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An Open Culture Creates a Positive Cycle of Sharing and Communication

Human-centered is facilitating every employee to grow and realize the company's vision.

Dictated by Tammy Chen, Chief Designer, iKala
Written by Iris Hung

 

At iKala, designers enjoy a lot of freedom when developing new products, which is different from my past experiences. Here, we need to take care of both UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) design. Because of this, during the early stages of product planning, we all put our heads together and bounce ideas off of one another—especially the product managers and engineers. This is in line with iKala's "Human-Centered" approach. Here, designers can do more than hone the skills we already have. We can be trained to develop a keener perception of the products, and nurture design thinking. Then, we can optimize our products and services through trial and error.

At iKala, everyone keeps an open mind when attempting something new. Whenever someone wants to share or teach, their colleagues are always eager to participate and provide positive feedback. So, whenever I discover an effective tool, I cannot wait to share it with everyone else. To cite a recent example, I found that the UI/UX design tool Figma has announced a remarkable set of new functions in the past few years. Everyone is talking about it online, and after trying it for myself, I was impressed. I began to share what I've learned with my colleagues.

To reveal a bit of inside baseball, this is how designers used to work: first, they created the interface with the user interface design program Sketch; then, they connected the interfaces by using the user flow diagram tool Overflow; then, they go into the app interface collaboration program Zeplin to mark the coordinates and data that R&D engineers need for development. It's a three-step process, and it can all be done with Figma at nearly half the price. In the past, colleagues in charge of different tasks used different tools, making it difficult to manage assignments and communicate between them. But Figma was a tool that everyone could use, and it made collaboration between colleagues a breeze. 

Because it is a relatively new tool, there isn't a lot of information or tutorials online. Fortunately, everyone was glad to share what they've learned. As the head of the design team, I did everything in my power to give members of my team a heads-up about the challenges they might face. I also gave them enough time to switch over the systems. The entire process, from start to finish, was initiated by our team from the inside out, without any pressure from the management. After all, it is a sign of commitment to voluntarily improve our workflow, so we can achieve better efficiency and results.

Our HR department, which is in charge of internal training, also played an important role in the process. They proactively set out to discover what members of the team wanted to learn, and they instilled in everyone the habit of sharing and providing feedback. In the past, when they found that salespersons and product managers often prepared presentations and asked designers for pointers, they arranged a training course so designers could share the tools and methods they use for presentations with everyone else. It was the same this time. When I mentioned I had something to share, HR began planning courses and actively inviting everyone in the company to attend. After my presentation, I saw some colleagues actually using the new tools in their work. Through the process, I understood the importance of sharing: not only did I achieve personal growth, but I made our whole team better, as well.

I believe this positive cycle will not end with me. It will continue throughout the whole company, creating a sustainable loop of positive growth that will help everyone learn and improve themselves.

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