Put It On the Wall


Ctrl + Tab.  Command + Tilda. Command + Space. If you're keyboard shortcut savvy, you probably use these all the time. (If you haven't made the jump yet, it's time.) While shortcuts are super helpful, with so much screen hopping you may frequently find yourself wishing for more screen space. Well, you're in luck. If you work in an office, chances are you are surrounded by walls. And maybe some windows, too. Here at Bluprint, we spend a lot of time working the walls. Here we'll talk about some of the ways we maximize our surroundings.

How to Make the Most of Your Wall Space

1. Think it.


In brainstorming sessions, we find that it's best to use a whiteboard, if available. It’s easy to quickly capture ideas and it feels less permanent than it you print something out. Sticky notes are great, too. Once everything is up on the board, just snap a photo so you have a record of all those great ideas.

2. Timelines


While spreadsheets and project managers abound, somehow it's easy to fall into the assumption that the project is moving at the right pace. To always have an eye on the big picture, create a master project timeline and put it on the wall. Then go put it on the client's wall, too (if they don't mind). It should be a high level view of the progress that needs to get made and by when. It should be flexible and cover the length of the project, up to about a year. If everyone has an eye on the timeline (not just the project managers), it's much more likely that a project will stay on track.

3. User Flows
Before you start designing actual pages, it’s super important to nail down the user flows. Just don't let those user flows become an artifact too quickly. When you have your head down in design, email, and preparing for meetings, it can be easy to get lost in the minutiae. Keeping a display of the user flows on a designated wall space helps everyone remember the larger goals.

4. Storyboarding


A storyboard is basically a series of screen sketches used to provide an overview of the navigation and illustrate design ideas. Storyboards can be created from hand drawn sketches, more polished designs, or a combination of both. This is where you start to account for all of the functional elements and visualize how the experience will work as a whole. Tell the story.

5. Working Designs


In practicing Lean UX, it's important that everyone stays updated on the latest designs (since they get changed so frequently). Particularly when we have multiple project threads moving along at the same time, it feels good to put it all up on the wall. Then the team writes down any unresolved issues and posts them up on the wall, in-line with the designs. We find this leads to more productive internal discussions and gets the whole team involved. Then, we invite the client over to look at and put things up on the wall, too (or send them pictures). Just don't forget to refresh the wall with the latest designs on a frequent and regular basis.

6. Task Management
Everyone in our office has struggled to find a way to better manage our to-do lists. When in doubt, what do we do? (You guessed it.) We put it on the wall. Writing tasks on sticky notes and organizing by who is responsible for what is a great way to keep track of what everyone on the team is working on.

Shannon Ruetsch is a user experience consultant based in New York City. She has an avid fondness for making lists and getting things done, but loves nothing more than getting lost in a good book. Say hello.