve if you have a well-defined brand and a distinguishable brand identity to follow in product design. Every digital product should be an extension of the company’s core attributes and should translate them effectively. Thus, UX designers will deliver better results if they understand your brand’s story, the purpose you serve, the mission of your company, etc.

#4 Align Ideas with Implementation

No UX design will succeed if you don’t have the right skill and talent in your development team to implement it. Thus, it’s critical to seek alignment between coders’ and designers’ approaches to software development early at the start of any project. If your designer crafts a unique, beautiful design, you need to make sure this solution gets realized. A simple tactic to achieve this is to empower UX designers for direct collaboration with UI coders and engineers. In this way, you will avoid organizational complexity, helping your team bring their ideas to life.

#5 Foster Design Thinking

Your company will do better with UX design if the staff shares the broader design thinking and approach. A beautiful, usable design shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of a UX specialist. All team members should work with a mindset of usability, user-friendliness, and comfort. This approach works perfectly well in forward-looking enterprises, helping them develop impactful digital products.

Teambuilding and Communication

With all these tips and expert observations in mind, you’re surely better positioned to design the UX team of your dreams. But still, don’t over-rely on the team composition as it is not 100% of your success. You need to invest in your team’s effectiveness continuously. Teambuilding activities and a focus on strong communication can improve even a flawed team’s performance.

So, we recommend taking extra time to examine how your team interacts and improve its team processes. In the conditions of a stable, psychologically convenient working environment and a value of creativity, every UX designer will find a favorable spot and motivation to collaborate. 

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Dyka Smith
Dyka Smith is a content marketing professional at Inosocial, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Dyka worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. She graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

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