Parallel Design

Parallel Design is a UX method where several design teams work on the same task simultaneously, resulting in multiple prototypes. The best ideas from each prototype are combined to create the final design solution.

About

Parallel Design is a collaborative design approach where multiple designers or teams work simultaneously on different solutions to the same problem. By exploring diverse ideas and perspectives, Parallel Design fosters creativity and reduces the risk of tunnel vision. It's often used in product design, user interface development, and innovation projects, where harnessing collective creativity leads to more robust solutions. Parallel Design encourages experimentation, iteration, and convergence on the most promising concepts.

Suitable for

  • quickly generating new ideas;
  • getting different perspectives from independently working teams;
  • discovering different approaches at the same time.

Deliverables

Design Brief

A comprehensive document outlining the project goals, requirements, and constraints for all design teams.


Team Assignments

A clear designation of team members, roles, and responsibilities for each design team.


Individual Design Concepts

Initial design ideas or sketches developed independently by each team.


Design Reviews

Periodic team meetings to present, discuss, and critique each team's design concepts, with a focus on collaboration and constructive feedback.


Combined Design Concept

An integrated design solution that incorporates the best features and ideas from each team's individual concepts.


Usability Testing Plan

A structured approach to testing the combined design concept with real users to gather insights and feedback.


Usability Test Results

A summary of user feedback, pain points, and suggested improvements identified during usability testing.


Iterations and Redesign

Revisions to the combined design concept, based on usability test results, team feedback, and additional design exploration.


Final Design Report

A comprehensive document detailing the finalized design solution, supporting research, and design process, including a summary of collaborative efforts and key learning points.

Procedure

1

1. Form Design Teams

Create small design groups, ideally composed of 3-4 individuals, which can include UX designers, developers, and stakeholders. Each team will work independently on designing solutions for the same problem.

2

2. Define Design Goals

Clearly outline the goals, objectives, and requirements of the project. Each team should have a solid understanding of the problem they need to solve, target users, and any constraints or restrictions that may apply to the design.

3

3. Set Design Timeline

Determine the appropriate amount of time for the design exercise. Give each team a deadline by which they need to present their design solutions. The timeline can be anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the scale and complexity of the project.

4

4. Develop Design Solutions Independently

Each team works independently to design their own unique solution to the problem. Encourage divergent thinking and exploration of different ideas during this phase. Teams should focus on creating functional prototypes or wireframes which represent their design solutions.

5

5. Review and Compare Solutions

Bring all teams together to present their design solutions to the larger group. Encourage open discussion and critique of each solution, identifying strengths and weaknesses in each design. Look for trends and common elements among the different designs.

6

6. Select and Refine the Best Ideas

From the discussions, identify the best ideas, features, or components from each design. Work towards combining these elements into a single, cohesive design solution. It may be helpful to have a group discussion or voting process for selecting the best ideas.

7

7. Develop a Unified Design

Use the selected best ideas to create a unified design solution. Assign a smaller team or individual to integrate the different features and elements from the various solutions into a single, cohesive prototype or wireframe design.

8

8. Perform Usability Testing

Conduct usability tests on the unified design solution to evaluate its effectiveness in solving the original problem. Gather feedback from the target users and analyze the findings to identify areas of improvement.

9

9. Iterate and Improve

Based on usability testing feedback, iterate on the design, making necessary improvements and refinements. Continue iterating and testing until the design meets the project goals and objectives, and provides a satisfying user experience.

10

10. Implement and Launch

Once the final design is developed and tested, implement the solution and launch the product. Monitor user engagement and gather feedback post-launch to fine-tune the design as needed for ongoing improvements.

Support the project

Donate to UX Methods today. As the largest UX method database on the web, your contributions will help maintain our platform and drive exciting new features. Keep the resource free, up-to-date, and comprehensive for everyone. Make a difference in the UX community!