Becoming a Team Player: The Evolving Role of Design in the World of Agile Development

By Aaron Ganci and Bruno Ribeiro.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 21, 2014 $US5.00

Through qualitative methods, this paper examines the evolving role of the visual communication designer within the Agile development process. As websites and software become more complex environments, designers can quickly find themselves unable to design and implement a complete solution on their own. While this realization seems like a loss of control—the designers and their designs now appear to be at the whim of the developer—it can actually result in more thoughtful solutions. Designers must simply learn to become a team player by integrating themselves firmly into the process. In doing this, the integrity of the visual design will not be compromised and will add broader benefit to the site or application. It is crucial that designers adopt a new team-based mentality towards designing digital products. This paper will document insights from interviews about, and direct observation of, the Agile development processes to provide context and insight into a visual communication designer’s ideal role and expected deliverables. Implications and challenges for visual communication design education will be derived from the insights obtained through this study.

Keywords: Visual Communication Design, Agile Methods, Software, Web Design, User Experience Design, Design Education, Mobile Application, Collaboration

International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 7, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.11-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 21, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 431.949KB)).

Prof. Aaron Ganci

Assistant Professor, Herron School of Art and Design, Visual Communication Design, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Aaron Ganci is an assistant professor of visual communication design at Herron School of Art and Design, part of Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is an expert in the visual design of use driven web environments for a variety of formats. Coming from an educational background (MFA, Ohio State University) encompassing print, web, and user experience design, he is well-positioned to document design’s transition to new on-screen and interactive environments. His current research interests include the role of the designer in web development, visualization tactics for large data sets, web and on-screen design curriculum, and team-centric design processes. In addition, he also consults on a variety of digital design projects. Most recently, he has been consulting on the development of a visual design system for a worldwide suite of digital library tools produced by the Online Computer Library Center, Inc. in Dublin, OH.

Bruno Ribeiro

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Department of Art and Design, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

Bruno Ribeiro is an assistant professor of Graphic Design at the California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo. He received his master of fine arts degree in design with a specialization in education from The Ohio State University in the spring of 2012. As a researcher, his focus is on teaching interaction design to undergraduate students. Prior to attending Ohio State, Bruno was manager and creative director for Stijl, a design firm based out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He holds an MBA in marketing from Fundação Getúlio Vargas–FGV (Rio de Janeiro) and a bachelor of science degree in both visual communication and industrial design, from Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial–ESDI (Rio de Janeiro).