I recently attended a “Design Disruptors” documentary screening, created by the game changing design tool Invision and hosted by results-driven digital agency Deuce Creative

Today’s most disruptive companies have a new guiding principle: a fierce focus on customer-centric product design. Design Disruptors features an elite group of 15 disruptive companies who share the perspectives and sacrifices necessary to upend age-old industries and disrupt the status quo. Companies included Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Uber, Hubspot, Salesforce, Mailchimp and Pinterest to name a few.

Click below to view the documentary trailer:

I was pleased to find myself nodding away throughout the hour long documentary – agreeing with these top brands and how they articulated their approach to design. It was inspiring to feel part of such a fast paced industry, with evolving technology that enables us to continually push ourselves to create the best user experience, whether this is internally or externally to your business.

Design for the user experience

Good design almost becomes invisible – it becomes a feeling of something working well and making our lives easier. It’s important to adopt the thinking that design is not “your baby”. Having protective and sensitive ownership of your design work will only limit you and set you up to fail. You must be responsive and continually think about how it can benefit all your target audiences. Being ready to test, amend, and test again should be a continuous process to ensure the user experience, across devices, is working. Listening and monitoring the success of design is not a future way of working, but how we need to be working today. For example, Facebook understand that their target audience is huge and has grown at a substantial rate over the last decade. They conduct a “2G Tuesdays” to enable them to use their platform in a way that their audience does in, for example, India, gaining a true reflection of what it's like for them – no matter how frustrating and slow!

Less is always more

I am sure you will also agree that a clean and easy-to-navigate design is far better than one full of gimmicks and animation overload. Design needs to be so simplistic and intuitive that there's no need for explanation and lengthy user guides. Some of the big brands were using visual storyboarding techniques to map out all the touch points of the user journey. This helped to see how design can support each step without anything unnecessary creeping in. It was interesting to hear how MailChimp came about the idea to add their “high five” monkey animation at the end of each campaign. Such a well-timed addition that related to the users triumph of completing their email campaign. If this gimmick was introduced at any other stage of the process it would have been perceived very differently. (It was fun to see that I’m not the only one that gives my screen a high five!).

Brainstorm the Google way

Google have said goodbye to long brainstorms that can be consumed by those more assertive contributors. They no longer want to dwell on the first idea that comes up, and should in fact of been parked pretty swiftly, they want to concentrate on finding the 'golden ideas'. To increase collaboration and productivity, Google carry out 15-minute brainstorms where the team are initially briefed as a whole, then tasked to put their ideas on post-it notes and add them to a 'brainstorming wall'. The next step is to apply a small sticker dot to those post-it ideas they feel are worth developing. Definitely a technique to try out soon – the beauty of it is, it's not time intensive!

The more we are accustomed to our personal apps, social media profiles, and online purchasing behaviours – the more we crave this type of user experience in our work lives. Internal communications have a huge development opportunity to reflect these tried and tested design techniques and integrate them into in-house processes. Whether that's an intranet, employee app, email template, or internal social media channel, I feel employees will be far more likely to adopt and engage with new tools if the design UX has been carefully considered. This, in turn, makes their work life more collaborative and productive.

Thank you to Deuce Creative for bringing the screening to Aldershot – just a short 10-minute drive from our Farnham offices – a delight to be inspired right on our doorstep.

We will definitely be on the look out for the next one!

We’re hiring! Head of Creative and Digital

We’re on the look-out for a Head of Creative and Digital to become an integral part of our team; wowing our clients, creating beautiful design and have the desire to improve employee lives through impactful internal communications. If you feel inspired by Design Disruptors and think in this innovative way, we want to hear from you! Learn more.