I worked with the Sunglass (sunglass.io) team for 11 straight months. We worked days and nights to roll out Sunglass from its most basic form in which it merely supported the display of the 3D model inside the browser with basic operations like pan, zoom and rotate to the complex ones like running apps, exporting a Sunglass Player to be embedded in the other portfolio and personal websites, having conversations with your collaborators while making notes inside the interface and a lot more.
For the longest time, I was the only graphics and interface designer who was working on the design of Sunglass and I’m summing up my experience here, as it might help designers in small teams to think in the various situations that they might face.
Get the high-level communication right
It might be the inspiration for your UI and/or the graphic design or the tonality of the communication. It helps to get that right very early in your design process and for the iterations to come.
Designers in startups MUST have the ultimate control over front-end code
This is important not only because it ensures high fidelity towards the visual design specifications for the UI that you’ve created but, also allows the designers to exercise any incremental last-minute additions or the modifications without going through creating a design spec for it. The cases for such changes are quite frequent when the design spec is coded into CSS. As results in the webpage are sometimes quite different from what they look in the PDF/PSD file that was created to specify them, it makes sense that designers make sure what appears in the browser appears just ‘right’.
Cross browser, Cross-platform, Cross-device
Windows renders your interface very differently than mac. Phones do a completely different gig than the laptops, and so do tablets. Print is another ball game. Make sure you know the audience of your work and also the medium on which what you’re creating it, before staring out the design. This takes the pain out of the adjustments you might need to make later. Get different machines and use all of them to view the progress of what is being develop, just to make sure.
Cross-pollination of ideas needs to be fostered
Learn about the technology involved. Understand how it works. This is specially useful if you’re working on complex applications, since knowing this will give you more ideas about how the design of the interface can be optimised for the best performance.
Give the tech guys some structured or unstructured design input, whenever required or in the form of a documentation that your time allows you.
Welcome ideas from everyone. There will be times when your boss or your colleague will throw in a sketch or a ‘badly’ made wireframe to communicate an idea to you. Welcome it. In small teams,the role of the designer is also an aggregator and filter-er of thoughts for the final decisions in the design.
Published by: Aditya Dipankar in Blog Post