Quite often people mention being a good communicator and able to balance efficiently. Some people think that it means being polite and able to speak adequately — things any decent human should be able to do 🙂

In my opinion communications means:

  • Keep good reputation while resolving conflicts;
  • Make communications efficient and constructive;
  • Stay cool blooded. Do not neglect emotions but remember that they are a tool in communication with people. Think what you want to achieve with a certain emotion, don’t manifest yourself to coworkers;
  • Be empathetic and analyze a situation from different angles.

Why a communication skill is so important for a ?

Apart from an obvious reason that a UX Designer has to conduct researches and talk to users, the same applies for collaboration within a company. I’ve seen awesome designs not implemented because developers didn’t feel comfortable communicating to a designer. I’ve seen designs implemented not correctly because there was no feedback loop in the development process for a designer to see the results — familiar, hah? A designer can create a good UX, but a great UX can be created only by inter department collaboration.

Here are some common challenges I face as a UX Designer and how I resolve them.

Balancing communications as a UX Designer is…

Instead of burning developers for not getting the UI specifications right over and over again:

  • Don’t cry 🙂
  • Explore how developers interact with your designs and specifications to get the settings — fix pitfalls in the process if any; make information easily discoverable and accessible; talk the same language;
  • Educate people about UX and explain your design decisions;
  • Give some ownership of UX to make them feel responsibility and pride for good implementations.

Instead of slapping a coworker for shouting at you in an open space:

  • Relax;
  • Give some time for the situation to cool down;
  • Drink a coffee with a manager discussing this issue;
  • Drink another coffee with a team lead discussing this issue;
  • Discuss this issue with two of them;
  • Make sensible action points to avoid such issues in future if possible.

Instead of facepalming because a stakeholder often brings updates to crucial requirements over and over:

  • Often stakeholders have to work with assumptions to push a product forward. It is no wonder they may struggle with uncertainty in their past decisions. Be a reliable person who can help to discuss and test the assumptions, which led to a decision of requirements update;
  • Discuss new requirements with a PO/DM;
  • Analyze scope of these requirements, effect on the system, cost/value proportion;
  • Bring this analysis to the PO/DM and let him decide whether to take new requirements to work.

Instead of agreeing to all design suggestions from coworkers:

  • Stand your ground and be able to explain each and every design decision;
  • Backup your design decisions with research and best practices;
  • Be open minded — your coworkers are smart people and some suggestions are worth trying!

Useful tips

  • Find your way to relax in a stressful situation before taking an action;
  • If possible take some time before an action;
  • Reframe an assumption “a person is incompetent and evil” to “a person is smart and might have reasons for that”;
  • Find your way to release accumulated stress and muscle tension.

Conclusion

Work conflicts mostly take root in miscommunication and lack of understanding for the other person’s goals. I wish you all to be more active in putting your thoughts and suggestions out there and be willing to discuss them with genuine respect for others opinions.



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