A topic that was on my mind recently was the question of how different disciplines collaborate with each other; I wrote a longer text on this on my blog – but let me share some shorter quotes that might be more intersting here for exchanging about our experiences.
The whole idea started with the observation that people claim that collaboration would be smoother if
… difficulties to collaborate are assumed to be caused by the lack of shared knowledge. Thus, at least one of the sides of the collaboration needs to learn how to see things like the other side in order to collaborate better.
However, this often means to make some group of people learn something that they do not necessarily want to learn. The idea is thus also very open to a dominant professional group shaping the non-dominant group to behave like they would like to.
Two ideas that I found interesting are example of how people work together without actually learning (formally) about another discipline:
- In developing “trading zones” where two different groups come together, developing practices for that contact and collaboration, similar to pidgin and trade languages (e.g. while designers might have nuanced ideas about the differences of mockup, wireframe, prototype… these might be used interchangeably when talking to non-designers)
- Shared objects on which different groups collaborate even though the understand these objects in different ways (The same mockup in figma is, for the designer, the site of design, of usability compromizes etc., while for a developer it might be a pointer to UI-libraries, status management, changes in the CSS…)
This I found to be hepful examples on how a colloboration can work without homogenization of practices since
the style of working in code is different than working in design and attempting to make it the same (but with a visual interface) abandons a lot of the affordances that are unique for design, like direct manipulation and immediate feedback; Same goes for the attempts to introduce some sort of version control for designs, in which the state of text-based files are tracked.