After a few months as a product designer at LYST, I was moved into the "discovery squad". Once I joined the squad, it became apparent that there was a lot of tension. In particular, this squad rely on a team of editorial writers to create content. This custom content is then dispersed to LYST users through our algorithm, which is built by our engineering team.
However, engineering spoke the language of tech, and the editorial writers were consistently unhappy with how their work was being displayed within the app. As a result, tensions were high, and shipping work became difficult.
As a designer, I saw this problem as an opportunity...
how might we bridge the gap between the fashion experts and the developers?
✔️ Unify software engineering, product and editorial through a common understanding of how our content feed works
✔️ Raise awareness of this business-wide
✔️ Increase efficiency in our team
✔️ Improve relationships within our squad
The first step to improving communication between editorial, engineering and product? Interviews! Through interviewing the editorial writers on how they view our content, the engineers on how they view our content, and my product manager, I knew I could understand where all parties were coming from.
Taking them through the live feed (in separate groups) I asked them how they named content internally within their separate teams, and for any relevant documentation that could help me understand their work.
While all teams understood the style types we grouped users by, and what sort of brands these users would see, it became apparent that there was a lack of understanding around what the different content series were called.
To get the diagram started, I opened FigJam and dropped in visuals that the editors had named for me in interviews, and visuals that the engineers had named for me in interviews. First, I mapped out the vision and definitions the editors had for each content type, then, noted where engineering had different views.
To create greater alignment, I hosted a meeting for 1.5 hours. In the meeting I had a clear goal - alignment. In the meeting we discussed our goal of alignment, and went through each section. After agreeing on the content type names and how they are distributed to users, I pinned the document to our team channel for future reference.
✅ Aligned team through a shared language through straightforward diagrams
✅ Shared across teams, file pinned to channel regularly used as reference
✅ Reduced time by approximately 50% in shipping initiatives
✔️ Further reevaluation of what we show vs. do not show in the feed
✔️ Further reevaluation of how we display content
✔️ Further reevaluation of our content strategy