So what is design facilitation? Design Facilitation is…well…facilitating others in their design work. It’s the act of guiding, teaching and assisting others in generating the absolute best design assets they are capable of. I would even go farther to say that you’re actually helping them exceed their abilities and grow in the field of user experience. There are several components to design facilitation, all of which I thoroughly enjoy.
First, there’s a high level of communication. Spending time as a team and one-on-one provides an amazing opportunity to convey experience and knowledge practical to the tasks that an individual is working on. For instance, as your team is working on an app design you may help an individual in the area of its structural design. Giving pointers on information density, micro-interaction design, or other aspects of the app. When performed in a team setting, others benefit from the knowledge and insights and your entire team is made better because of the group learning. When done individually, you may be able to go more in-depth with the person to draw out their particular abilities. There are benefits to both, and the personality and experience of the person will dictate their ability to cope with one setting vs the other.
This is by far my favorite part of the role because I get to dig into projects, shoulder-to-shoulder with folks around me. It’s like a tight-knit design community all charging at a problem in the best ways possible.
The second major component I love is watching the skills of others improve and their abilities grow. Their work evolves over time and there is a trail of work that you can review to see the improvement. It’s beneficial to go back and review previous work to see how they have improved. Spend time analyzing past work with your team to see how it could have been improved. You both will be amazed at the improvements in problem-solving and problem identification skills.
My favorite part of this is to see how an individual’s skill has grown. Think back to the first interactions with this person. How have they improved? How have they grown? What is the contrast between their first work and their work now? This puts a smile on my face, knowing that I was able to help this person.
The third aspect I really enjoy is watching yourself grow. Your goal is always helping others, but inevitably you also grow in the process. Your work improves by being able to more clearly articulate concepts. Your understanding of problems deepen. This tends to happen automatically if you are really engaging with your team in a facilitative role instead of a management manner.
Lastly, responsibility can be scary but it’s a necessary component. Without responsibility, you will be less likely to deeply engage with the work and your team’s involvement. Taking responsibility for your team’s growth is part of the role. Personally, it’s a thrill. I love being used in a capacity to grow others and bring them along.
Overall, I can’t overstate how much I enjoy the act of design facilitation. It’s not without its challenges, but these are learning opportunities for myself. Just like any skill, it takes work and experience to get better. I’m so thankful to be a part of a team that wants to learn and grow. It’s awesome sauce.