RTÉ Player part 5: Roles and responsibilities

This blog outlays the details of how we worked as a team, how ethics were considered in the project, and my individual contribution and learnings.

Roles
Initially, we were asked to challenge ourselves by taking on an aspect of the project that was outside our comfort zone. After initial introductions, we established that we were all designers with similar backgrounds. So we agreed it was best if we took on each aspect of the project collectively. We elected a team leader, Michael, who would have the final say if we ever came to a point where we could not collectively make a decision. Fortunately, it never came to this.

As the project commenced, it became clear that some members had greater expertise in certain areas, so they organically began to take the lead in these areas. Often this became apparent amid a task. Initially, I threw myself into research into the existing app, users, competitors, heavily influencing our UX strategy. However, when it came to interaction design, it became clear that I had greater knowledge of relevant design patterns and more experience in UI design and prototyping interactions, and found myself contributing significantly to the interaction design, visual design, and prototyping of our final prototype. Screens where I mostly designed the final prototype included: Onboarding, Home, Pick by mood, Pick by mood, Show details, Show episodes, Show reviews, Similar shows, Live, Search, and the final design of the Chat function in Live shows, I didn't get the chance to work on the Profile or push notifications due to time restraints.

Teamwork
We worked hard to ensure team cohesion. Throughout the project, we shared our work in live collaborative files; research in Miro and design in Figma. We used the chat and comment functionalities of our tools to quickly resolve queries. This also gave discussions and critiques context and prevented key points from getting lost in a sea of messages.

Comments in Figma came in handy

We scheduled frequent video calls to plan and discuss the work that we had done. In hindsight, we should have reserved these meetings for key decision making and planning, as sharing work often caused them to drag on resulting in virtual conference burnout. A sizeable proportion of our calls evolved into workshops as we often worked together to move the project forward and make key advancements. The inclusion of more comprehensive annotation when sharing work prior to meetings would have reduced meeting time allocated to sharing work and made meetings more efficient. This is key learning I will take forward regarding remote teamwork.

Conflict
Whenever we had conflicting ideas, we took turns to speak. We often came to novel solutions that we wouldn’t have achieved working independently. At some points, we made decisions through dot voting and plotting ideas on impact effort matrix. This democratic process helped us make decisions as a group and weigh up different options (Dot Voting: A Simple Decision-Making and Prioritizing Technique in UX, 2019).

Example of dot voting being used to assign tasks
Impact effort matrix used

Ethics in our design
Throughout the design, we acted in our user’s best interests. Our decision to make the experience passive meant that we had to be mindful not to employ manipulative UX patterns which might incur addiction. To establish where we ethically stood in relation to the product, we used Nir Eyal’s Manipulation test. We found that we lay somewhere between a facilitator and an entertainer. We agreed that the app had high-quality content and it was our job to make this content accessible and useful to users. We used Artifact Group’s tarot cards of tech to envision some of the impacts of our design should it become successful.

Manipulation test and Tarot cards of tech

Throughout testing, we acted in our participants’ best interests. We were also mindful of ethics when running user testing. Participants needed to understand that they were given anonymity, the ability to withdraw anything submitted and the right to ask questions and receive adequate answers.


Key learnings
Preparation and annotated sharing of content are essential when working remotely. At one point, we worked in smaller subgroups to rapidly make advancements in the design. Áine and I worked on the chat feature whilst the rest of the team tackled the share feature issues. This approach made communication fast, and so we rapidly innovated solutions to usability issues. Upon reflection, we could have worked more with the existing app and potentially found more cost-effective design improvements. However, given that finance was not considered with this project, I am happy with the redesign, as testing indicated significant usability and satisfaction improvements to the app.

References
Dot Voting: A Simple Decision-Making and Prioritizing Technique in UX. (2019, July 7). Nielsen Norman Group. https://www.nngroup.com/articles/dot-voting/

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