Recently, a friend of mine asked for feedback on some of her design work. I quickly agreed to take a look, but when I sat down to actually gather my thoughts, there were a few things making the task harder than I’d initially thought it would be. This friend was halfway across the world, so we couldn’t sit down in person, and I had enough feedback that it would have been a pain to detail in a text message.
A Stanford study found that talking is up to 3 times faster than typing on mobile devices.
Now is where I should probably introduce myself—I’m the designer on Drift’s video team so I am a little bit biased towards using video for just about anything. But after sending my friend a video filled with that feedback, and seeing tweets hinting at the same thing, I wanted to share 4 video moves you can use to streamline your design team’s process.
Chris is on to something—video is a game changer for design teams.
The virtual walkthrough
Getting your entire team together in one room to walk through a design will always be the most effective way to ensure a shared understanding of the project. Often, the next best thing is a link to an online prototype and a few paragraphs of context to explain your thought process.
We still use online prototypes to allow product managers, engineers, and stakeholders to view the flows on their own time, but more often than not, our designers at Drift send an accompanying video to walk through the screens in real time.
Using Drift Video, we can even choose to create groups for easy sharing again and again. For example, Amanda designs for our CRM team as well as our growth team. With a few clicks, she can choose sharing permissions to limit her video to viewing by the intended team. Or, if she wants to post it more generally, she could create a group for only users with Drift email addresses.
Here at Drift we do a lot of things that don’t scale. And by nature those things will…stop scaling. I know, I know, it seems obvious, but we’re pretty good at using that moment to course correct and find new ways to continue. Our design team is in the thick of this right now with our long-standing weekly design crit. When the team was 3 designers, the hour meeting was more than enough time to walk through the big things we were working on and get feedback from each other on UX, look & feel, and copy.
The meeting invite has tripled as of late, and getting actual feedback during that time has become more difficult. Instead we use the hour to talk about consistency, goals, and other housekeeping items.
For the actual critique, we’ve turned to video.
That’s Tim, our Director of Product Design, asking for work in progress files that he can critique with a window of unexpected free time. Putting a critique on the calendar probably would have taken the same amount of time as recording a few videos did—he was able to get feedback to 2 of us in 10 minutes.
Some of our team still wanted to put time on the calendar to do this in person, and that’s fine. But when it comes to feedback that otherwise might have come much later in the design process, we’re pretty stoked about leveraging video.
Our product teams at Drift keep up a steady cadence of showing our work— either via Slack, in bi-weekly meetings, or otherwise. As fantastic as showing our work is, we love video because it allows us to show our work and explain the decisions behind it. It’s always going to be more straightforward to talk about the way you arrived at a solution rather than dump something unrecognizable on a stakeholder.
For in-house design teams, these stakeholders are likely the senior leadership team, but the possibilities don’t stop there. Agencies could do the same for clients, and using chat, start a conversation with them while they watch the video. Where an email thread might go on for eternity with reactions, feedback, and decisions, video plus chat closes the loop in real time.
While we developed Drift video capture software, my team sent weekly updates (using our own in-progress product, of course!) to our senior leadership team. This kept expectations in check and everyone happy.
Full team buy-in
One last way our team uses video is actually one of the first things designers do each week. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might remember our UXU or User Experience Update process. To rally the teams for those small changes each week, and let them know about any quick wins or new additions, some of our designers have taken to creating videos that developers can watch in seconds, rather than combing through the list themselves.
This move is really a combination of several others; it leverages the clarity of the virtual walkthrough to help teammates get a feel for the week’s UXUs, as well as the friendly approach of the stakeholder update to keep those teammates in the loop week after week.
Want to get started?
Start using Drift Video with your design team for free—and give us a shout if you do! We’d love to start using some of your favorite moves here at Drift, because we’re always looking to level up our design process.