How can you give your users a great experience using a product if you didn’t have one when designing it? This struggle has been plaguing UX designers since the profession first emerged. As people are working from home in larger numbers, being able to collaborate with the team at a distance only presents more problems. But, that is where UX whiteboarding can come to the rescue.
The Cacoo whiteboard was designed to allow teams of all sizes and workflows to gather virtually in real-time and get things done. That includes UX design. To help you get started, we’ve collected our top tips to help you conduct UX whiteboarding meetings. Read on to see what whiteboarding can do for your UX team.
Why use whiteboarding?
If you don’t already know, it’s a pretty simple concept. Whiteboarding is when you integrate a whiteboard into your work processes. Using a whiteboard can help you and your team for several different reasons. Let us convince you with these top benefits!
1. It’s easy to get started
If you have a team dispersed around the country (or the world), it’s an easy way to get everyone to work collaboratively online. The distance becomes irrelevant when everyone can add to and edit the whiteboard in real-time.
2. It aids visual thinking and learning
Many people find it difficult to understand how a project or process fits together by just talking or hearing about it. By adding a visual element, your whole team will quickly be on the same page.
3. It encourages collaboration
When whiteboarding, many people can get involved at once. People can simultaneously hold discussions, organize items, and add new ideas. Plus, the interactivity keeps everyone actively engaged.
If you’ve never whiteboarded before and need a more detailed walkthrough, check out our earlier post that goes more in-depth into the basics of whiteboarding more generally. Next, we’ll get into more specifics that make it a good match for your UX design team!
Whiteboarding for UX design
Whiteboarding and UX design are a match made in heaven. When you think about it, UX whiteboarding just makes sense — melding an already visual process like UX design with a flexible visual aid to help thinking processes move along. If it doesn’t look good on the board, it definitely won’t look good on a screen.
Working together, you and your team can go through your brief, noting any key information to remember to include in your final product. Logic flows and user journeys are a lot easier to map out when you can copy, customize, or erase any element in seconds. Plus, with a large canvas to work with, you can give your undivided attention to your design, much like your end-user will be.
Convinced? Here’s how to get the most out of your first UX whiteboarding sessions and start setting yourself up for success!
Tips for UX whiteboarding
While grabbing a whiteboard and starting to draw may seem easy, there are some tips that whiteboarding pros would recommend to get started on the right foot. We’ve brought some of these together so your team can refer back to them.
Have the right tool
Whiteboarding is easy when you’re in front of a physical board fully stocked with working markers. Fortunately, even if your whole team isn’t conveniently sitting together in one room, you can still get the full experience when you whiteboard remotely.
Our own tool, Cacoo, allows you to access the same whiteboard simultaneously as a team and make edits together in real-time. As if the ability to be working in one application simultaneously weren’t great enough, you can also use a video chat feature within Cacoo to easily discuss every decision with the whole team along the way.
Depending on your team’s everyday needs, you can set up templates with screen sizes, categories of journeys and steps, and different aspects of your toolkit ahead of time. This way, you’re off to a quick start every time.
Narrate your process
The more you can explain out loud every decision you make and every element you add, the better. Because so much of UX is based on logic and intuitiveness, being able to have a strong reason for everything you add to your board is absolutely imperative. If your reasoning makes sense to you but not to another team member, have a full discussion and develop a better solution. In UX, you can never take for granted the logic of your own point of view.
As you’re working, never take a piece of information or decision in design at face value. Ask questions about anything you feel unclear on or disagree with. It doesn’t help the team if you don’t understand part of the process and therefore can’t make contributions to it.
Being questioned also forces team members to have to think about each step. Maybe something you felt unclear on actually doesn’t make sense, but you were the only one to notice.
Keep it simple
One of the key rules of UX has always been not to overcomplicate things. This still holds true in UX whiteboarding as much as for your product. Don’t add anything to clutter up your whiteboard if it isn’t necessary. Just because you’re writing down and tracking your steps doesn’t necessarily mean you need to add every last piece of information every time. Looking at your whiteboarding session should be a logical and straightforward as the designs you’re creating for your users.
It may take some getting used to, but being able to run through a whiteboarding session together as a team will ultimately save you a lot of time. Real-time discussion and designing together without getting too technical will send everyone off in the right direction to work toward your common goals. And if your team has already mastered UX whiteboarding? Start timing yourselves to see if you can run through the process faster Can you complete a session in 30 minutes? How about 15?
You can accomplish all of this and more by introducing Cacoo’s whiteboarding features to your team. With real-time group editing, templates and shapes, in-app chat, diagram comments and annotations, and video calls, Cacoo truly is delivering the tool all UX-ers need to work together. Get started and see how quickly you finish your first whiteboarding project!