What’s behind great experiences: Communication

I’m sure you have heard this many times before, in different contexts — communication is key!

While this is true, I find that in many articles, talks, etc. that speak about communication an important part of it is often disregarded. That part is listening.

Communication is also about listening to others

Listen to your teammates

This may be taken as given, however we often have someone in our teams that speaks more than others, that has a more difficult temper, or doesn’t take well criticism. On the other hand, we also see quite often people that are very quite, that do as they are told, or struggle with things in silence. This is called different personalities, and as individuals and as a team we need to find our way to take the most out each person and have a healthy team environment. Here, leadership has a very important role, and I completely agree with Ricardo Melo on his article What is true leadership?

Another key point about working as a team is conflict. Conflicts are natural and can be healthy. The key is to (truly) listen to your teammates and not take a defensive stand. It’s not about the idea, it’s about building something great for the customer.

On the subject of conflict, I read a great book by Dan Brown that I strongly recommend: Designing Together: The collaboration and conflict management handbook for creative professionals

While it’s important that people inside the team listen to each other, listening to people outside the team can be even more important.

Listen to the customer

This is the basis of User Centred Design — bring the customer in, observe what and how he does things, understand his needs and goals.

At the end of day, remember, you or your teammates are not the user!

If you want to build great experiences you cannot skip this part and there are several things you can do, since online questionnaires, to actual interviews or usability tests. It depends on your goals.

Listen to your client

Great experiences take into account both customers and businesses. One cannot work well without the other. That’s why you should bring your client in and listen to him.

He knows how the business works, what he wants to accomplish with the product you’re building, what can and cannot be done, etc. By listening to him you learn things that will help you understand how to better build your product. Most importantly, by listening to him and including him in the process it will be easier for you to get a buy-in on your solutions.

Putting all together

It’s hard and sometimes it’s simply not possible. The trick is to keep trying to do better each time you embrace a product design challenge.

I believe a great experience is the mix of matching customer and business needs in a context where the product team is a well oiled machine, with the right mindset, great communication skills and ability to adapt to different scenarios.

Check the other articles on “What’s behind great experiences”:

What’s behind great experiences: Team Mindset

What’s behind great experiences: Adaptability


Susana Vilaça

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