Monday, 6 April 2009

Latest trends in online User Experience Team collaboration. Are you doing this?

Today UX teams are spread across the globe, accounting the facts that each individual has adopted the role of an expert. You name it, for example Information architect, visual designer, usability analyst, usability researcher etc. Have you ever thought to conduct a discussion with all these people when they are spread in 5 different countries? The possible solution is via a telephone call however what about the white board & post it notes that is a common ingredient in a UX meeting trying to find out an intuitive solution.
How will one person convey the design message? How can we understand the initial wire frames etc.
I was thinking on the above lines for quite bit of time & figured out how it can be achieved in an easy + cost effective manner. I have selected few tools that are good keeping User Experience in mind. These tools are good for team collaboration online. Some of them provide a whiteboard online that can be used to work on ideas. You can even voice chat & browse in to explain some of the usability problems in online applications.
I have created one instance of a meeting in the below link. Click on it & see the magic. Many of you will figure out the magic in the url.
http://www.twiddla.com/88239

Just give some time on each one of the tools below & use them as per your needs. Hope some of them can help you to make initial prototypes + mind maps + comments + notes etc in collaboration with the global team.

Favorite 1: Twiddla is a free application that helps to browse websites and draw on them, share files, and chat with your team. Voice chat is also possible. There is an inbuilt browser in the application that helps you to browse and annotate. This can be effectively used in drawing wire frames & prototypes. Favorite 2: Bubbl us help in beautiful mind maps that you can share with team members. You can save, email, and print your mind maps and even embed in Web Pages Favorite 3: Protonotes is a free annotation widget for your HTML prototypes. You can embed the simple java script in the HTML code. Once it is done your team members can open the web page and comment using notes on the screen. The notes can be easily moved & re sized to suit your requirement. Favorite 4: Vyew is a web based conferencing tool. No need to buy a costly account. You can try this one for free. I think the maximum number of people that can join in is 20. It is somewhat similar to WebEx sessions but allows having a free account. Try this out. Favorite 5: Wetpaint allows you to create a wiki site in collaboration. It can be effectively used as a tool to create content from different sources. Favorite 6: Dabble board helps to create wire frames, flow charts, network diagram. It is an online whiteboard where you can improve your creative skills. Favorite 7: Stixy is a flexible, online white board. It can be effectively used to create wire frames & mock ups. I suggest it to use it.
Favorite 8: Last but none the least. Google Docs is an excellent application for collaboration. You can share documents and spreadsheets and collaborate with your team/clients in real-time.
Hope you visit all the above tools & figure out which one suits your UX & collaboration needs.
Happy collaborating. :-)
Image source is from the respective applications