Design goes agile … lead by big innovators

Agile Operations.

It’s often thought that Agile, Scrums and Sprints were something a WordPress agency would only use in development – but that’s wrong and really misses the point about agile, which is grounded in sharing and delivering stuff

And it’s not just us – in the agency world, agile is gaining in momentum. Big innovators such as Google have been applying agile methodology to design for years, though.

What’s new, however, is that it’s coming out of the closet – agile is now mainstream. In fact, with Google’s latest announcement we’ll see a wholesale change in how design is evolved and this will touch every organisation, agency and designer in the next few years.

At Google we say, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” We embrace that principle in our design by seeking to build experiences that surprise and enlighten our users in equal measure.

The output of this is Google’s Material Design Guidelines, a comprehensive review of all the core design elements including Animation, Style, Layout, Components, Patterns, Usability and Resources.

Based around the concept of creating a visual language that synthesises the principles of good design with the innovation and scope of technology. It’s a brave, but obvious step to try to rationalise the user experience into something that is consistent, useable, accessible and device agnostic.

The challenges of developing a single framework that allows for a unified experience across platforms and device sizes are huge and it must embrace mobile, touch, voice, mouse, and keyboard.

Motion is the newest element in the arsenal, and the most controversial, as it’s pandering to a skeuomorphic-type approach where digital elements possess mass, velocity and acceleration as a facsimile of physical properties. And only a few months after Apple “dropped all that crap”.

The standardised approach is good for everyone: Design becomes more affordable, subjectivity become marginalised, poor design loses and we all have a more consistent experience. Old-world designers might struggle but also have a chance to shine, adding the flourishes and iconography suddenly becomes more important than re-inventing navigation bars and hero sliders.

Google call this Material Design and we quite like it. If you want to learn more there’s a hangout on the 17th of July.