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Why we’re (still) invested in solving design collaboration challenges

Better design outcomes depend on context, curation, and collaboration
Why we’re (still) invested in solving design collaboration challenges

Today we’re officially opening up Notebooks for anyone to try, and we invite you to give us your input. Read more about what’s new in Notebooks in this post by Matt Colyer, our VP of Product and Design. 

With Notebooks, our primary goal is to support all of the “work around the work” that happens in the design process, informed by three core principles:

  • Context—Sharing context around design approaches and goals leads to better work.
  • Curation—Managing internal feedback loops reduces confusion and saves time.
  • Collaboration—Designers thrive with more consistent and efficient communication.

To be successful, teams need the full tripod. Sure, some may be able to survive with just two of these pillars, but to produce the best work possible, all three elements are necessary. 

Unfortunately, current business systems and processes are typically focused on helping stakeholders and product owners manage and oversee work. While these processes serve an undoubtedly important purpose, they don’t necessarily cater to the nuances of the product design process, nor do they seem to integrate design work into the overall business process. And this disconnect between design work and business success means that the value and impact of design work become unclear and hard to measure. 

State of Design in 2021 and what it means for design teams

A lack of functional systems and tools purposely built for coordinating the work of product design says to us that there is a general lack of understanding of the factors that motivate good designers (and good design work, by extension).  

This was all corroborated by data from our State of Design Report (2021), where we surveyed thousands of designers for their views on the biggest challenges that design teams face today. The top conclusions to come out of the report were:

  1. Design teams are bigger and more complex than ever. 3 out of 4 designers said they planned to add anywhere between 1-5 new designers to their team this year. 
  1. We need better ways to measure impact. 1 out of 2 designers reports that their organization expects them to measure and report their team’s outcomes.
  1. There’s a shift away from outputs and towards outcomes. 1 out of 2 designers said the ability to quantify impact would make design more valuable to business strategy. 
  1. The biggest design collaboration challenges today are:
    Sharing and tracking tasks, wrangling feedback, and visibility into work. 
  1. The next big frontier for design teams, according to an overwhelming majority of designers surveyed, is communicating the value of time spent through measurement and reporting. 

The report proved to us that our mission to create products that helps designers manage their whole process is not only worth it, but totally necessary. First with Branches and now with Notebooks, we have always seen ourselves as purveyors of context, collaboration, and curation. And we’ve got even more to come. 

We’re still building and we’d love to have you come along with us in this journey. We’re committed to continuous improvement and we can’t do that without you.

Sign up to join our open preview and tell us how we can make Notebooks even better for you. 

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