Posted in Design.

Tools of the Designer

As a designer, you are only as good as the tools and resources at your disposal. Anything from project planning to the collaborators your employ to your projects cause, the better your understand and use your resource and the smoother your project will be.

Working with tools you have experimented with and have a good understanding of can improve the progress and day to day life of a project. Always use new tools and frameworks but make sure you are doing this when it is not going to impact the project. Researching different tools to fit a need is better at the time then trying to make your project fit your tools.

Interdisciplinary communication is now something that is becoming second nature over the course of my last few studio units at university. In the last trimester, this is something that has been front and centre of all our work and interaction on current projects. This is always something that done well is so helpful to a project’s success.

Studio

Tools

There were a few tools that we used that are commonplace in our industry, however, these are some that I want to highlight based on them being new or how we used them in different ways.

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Marvel App.

Prototyping of our project was done in paper form and had its uses in the form of rapid prototyping. But as this project was going to be an app, paper prototyping helped with the visual iteration and flow. We looked at forms of digital prototyping so that we would get feed back on our app in a form it would be given to players. This allowed for early layout and interaction concept that we could bet feedback on. This tool also had the ability for multiple members to work in the project at the same time and not course conflicts in data or systems.

Client Resources

This wasn’t something that we chose as something we wanted to use, like other tools, but more something that we need to use to adhere to for the project intent. But in a way, this was a good thing that helped us decide on other tools and processes. Forcing us to design to a constraint is I think something that is easier to achieve and allow for a focused scope and direction.

Unity

This was a given when it comes to a tool, but this was something that we used in ways that I hadn’t before and in ways I will definitely use in the future. Instead of inputting info into unity directly, as this was something we would be processing a lot of. We come up with ways with our programmers to use CSV files that will read all the info from a shared document straight into the project. This allowed multiple people to edit and work at the same time so as project flow wouldn’t become an issue, also allowing for large amounts of data to bet transferred and processed quickly.

Communication tools (Discord)

Something that I looked into that has worked for me this trimester is organizing where and how i communicate with all the collaborators that i need to interact with. There are better places and programs that i could look into and learn, however, most my collaborators use this platform so I stuck with a program that was familiar. I looked into this program channels and privileges systems to allow for a different channel for the project. This allowing all them to have a place that wouldn’t be distracted of all other traffic on the site to better help with work flow. Let a designer only have access to a designer channel so that know where all the information reverent to them would be and make their life easy when looking for updates.

Interdisciplinary communication

Our project, to begin with, is working on an app with an external client. So this in itself has a large amount of communication with someone that isn’t in your field. So you need to structure your interaction with them in a way that is not to confuse them but also to get the information that is going to be helpful both for you and for the client to feel confident that you are to deliver what they are wanting.

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This is something that has become its own area of consideration more than other projects, working a schedule around meets with a client and structuring work to the feedback from our client. This is something that when consider early is helpful in the early stages of a project, It will help the flow of the project and success of your outcomes. This also was a way we could focus on what was important to the project and also factor our client’s needs and concerns. 

On top of this there was the flow on effect of passing on this information.

  • We would meet with the client and get info to progress with production
    • We would design and shape this infomation into design and interaction.
    • We then need to break this into the different areas of work needed.
      • Sound.
      • programming.
      • Visual design.
      • Interaction design.
        • This Information then would be passed on to different collaborators so as they can work on the content.
          • Audio designers.
          • Graphic designers.
          • programmers.
          • animators.

Something that is a great help and something that is overlooked when it comes to communication with of the areas of expertise is doing research on that area of work and practices. Looking into what different elements are called and common elements of a project that may have different words. Learning the language of a different discipline so that who you are talking to can easily understand what you are wanting from the on a project can sometimes be lost in translation between creative areas.

Over the last couple of months i have looked into a lot of different tools and methods of dealing with work flow and interaction between team members. I’m glad for the insight to a variety of different things i can use on future projects, and in doing this i now have different processes and considerations when planning and designing a project

Thanks for reading.

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