How the Virus Pandemic Affected the Design World

The good and the bad of reintroducing our work-life balance to the new normal

Design Thinking

Good on you, designers!

We may be one of the least impacted lines of work there in these changing times even though some may find it difficult dealing with remote meetings and review sessions. Many companies may have only now adopted this ‘post-office’ era. It’s reassuring to say that the design industry is well underway for a fully-remote workflow!


I can count on one hand the number of design institutions in Thailand that teaches you how to work together on a real-life project. We relied on our creativity - worked on, and received feedback on our own terms for so long. One would never imagine the day we would have to let others openly stare into what we’re doing. Some might feel uneasy having an open discussion with team members, let alone their stakeholders.

In recent years, companies have become more open and transparent about how they work. Hence tools and services for collaborations are now showing up here and there, competing to be the preferred choice in your production pipeline.

Presentation and feedback, redefined.

Video calls are now the new standard for conferencing instead of dressing correctly and speaking with a clicker in your hand. Screen sharing has become a new normal of communication during the pandemic, and so the act of avoiding embarrassing notifications
Apart from poor connections that you may experience which can (and will) ruin your carefully-curated session of design reviews, having to guide stakeholders through a fragmented output screen has proven to be even more demanding. Problems include but are not limited to:
  • People not full-screening their browser windows and having a hard time seeing that tiny spot that you’re mentioning.
  • Low encoding quality causing poor colour and terrible image quality
  • Streaming latency causing disorientation and inducing the wrong impression

In the design industry, these discrepancies are a BIG deal and could make or break a review. Then again, one could never expect stakeholders to have inspected your design via your fantastic high-resolution and colour-rich screen in the first place because that was not the real experience for the majority of users.

Screen sharing as a review session
To combat this, our team now does a more compartmentalized presentation using smaller, closely-related components instead of the entire body of work.

In doing the latter, it would lead to a deluge of feedback in which the team will then have to expend undue time and effort to filter content and reset expectations when the meeting concludes.

Your client seeing your work via screen sharing

It's becoming inevitable that Zoom and Hangout are now the new-standard for video conferencing. You are now having to share your screen and walk everyone through your beautifully-crafted designs. So now would be an excellent time to focus more on concepts and solutions, not just for looks.

After all, one could never expected stakeholders to have inspected your design via your super high-resolution and colour-rich screen.

You could also help out your clients on the subject of understanding how to properly participate in a design review session while being aware of keeping the feedback flowing in an Agile manner.

It’s like Google Docs, but with your design files.

There will never be a better time to introduce your team to real-time collaboration tools for designers.
Go forth!
Figma somehow predicted the future and is now in the spotlight for its incredible live-collaboration feature. Sketch, late to the party, was announcing its coediting features following Adobe XD’s late last year beta releases of the same name. There are indeed concerns regarding online-only services. But then again, imagining working from home when you have no internet is terrifying on its own already.

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Users are getting smarter.

Contrary to popular belief, users know how to scroll, and have been for the last five years. Yet you’re still getting requests from clients to ‘put everything important on the top of the screen’. What does this mean? It means we’re now well past the point of fundamental UI interactions ‘being new’ to users.

Your focus is better to spend avoiding banner blindness, beware of trapping users under a dark UX pattern. And focus more on acceptable UX practices that could help convert users into customers.

But sometimes you overthink things.

Consider this: Now there are even more potential customers from more massive amounts of people stuck at home scrolling through apps on their phone. It has become apparent that number of users viewing your apps is generally larger, and they are less prone to a steep learning curve. Thoughtful onboarding and general anticipation of your user’s experience plays a crucial role in making or breaking your app.
Keep calm and carry on
Get to know your users from research and feedback to keep things in check and easy for everyone to access.

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Gavin Chiemsombat
I'm a full-time Product Designer (and a Front-end enthusiast) at OOZOU in Bangkok, Thailand

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