users image
Mark Wright
July 3, 2020

How we started a design community

Starting Difrent's design community

Image: team workshop

When I started working for Difrent in December 2019 I noticed that we didn’t have any kind of communities of practice within the organisation.

I was quite busy for the first 3 months working with NHS Business Services Authority on the search functionality of the NHS Jobs.

When things quietened down a bit, I took a look around and decided to put a design community of practice together within Difrent.

We currently have about 5 UX Designers, 3 Content Designers and 4 User Researchers so having multiple different communities seemed like it would be off the table because having 3 really small communities seemed odd.

We hit the ground running with a fortnightly community that we established about a month ago now.

Setting Objectives for our community

One thing we wanted to do in the first session was to lay out some clear objectives and goals we would use the community for.

Who wants to attend a fortnightly session without a goal or purpose, right?

We used virtual post-it notes in Miro (as we’re all working remotely) and gathered everyone’s ideas and thoughts on what they wanted out of the community.

Design community virtual whiteboard

Image: virtual post-it notes in Miro of design community ideas and thoughts

After the workshops, we drafted these as our goals for the community:

Share best practice and ways of working

1. Share knowledge between different teams (for example: accessibility knowledge and content knowledge)

2. We should be sharing things within the community we find interesting

Create a safe space

1. The community should be where we feel safe to talk openly about issues

2. The community should allow us to have fun and let off steam

Run regular design reviews

1. Run regular design reviews of our work

2. Share knowledge in these reviews to make sure things are the best they can be

Create an onboarding toolkit for designers and researchers

1. Create a guide (videos or documents) for new designers joining Difrent

2. Make sure the new designer is introduced to everyone within the community

3. Run regular workshops on prototyping and git

Promote user-centred design as an organisation

1. Identify ways to show externally the work we are doing in Difrent; assisting with blogs, presentations, attending external design groups

We plan to keep reviewing these goals every couple of months as a community to make sure we are still happy with them.

I think it’s really important that these goals are owned by the community and not one member in particular.

I hope to write some more in the future about the fab stuff we are doing within our community.

Written by Mark Wright - User Experience Designer @ Difrent


Twitter: @mrkwrght


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