Cloudy design opportunities
These days cloud technology is rapidly growing and is being adopted and implemented. It requires us to rethink the design and development process. For example with design systems. More on this later on. Especially for designers like me there seems to be less room and time available in cloud related projects. But is this really a problem, or an opportunity? In this article I’d like to point out some tips that might help you.
Take a point of view and guide clients
As most of us know, cloud technology is focused on important business goals, such as reducing costs and improving the scalability. It demolishes classic services (e.g. setting up on premise environments). To keep ahead of innovative products and services of other companies it is our task to advise the client. To take a point of view. Especially with design questions.
As said, cloud technology can reduce costs. In the end we might even kill some of our own ‘old’ services, but it’s at the same time an enabler for (design) experiments. It’s up to us to pro-actively advise the client to invest in what truly matters: the user experience of the product or service. In the end development exists because it serves the purpose of solving a user’s problem, which in return brings the company profit.
Embrace the process
Let’s admit it: we don’t like to fail. We have an aversion to it. When I design a solution for a user problem I try to eliminate as many project risks as possible. For example, create multiple visual designs and discuss this with other designers within Luminis. Of course, sprints and other methodologies keep us moving on in a project, but I really think that cloud related projects will boost the speed even more. Therefore, it’s safe to say that we need to prepare ourselves for more mistakes. It asks designers to set our perfectionist frame of mind aside and embrace the process even more. Fail faster!?
Mindset: tools are just tools
Within the world of User Experience you often hear the term ‘unicorn’. The skills you need to master to cover every aspect of User Experience Design are insane. The landscape is still expanding every day. Cloud technology adds another skill to the immense skillset. Will there soon be UX designers specialized in the cloud territory? Maybe… In my opinion every designer should at least have a decent grasp of this technology. But, as with everything you design, it’s more about the mindset than about the tools. Tools are just tools. Cloud technology is no exception. To make a metaphor: a pile of the most expensive bricks (the tools) in the world isn’t a house. It is the architect that creates the experience, aesthetic and functional design. To reflect it back to an actual project: the architect is the designer and the engineer combined. It’s a co-creation.
Nothing is impossible
Cloud technology opens doors to possibilities that were just not there, or very hard to reach, a few years ago. To name two: better detection possibilities or improved prediction capabilities. Spotify is a good example. They already know which music you like, before you know you would like it. As a designer I adopted the ‘everything is possible’ mind set. Especially in the beginning of a project it’s important to not limit ideas. Challenge yourself, developers and stakeholders to think the impossible possible. Cloud technology motivates people to experiment with it and the solution might be somewhere in the ever growing exploding library of cloud services.
With the increased speed that the cloud brings we can’t afford to design everything from scratch every single time. Therefore systems, patterns and guidelines are getting more important than ever before. The system forms the base with all kinds of components like buttons and modals. Design systems that are spread throughout the organization can help everyone in the company to build quicker, in a more consistent way, and with better integrated philosophy. It’s up to us, designers, to promote this and show the long-term benefits.
Technology will always keep pushing us to respond to it. It’s up to us to take a point of view. First think of the solution, then what technology might help you in solving the problem. Whether if it’s cloudy or not.