CASE STUDY

A Web Design Tool in the Wild

Method — Diary Study

I wanted to get beyond initial impressions of a new web design tool, so I left the tool with designers to use in the context of their daily work. In a relatively short amount of time, the shine wore off, and I got the opportunity to see if the tool changed team dynamics.

Recruited web designers from local professional networking mailing lists. Introduced new tool at designers' workplaces and let them play for two weeks before returning for debrief interview. To improve my visibility into their day-to-day work, I asked them to keep their working files as well as a diary in a shared Dropbox folder.

A single step in a complicated workflow: The web designer slices a Photoshop file into a collection of assets appropriate for display on a website.

A single step in a complicated workflow: The web designer slices a Photoshop file into a collection of assets appropriate for display on a website.

Research Questions

How will the introduction of a new web design tool change designers' workflows? How will it affect communication between designers and their collaborators?

Design Insights

The tool was designed to change workflows significantly, so we needed to let our participants adjust to the new capabilities and adapt their workflows in a naturalistic way. Some participants adapted eagerly, but others had more trouble. The specific recommendations from this study gave the product team options for accommodating those who needed more support if they were going to make the leap and adopt this new tool.