5 Problems and Solutions for Remote Work in Design

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5 Problems and Solutions for Remote Work in Design

Whether you are working to be a remote UI/UX designer, or you’ve realized that working remotely is the only best option given the popularity of remote work culture across sectors since the coronavirus pandemic — remote work in UI/UX design comes with its own set of pros and cons.  

Over the last 15 years, a surprising rise of 159% has been observed in remote work. After all, there are several benefits that come with it. For instance, remote UI/UX designers usually have flexible working hours, undisturbed focus time, low direct supervision, and less time wasted on office commute. 

However, working as a remote designer has its challenges too.

Here, we will share five problems of remote work in UI/UX or website design and solutions to deal with them.

 

Remote design work challenges and ways to overcome them

How can you maintain your creativity when you work remotely? What factors should you consider while working remotely? Let’s get into the common remote UI/UX design work problems and ways to overcome them.

 

Conducting Remote User Research:

In the absence of user research, UI/UX designers will not succeed in meeting their goal of delivering usable and useful products. Ideally, there are two kinds of user research:

  • Primary user research that requires direct interaction along with the target audience, like usability testing and user interviews.
  • Second user research: Here, the information is collected without the presence of the target audience, like the competitive analysis.

Though primary, as well as secondary research is essential, primary user research has a higher weightage in informing the design decisions, specifically for iteration. However, remote UI/UX designers may not reside in the same location as their target audience.

 

How to deal with this challenge?

Do not shy away from conducting remote primary user research as it is difficult. Rather, seek the help and assistance of your other team members and the existing tools for solving the issue. After you have outlined the plan with your team, they can help schedule test user sessions.

Later, you can leverage remote testing tools like Calendly for scheduling the tests and use Lookback to carry out and record the test sessions. 

 

Explaining your Design Solutions:

When all employees work in the same office space, discussing and producing new ideas is easier. An in-person team meeting is much simpler than the remote one, as you can present and communicate your ideas through quick sketches on tablets or whiteboards. However, in the case of online meetings, remote UI/UX designers have limited options and so may not be able to communicate their design solutions as they want to. 

You may have a plethora of UI/UX design solutions in your mind, but the words may not be able to quite convey your idea. You might feel like grabbing a notebook and drawing out your idea to realize that no one’s around to look at it. 

What’s more awkward? Holding the notebook before the webcam while your team struggles to understand what you have drawn.

 

How to deal with this challenge?

Try setting up an online drawing pad like Wacom if possible. It will help boost the visual appearance of the design you’re trying to draw and eliminate the awkwardness you may sometimes face due to low-quality online video calls. 

A few more sketching tools are available, like InVision Freehand, which lets the team draw designs and annotate. If you like whiteboard solutions, you can try a digital whiteboard called Witeboard that allows your team to see your sketch in real-time. 

 

Handing over the design to developers:

Once your design solution is approved, the next hurdle is to have it developed exactly how you have designed it. 

Handing over your design is not an easy and quick process for a remote UI/UX designer. You may sit in your home office space and just imagine how it would have been easier if you could explain to the developers in-person why the header and the sub-header text have different blue shades or why they should put more white space amid two cards.

 

How to deal with this challenge?

If you are not seating next to a developer to overlook the implementation of each detail, you will have to put in a little extra effort to explain the UI interactions, different stages for the edge cases and responsive UI/UX design layout. How does the user display behave when they resize the browser? How are the components grouped in grids? What will happen in case of incorrect user input?

You can consider Sketch Measure, a tool for highlighting design specifications and measurements you feel are crucial and InVision Inspect for handing over your Sketch file. You could also make interactive prototypes as well as export the animated interactions for the developers to better understand how they work.

With time, UI/UX designers must work alongside the developers for creating a component library where the same specifications could be reutilized for other contexts.

 

Maximizing productivity:

Poor productivity is one of the major disadvantages of remote work. The longer you take to finish your work, the more time they consume in your personal space, making you a less productive team member. 

If you are an unproductive team member, things will quickly begin falling apart and working remotely will soon feel like a bane than a benefit. 

 

How to deal with this challenge?

Below is an easy three-step action plan to increase your productivity:

  • Take ample break: To concentrate at a high level and boost motivation with several short deadlines. 
  • Remove distractions: Avoid unnecessary distractions from lowering your productivity.
  • Avoid multitasking: Create a goal for every day of the week and concentrate on attaining that target.

It may seem difficult to implement the above steps; however, you will have to reset your mind; otherwise, you will revert to multitasking and several other bad working habits that kill productivity.

Besides, there are apps available to increase productivity. For instance, Serene is an app that helps keep you focused on one goal for each day so that you are not caught up with any other distractions. Moreover, it also asks you to break down this goal into different work sessions throughout the day to help you achieve your target when the day ends.   

 

Unplugging after the day is done:

Last but not the least, this is a critical challenge related to remote work in UI/UX design. There is no sense in working like this if you cannot unplug after the work is done for the day, and it is impossible to stay productive if you never take a proper break from work.

 

How to deal with this challenge?

One of the best ways to unplug after the day is done is by completing everything you plan on doing before the end of the day. That is why productivity is extremely significant, as it helps you know that it’s time to unplug for the day when you have ticked off everything from the day’s target list. However, make sure you set out achievable targets and hit them routinely. 

That is also why it helps keep statuses on applications such as Status Hero and Slack so that people know whenever you are/are not available. Making others know about your availability hours is also vital so they can contact you for work-related problems during those hours.  

 

Wrapping up:

Every designer is distinct and witnesses unique challenges. As proper communication is important to the functioning of a team, we must concentrate on solving these problems as soon as possible. Begin by identifying your core remote work issue and then decide what solution will work best to fix it. That’s how you will be able to provide successful design services to your clients and satisfy their needs.

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