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Jonathan Berger

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Types of Design

“Design” is a messy word, and describing which type of design you mean can be tricky. Sometimes it’s more helpful to describe types of design not as crisp definitions—”Visual Design looks pretty, and UX has boxes and arrows”—but instead in the spirit of Family Resemblance, i.e.:

things which may be thought to be connected by one essential common feature may in fact be connected by a series of overlapping similarities, where no one feature is common to all.

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The Benefits of Pair Design

How is design different for Agile product development?

“Design” can mean many things, but designing products for Agile software development methodologies present distinctive challenges. Engineers build software more quickly (and change it more rapidly) than most, and consequently the demands on design are very different than what most designers are accustomed to.

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Balanced Team Sunday Salon at Pivotal Labs

This Sunday Pivotal Labs hosted a Balanced Team Sunday Salon following the three-day LeanUX NYC conference. LeanUX was chock-full of amazing talks and workshops, and the ensuing sentiment was my brain hurts! The Balanced Team Sunday Salon was a chance to recover, process, and reflect.

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How To Maintain Separate Design and Development Backlogs

In How To Manage A Design Backlog, I talked about some of the general ideas behind managing design work on teams where developers use an agile, XP-based backlog. In How To Integrate Design in an Agile Backlog, I talked about the specifics of integrating design stories into that development backlog.

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How To Integrate Design in an Agile Backlog

In How To Manage A Design Backlog, I talked about some of the general ideas behind managing design work on teams where developers use an agile, XP-based backlog—i.e., a Pivotal Tracker-based workflow. In this post, I’ll talk about the specifics of integrating design stories into that development backlog.

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How To Manage A Design Backlog

Every project is different, but Agile and XP have taught developers a stable and robust set of tools for managing (development) work. What about managing design work? (With apologies to Tolstoy :)

[Development backlogs] are all happy; every [design backlog] is unhappy in its own way.

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Subjective Design & Objective Design

“Design” is a Messy Word

When people ask what I do and I reply “I’m a designer”, their first reaction is often to point at my chest: “Oh! Did you design that shirt?”

“Not that kind of designer,” I reply.

Next they’ll point somewhere around the room.

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Minimum Viable Deliverable

As a business, design is built around deliverables: clients pay for wireframes, mockups, prototypes. As a practice, these deliverables are a means to a single end: communicating design decisions. The Agile Manifesto prefers “Working software over comprehensive documentation”, so why are designers spending time on artifacts the user will never see?

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Organizing Layers in Adobe Illustrator

Over the years, I’ve evolved a standard structure for organizing layers in Illustrator. Whenever I fire up a new Illustrator doc, one of the first things I do is create and name the following four top-level layers:

Meta

For guides, labels for multiple mocks in a file, and other errata.

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Use Lean Hypotheses to Define a Minimum Viable Product

Many people new to building apps fall in love the moment they learn about the idea of a Minimum Viable Product. “It’s minimal! So there’s less risk. And it’s viable! So it’ll prove something!”. Unfortunately, it’s easy for the line of “minimum” or “viable” to slip.

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