Boagworld Show S07E05

Web & Digital Advice

Digital and web advice from Headscape and the addled brain of Paul Boag... tell me more

Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Friday, 11th October, 2013

Static Agile

This week on the Boagworld web design podcast, we discuss whether agile is for designers and argue that static comps have had their day.

Season 7:
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Paul Boag:
This week on the Boagworld web design podcast we discuss whether agile is for designers and argue that static comps have had their day.

Hello and welcome to boagworld.com, the podcast for all those involved in designing, developing and running websites on a daily basis. My name is Paul Boag and joining me today as always is Marcus Lillington.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s me.

Paul Boag:
That’s you.

Marcus Lillington:
Do you think this podcast could be for people who run websites on a weekly basis?

Paul Boag:
No, it has to be everyday otherwise they’re not allowed to listen.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
I don’t know where that came from. It was the basis that we don’t want bloody amateurs listening.

Marcus Lillington:
No amateurs.

Paul Boag:
Although we’ve got a lot of amateurs I think. A lot of people that do web in their spare time, because we don’t say anything sensible enough to attract professionals.

Marcus Lillington:
Professional.

Paul Boag:
They know better than to listen to us.

Marcus Lillington:
We are very professional, Paul, but maybe not on this podcast.

Paul Boag:
No, that’s I think is the key.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
How are you anyway?

Marcus Lillington:
I’m alright. It’s my wedding anniversary today, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Oh is it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Happy wedding anniversary. How long have you been married?

Marcus Lillington:
24 years.

Paul Boag:
Flippin’ heck. You must have got married really young.

Marcus Lillington:
Next year it’s my silver wedding …

Paul Boag:
Oh terrifying.

Marcus Lillington:
People have that.

Paul Boag:
I know.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I was married young, 22. That is quite young, so yes.

Paul Boag:
I have no idea how old I was when I married.

Marcus Lillington:
46 years old, so that makes 24, doesn’t it? Yes.

Paul Boag:
Yes, good maths.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I can do numbers.

Paul Boag:
Have you bought yourself an iPhone 5S to celebrate?

Marcus Lillington:
Not yet. I just haven’t been to the shops, Paul. I tried to buy one the other day when I went to the shops …

Paul Boag:
They didn’t have any …?

Marcus Lillington:
… to buy our Blackberry for testing and they’d run out. It was like – okay.

Paul Boag:
So how is the office coming, Marcus? Give me an update on the new office we’re moving into soon. It was green according to your picture that was all I knew.

Marcus Lillington:
I have to say good choice, Paul. That color green is lovely.

Paul Boag:
It’s a good green. Yes, it did look great in the picture.

Marcus Lillington:
All the little radiators are green now as well.

Paul Boag:
I can’t wait till we do the floor. We got a black wooden floor.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s a good point actually.

Paul Boag:
That’ll look superb.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, because I don’t know when that person is going in, because I was speaking to the contractor or the guy that …

Paul Boag:
This is really interesting… the head contractor

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, and he said oh well he’ll need to go in over the weekend because he uses some air gun or something which is like explosions going off to get it down. So all the people underneath will be really pleased with us …

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
When we move in if he does that during the week.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. It’s going to be so exciting, being in the middle of Winchester is just going to be wonderful.

Marcus Lillington:
I know.

Paul Boag:
I came into work today.

Marcus Lillington:
Lovely.

Paul Boag:
Well, I just walked down just a minute ago, just walked down to the little village shop.

Marcus Lillington:
To the shop.

Paul Boag:
And it was you walk around and you think what I would give just being able to go to like a Starbucks or anywhere normal that isn’t …

Marcus Lillington:
Winchester has really posh award winning coffee shops.

Paul Boag:
Yes, it’s a lot better than Starbucks. And also it’s like I opened up our fridge this morning and there was nothing to drink in there and you think it would be so nice just to be able to wander into town. This is what like urban people experience the whole time.

Marcus Lillington:
So this is normal, Paul.

Paul Boag:
It’s not in my life.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s not in my life to get in the car to go to the shop.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I know.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m home. But yes it won’t be like that when we’ve moved.

Paul Boag:
I may even come into office more than once a week.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
Stranger things have happened.

Marcus Lillington:
Well I think you should, Paul, because it’s a nice place to be and you will have very quick connectivity and we will be able to go the pub a lot more.

Paul Boag:
Yes and the other problem …

Marcus Lillington:
Which pub?

Paul Boag:
I know. We will have a choice.

Marcus Lillington:
There’ll be like 20 to choose from

Paul Boag:
But the reason I’m vaguely serious about coming in more than once a week is because I think I’m losing the ability to work from home.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, that happens to me.

Paul Boag:
It’s really weird. Suddenly I’m finding it harder.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s a little bit like if I’ve to start a new thing at home, I’ll make a cup of tea and then oh I will do these three, four, five other little tiny tasks that actually aren’t that important. I just sort of like – I don’t want to do that thing, but that – whatever that thing is usually writing a document. If I’m here I will get on with it. But I find I’m better at finishing them at home.

Paul Boag:
Oh, weird.

Marcus Lillington:
Because here just I talk to everyone all the time.

Paul Boag:
I know that is the trouble with here.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
But I’m trying to weigh up where I’m least productive. I can’t work out whether it’s home or work, perhaps it’s both; perhaps I’m equally unproductive everywhere at the moment.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, you can’t be asked to do anything really.

Paul Boag:
Do you know what it’s since going away; you know I did the half days over August. I haven’t managed to get back into full days. It’s like mentally there has been this real struggle and every day is really difficult. But after how many years have I worked completely fine from home, what’s it been 10 years?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, more than that. Weird. I don’t know 2002 you started, so yes 10 years.

Paul Boag:
So 10 – 11 years, yes. And it’s …

Marcus Lillington:
12 in January.

Paul Boag:
12 in January.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s only a quarter of a year away.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. And suddenly I have lost the ability to work from home. It’s so funny. I’m really struggling.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, I’m very keen on a mixture of the two.

Paul Boag:
Yes. I think that’s what I’m coming around to the same thing. It’s a shame it’s so bloody far away.

Marcus Lillington:
And you have suffered from the move.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I am the only one that has really most – oh well, Ed has. But Ed’s talking about moving.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know about that, but – I think his journey time will be the same.

Paul Boag:
Right, okay.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s just further away. But yes and Chris Scott but then he has had it absolutely life of Riley for the last five years. He can almost walk here.

Paul Boag:
Yes, so that’s – we don’t care about him.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve been driving an hour every time.

Paul Boag:
But it is really interesting, the whole issue of like home working and getting – finding the right balance of when you’re in the office, when you’re working for, I’ve been writing recently about remote working not long ago, I will put a link in the show notes to something I wrote. I think it’s a really interesting area to get right. It’s very difficult or it is at the moment.

Marcus Lillington:
Well I think – I don’t – I’ve always looked at you and Leigh in particular and thought I don’t know how they do it.

Paul Boag:
What I don’t think Leigh does, he just sits around doesn’t he?

Marcus Lillington:
So he comes here, doesn’t he? And has a night away every fortnight.

Paul Boag:
Yes, which he quite likes, I think.

Marcus Lillington:
And that’s how he breaks it up, yes.

Paul Boag:
I quite like that idea. I would like to do that for me, but I’m not really – staying at home, next to our – next to – in the building we’re in is the headquarters of Hotel du Vin, which if you’ve ever stayed in a Hotel du Vin, they’re absolutely beautiful hotels, lovely and there is one right next door, so I think I’m going to start doing what Leigh does, even though I’m only an hour down the road.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, maybe I don’t – I’m not sure I agree with that on an ongoing basis. But I have decided that once we have moved in and it’s going to have to be fairly soon bearing in mind certain projects that hopefully we’re starting at the end of October, that we have a proper piss up, pub crawl.

Paul Boag:
Oh my word, all stay in there.

Marcus Lillington:
And we will stay over. I don’t think we can get away with Hotel du Vin, maybe we can.

Paul Boag:
They might do us a deal if it’s midweek.

Marcus Lillington:
As you can tell, Chris was thrilled about this when I was describing it to him, he was like we have to drink and everything. Yes, Chris. We had a great year. We’ve done lots of tough jobs and everyone has been really good. So it’s a sort of thank you.

Paul Boag:
Yes, because we do need to do that, because people are putting a lot of effort. Things like that are really important.

Marcus Lillington:
Eating steak.

Paul Boag:
In fact I don’t like when we get drunk, because to be honest because some members of our staff no names being mentioned, do get a little out of hand. The worst has left.

Marcus Lillington:
And the worst of all is no longer work here.

Paul Boag:
Mezz you know where you’re, I know who you’re.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s not only Mezz, the worst of …

Paul Boag:
Oh Rob, yes. Rob Borley, he was terrible. Disgraceful.

Marcus Lillington:
Anyway …

Paul Boag:
Yes, so shall we talk about – we have got a couple of debate topics this week, which I probably confused everyone last week, because I said the wrong week.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, you said it was this and then you went that’s not right.

Paul Boag:
And I haven’t been on form podcasting last couple of weeks. I was a bigot the week before last.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I think apologies are required?

Paul Boag:
Yes, I have to apologize to Matt.

Marcus Lillington:
Matt? Full name.

Paul Boag:
Who I – what did I call him?

Marcus Lillington:
I think the full name is required here. Maybe sir.

Paul Boag:
Early, apparently.

Marcus Lillington:
Sir Matt Early.

Paul Boag:
Sir Matt Early, apparently he tweeted I’m sitting in a global coffee chain drinking tea and I have just been called scum by Boagworld. I’m sorry, Matt. I do apologize. Apparently now we have only got five listeners, because he is not going to listen anymore. So he wouldn’t hear this apology. I think he was joking.

Marcus Lillington:
You hope so. But Matt …

Paul Boag:
“My loyalty to the podcast since its conception” – so he has been listening to the podcast since the very beginning and his loyalty has been returned by a verbal slap as described here.

Marcus Lillington:
But, Matt, I don’t really believe in these kind of things, but now I’m not sure whether I do or I don’t believe in karma because Paul is currently looking at me with a big red mark on his face. And I think that basically that happened …

Paul Boag:
Because I was horrible …

Marcus Lillington:
… because you were horrible to Matt. What happened, Paul? How did you get that mark on your nose? I’ll leave that one with you.

Paul Boag:
Just it was an – I happened to hit my nose on the door. These things happen.

Marcus Lillington:
Really, Paul? You walked into it, did you?

Paul Boag:
Not so much walked into as slammed the door in my face.

Marcus Lillington:
Really?

Paul Boag:
I beat myself.

Marcus Lillington:
I believe your words in the tweet or the Facebook post were who does that?

Paul Boag:
Very true. I do apparently, because I have a whopping great mark on my nose.

Marcus Lillington:
You have.

Paul Boag:
And that’s obviously I had a nose bleed as well. It was so much blood, it was disgusting. Honestly. But what was really interesting because I then tweeted that obviously everything in my life has to be tweeted whether or not it’s humiliating and embarrassing. But the number of people that have done the most ridiculous things, there was one person I have trouble believing this claimed that they got their lip trapped in a door. How the hell do you get your lip trapped in a door?

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know. I’m not sure that is possible.

Paul Boag:
I don’t think. I wasn’t convinced by that, but some of the stories were really funny actually. I think you could do a podcast just on the ridiculously stupid things people do to themselves.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, there you go, next season.

Paul Boag:
That’s sorted. So should we – so I’ve been bigoted. I was incoherent last week. This week I seem more with it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, a bit.

Paul Boag:
I’m on form. So should we see how long it takes me before I screw up?

Should designers be using agile?

This house proposes that those designing websites should adopt the same agile development process as the developers they work alongside.

Have your say

Okay so our first debate topic is this house proposes that …

Marcus Lillington:
Not long then.

Paul Boag:
Oh, can we restart that please.

Marcus Lillington:
No, we can’t.

Paul Boag:
Git. Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
What does this house propose for?

Paul Boag:
This house proposes that those designing websites should adopt the same agile development process as developers they’re working alongside. Does that make sense?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, yes.

Paul Boag:
So let’s be clear about what …

Marcus Lillington:
It does make the assumption that all developers work in an agile way?

Paul Boag:
No, its not. What it’s saying is if the developer does, then the designer should do too.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
All right?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So if your developer works waterfall, that’s fine and you can work that way as well, but if you’re a designer and the developer is working agile, you need to work in an agile way as well. That is what the house is proposing. So, there we go. So we have got a whole load of comments of different people. I don’t know what I think about this one? Well I think I do now.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
You don’t even care, do you? I can tell.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I do care, because we are adopting agile projects at the moment and it’s quite – in these days is not well – obviously for years and years and years, decades or decade, we’ve been doing waterfall projects, and I really like the idea of working in an agile manner and dealing with… What I really like about it is a: dealing with problem A than problem B, than problem C and fixing it or at least coming up with something that’s real rather than dealing with the whole of the information architecture. And then dealing with – I don’t know look and feel or whatever in one – this kind of unwieldy, hard to deal with thing. I really like the idea of dealing with little things, what else I and also the idea of everyone working on something all the time. I think that’s a really healthy and productive thing to do, but currently I’m trying to work out who is going to work on what project because I’ve got a new project coming up for so and so and it’s an absolute bloody nightmare, it’s getting in the way of me trying to work who’s going to sort another project.

Paul Boag:
No, I know what you’re saying. It is – no, no, it’s not. I disagree. I can totally understand where you’re coming from. But what it’s doing is it’s putting into focus the realities, right. Because what you do is you fudge it and go oh well we will have two people – they can work on more than one project at a time, because that takes them twice as long. So actually …

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, it does take longer, but if – say if it takes 50% longer to do two projects or I don’t know, then that’s a really good thing. It takes twice as long as to do two projects. Then it does give you some leeway with – when something urgent comes in.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
And what do you do with that? What if everyone is on an agile project and something urgent needs doing?

Paul Boag:
Well, you have to set aside some people that are not on agile projects to do that.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
To do the support stuff.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, but what – so you have people that only do support or not?

Paul Boag:
No, it’s you rotate people through, don’t you?

Marcus Lillington:
But there is – I suppose what I’m trying to say because that’s fine if you got 50 people in your company, we’ve got 12.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
We’ve got one guy who does most of the .net development and if he is on an agile project, then he would have to be able to deal with emergencies coming in for some …

Paul Boag:
Yes, but I don’t think we would necessarily – you only take on as much agile projects as you can, don’t you? You don’t take on more than you can do.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. I’m not – I suppose as always with these things. We both argue both sides. I think agile is a really good thing, but the thing that has – the issue that I’m having at the moment, I wasn’t expecting I suppose. I think if you’re doing all agile, it would go away.

Paul Boag:
Exactly.

Marcus Lillington:
If you’re doing a mixture of the two, then it’s like …

Paul Boag:
And that’s I think where that uncomfortable, it’s like when you start anything new isn’t it, the initial period is an uncomfortable period and it doesn’t always fit in with your existing thinking and you’ve got to change the way you think about the stuff. There’s some really good feedback, which side should we start with the disagree …?

Marcus Lillington:
Well I think I agree.

Paul Boag:
You think you agree?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So if I give you some disagrees and we will see whether that has changed your mind at all. Richard says agile, I like this one, this is – he is channeling my bigotidness. Richard, agile is just this things …

Marcus Lillington:
This year’s …

Paul Boag:
This year’s, you read it, go on.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s just this year’s thing propagated by those with either a vested interest or by those who jump on anything trendy.

Paul Boag:
Yes, you say it, Richard.

Marcus Lillington:
We have just being discussing that we’re just starting to do agile projects …

Paul Boag:
Are we jumping on it because it’s trendy?

Marcus Lillington:
I think – I don’t think I need to repeat what I think the advantages of agile are.

Paul Boag:
Why not? We haven’t really said.

Marcus Lillington:
I have. I basically – you weren’t listening. I think the biggest advantages are – is that you don’t get kind of overrun with the complexity of the entire IA. For example you’re dealing with important obviously issues and trying to come up with testable, viewable versions of these issues quickly, which I think isn’t really …

Paul Boag:
But equally I mean Dominic takes the kind of opposite. He says I find that most designers want to look at the big picture and they are kind of stuck in doing these sprints kind of rush environment where they’re focusing on the minutiae and they’re not looking at the bigger picture. I’m somewhat summarizing what he has written. But I think that’s a valid point actually that I think within the agile process you’ve got to build in some contingency for a designer to step back, otherwise you’re building all these little bits in isolation and you’re not looking at how it kind of fits together holistically.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
But on the flipside what I really like about agile is the collaboration aspect of it. I mean just listen to this morning, the conversations we have been having this morning all of the moans that Dan has been expressing this morning have – rightly so have all been communication things. We’ve handed stuff across to a developer and they haven’t understood it and they made changes and it’s screwed it up and you get around that with agile. So I think that’s a good thing about agile. But they’re downsides. I mean Dominic also talks about the – this idea of kind of a designer can’t necessarily switch it on and off like that and time to think about things and allow things to go around in your head is an important part of it. I mean Dave mind…

Marcus Lillington:
I like this. Can I read Dave?

Paul Boag:
Yes, go on.

Marcus Lillington:
Saying you cannot rush a designer as they may not feel creative is wrong. I will no doubt anger a few people by saying this, but they are paid for their creative skills.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely.

Marcus Lillington:
Which is absolutely true.

Paul Boag:
It is true, but you know – but part of that creative process, you know this from writing music. You need time to allow things to mull over in your head. And I’ve to be honest I think this applies as much to developers as it applies to a designer, it applies to an IA person, that you need to give your mind your subconscious time to go over a problem.

Marcus Lillington:
So should only work half days.

Paul Boag:
So well – no.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes?

Paul Boag:
Yes. That’s really, but I’m saying that’s potentially a downside of agile.

Marcus Lillington:
Who did I see talking about that at some conference?

Paul Boag:
Probably someone wise like me.

Marcus Lillington:
It wasn’t you.

Paul Boag:
Kenneth, it sounds like a Kenneth.

Marcus Lillington:
No, no. It’s definitely female an oriental lady and I can never remember her name. She talked about designee stuff.

Paul Boag:
Cindy Lee?

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
No?

Marcus Lillington:
Anyway, she was basically saying that she likes to work half days.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Work through the morning on tasks and whatever – she was a designer and then she spend the afternoon doing whatever but allowing her mind to process what she has been working on.

Paul Boag:
I think that is totally right – I mean going in half days I think maybe was a little bit over the top.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s a great idea.

Paul Boag:
Well that is a wonderful idea. But I think …

Marcus Lillington:
You can’t do the garden whilst mulling over your work decisions.

Paul Boag:
I mean Dave – for me Dave, I’m sorry, I mean I’m a happy Paul today.

Marcus Lillington:
Happy Paul?

Paul Boag:
So I won’t call him what was scum.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I don’t think you should, no. Even though you kind of implied that maybe you, but that’s what you were thinking by saying that’s not what I’m going to say.

Paul Boag:
Sorry, Dave I apologize. Notice I’ve only started using people’s first name.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh no, it’s another Dave I was talking about.

Paul Boag:
Where I think Dave’s argument falls down is that any job has to work within – operates within the certain framework. You couldn’t say to a plumber well you don’t need tools to be a plumber; I am paying you to plumb. I’m not paying you for tools, right. In the same way with a creative person one of their tools is time to think and space to be creative. So you’ve kind of go accept that’s a part of the process and it can’t be skipped over and maybe agile doesn’t seem that very well. So I think that’s one aspect.

Marcus Lillington:
Because, I mean, why though? Because you have people going – have you done that yet? We need this bit to make a difference happen.

Paul Boag:
It’s very rapid and it’s that combination of that not time to think and that time to see the bigger picture. And I don’t even think it’s a role problem necessary. It’s a personality problem, right. Because I often encountered this, because I’m a very fast thinker, so I will come to conclusions about ideas very, very rapidly. And then those I often feel frustrated by those around me because they need time to go away and think about it and that drives me nuts. But actually I’ve learned that’s completely understandable, it’s just a different character type and they will come back with probably a much more considered opinion than me. So I think it’s a personality type. Some people may not suit agile as well as others because of that.

What else we’ve got? What other things have been written here? Interestingly Dave also says although he challenged that particular point, he says he doesn’t agree with the house. He doesn’t think that design should adopt the same process as development. I don’t think development should adopt the same processes as design. I think they should adopt the right process that works for them as a cohesive team. So yeah, I think the house implies that designers just have to follow behind developers, which is probably bad wording on my part. It’s more that I think developers and designers need to work in the same way whatever that is. It would be interesting that with Mark – Dave agrees with that idea or not. He sounds like he does, because he talks about a cohesive team, doesn’t he? And you can’t be a cohesive team if you’re using different approaches.

Mark says putting every function into the company into the same set of sprints is anything but agile. Lean principles apply in different ways to different functions, and to different companies. Create your own lean development process and develop a smooth flow interface with engineering. So he’s arguing that actually perhaps designers don’t need to use the same process as developers as long as there is a nice flow between the two parties, which I think is a fair comment, if you can get that right. I’m just not convinced.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I mean as always that – there are many different ways of describing… Start again. Agile is something that’s been kind of logged and described as, this is how agile works. But I kind of think is that a team should work out what how – they need to talk to each other…

Paul Boag:
It shouldn’t necessarily be agile with a capital A.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly. Yes, sorry I was struggling to find the words there, but that’s exactly right.

Paul Boag:
Yes. I think that’s the trouble with any of these methodologies. Even like I’m a big getting things done fan. You still have to adapt them for you? Whatever they are and I think the minute you become a fanatic, who starts saying you can’t do it that way, because that’s not the way, it’s not the methodology way. I think that’s where you start coming a cropper and you get real problems.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Because everybody’s different and everybody works in a slightly different way.

Marcus Lillington:
But going back to what I was saying, I think the idea of getting the team together for a week say or for two weeks, to work on something together, I think that should include the developer and the designer together is a good thing.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Absolutely agree. Even if the designer has done some work beforehand or the developer has to go on afterwards, it’s that working together in short kind of quick bursts.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly. So that’s why I agree with the house.

Paul Boag:
Tad says something quite interesting. He thinks that agile is good for designers, but he thinks they – the thought – it should be thought of separately to the developer’s and like a layer on top of the developer sprints so that they don’t – they’re not necessarily in sync with one another and I quite like that idea.

Marcus Lillington:
Isn’t that on waterfall though, its – the designer does something that they pass to the developer.

Paul Boag:
No, I think – yes, I see what you mean. It’s kind of halfway in between. I think you’ve got – it essentially goes by the way I’m interpreting what Tad is saying is, is it goes back to what I’m saying a minute ago that essentially maybe the designers as a bit prep up front and then they sit down and work together.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, which is fine.

Paul Boag:
Is there any – let’s see if we can find somebody that really disagree.

Marcus Lillington:
The first one, we have done the best one. It’s just trendy. That’s all it is.

Paul Boag:
It’s just a trend. It will pass.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
People will grow up. Okay, there is one Mikey that I wanted to mention is a kind of a wrap up one. Do you want to read Mikey, because I like Mikey.

Marcus Lillington:
Hi Mikey.

Paul Boag:
Hi. You just like his name. Any name with E on the end, it just sounds friendly.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay, Pauley.

Paul Boag:
Yes, you sound like …

Marcus Lillington:
Pauley.

Paul Boag:
A children – you’ve kind of gone New York. I was thinking kind of children’s TV presenter Johnny and Mikey.

Marcus Lillington:
No, you can’t do it to me.

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
Marcusy.

Paul Boag:
Marcusy.

Marcus Lillington:
Or could be Markey.

Paul Boag:
Markey, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Anyway, what does Mikey say, I like working as a designer in an agile shop, when the product and tasks are already well defined and incremental, it keeps me busy and engaged. But I think the process would go much better had I a strategic design partner outside the agile workflow who had more time to look at the big picture.

Paul Boag:
Interesting.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. That’s what we’re proposing.

Paul Boag:
That’s what – yes, which is really interesting. This project we’ve got coming. So I’ll take the role of I will be looking at the bigger picture of the information architecture of the – all of those kinds of questions and then there will be a designer that’s kind of in the guts of the thing. So that will be interesting if that works, very, very useful. It’s a fascinating subject and it’s something that we’re edging towards agile and I know that lot of people listening to think – will be thinking Headscape are so behind the times, because agile is very much in at the moment.

Marcus Lillington:
Is it for designers though? I think that’s why you bought this up?

Paul Boag:
Yes, not so much for designers.

Marcus Lillington:
And we are – although we do development work, but it’s probably…

Paul Boag:
We are design-driven.

Marcus Lillington:
25% of our – we never do tech only projects ever.

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
So, yes.

Paul Boag:
So that’s why we’re slow.

Marcus Lillington:
I am still not convinced …

Paul Boag:
What?

Marcus Lillington:
… it’s entirely appropriate.

Paul Boag:
No, I mean after all it is just trendy and jumping on the bandwagon. So there we go.

Marcus Lillington:
I think we’ll end up with our version of agile with a little a – or hagile with an H.

Paul Boag:
Well, lean principles. I think that’s a big part. For me the bits that I like out of agile if I’m honest is the scrap all the endless documentation that takes so bloody long, right. And then by the time you have written half the documentation of – this is exactly what we are going to do, inevitably changes anyway so what’s the point? And secondly to try and work as a group, with everyone sitting in the room, client included, pushing the project forward in that kind of flexible way. It’s about flexibility and speed.

Marcus Lillington:
We’re doing that tomorrow on a particular project obviously we haven’t been doing it from the start. But we’re working as a group all day with the client …

Paul Boag:
Excellent.

Marcus Lillington:
… in the meeting room downstairs.

Paul Boag:
That will be brilliant.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Yes, we’ve done it before.

Marcus Lillington:
And you know that you get loads done, which is why fundamentally I agree.

Paul Boag:
We agree with the spirit of the house rather than necessarily the letter of the house.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Or otherwise worded as “it depends”.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. As always.

Paul Boag:
Let’s move on.

Has the static design mockup had its day?

This house proposes that static design comps are an irrelevance in a world of responsive and interactive design.

Have your say

I’m really going to – I’m really interested in how you respond to this one Mr. salesperson or account manager.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. How do you think I’m going to respond?

Paul Boag:
Well, this house proposes that static design comps are an irrelevance in the world of responsive and interactive design. I’m expecting you to come in and say, no, clients still want to see design comps; they’re a valuable part of the process.

Marcus Lillington:
The statement is correct, the reasons aren’t. I don’t think it’s necessarily because clients need to see them, but everybody needs. I think they are useful.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
I think doing design comps particularly for someone who is not the best coder – front-end coder in the world, but still a great designer like Leigh for example. It’s probably easier for him, I don’t know I’m putting words in his mouth, to do flat design comps in association with …

Paul Boag:
A wireframe.

Marcus Lillington:
… with wireframes showing how the functionality is going to work. I’ve got no problem with flat designs and I’ve equally got no problem with not doing them.

Paul Boag:
Right. Well you’re no good then. You’re not going to be an argumentative partner in this.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, I am. Because this I’ve seen this before it’s almost militant that …

Paul Boag:
Yes, it always goes back to what we were saying earlier about the methodologies where it’s you must do it this way.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, it’s like if you’re a proper designer then you don’t do bloody flat comps that’s what print designers do. I say bollocks to that.

Paul Boag:
Right. Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay?

Paul Boag:
So it’s the militancy of this that you disagree with?

Marcus Lillington:
Correct.

Paul Boag:
Right. Well, you’re right. It all depends. But – the first, the best comment on this is somebody who agrees with the statement. He says I think Josh Brewer sang it best, right.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh do I need to plug-in?

Paul Boag:
So, no you don’t, because – but this kind of piqued my interest. I know Josh and he used to work at Twitter, I think he has moved on from there now. But he is like Josh did this presentation and I remember it rang a bell in my head, and him going, yeah, I did something really strange and I sang in a presentation, right. So this kind of interested me. So I clicked on the link, and I will put a link in the show notes. And he did his entire 40 minute presentation as a song. He is kind of just strumming along and making stuff up as he goes along again with his slides and all of the rest of it. I have to say after a while it got annoying, but it was a real fresh air, it was so different, it was brilliant. So you definitely need to check that out and he was – basically he was saying, the whole presentation is Photoshop lies and about how it’s kind of setting up all of these expectations with a client. So immediately it’s fixed width, immediate it’s the idealistic view of it, the text doesn’t render the same as it does in a browser. You can’t resize, you can’t show interactive elements, you can’t – it gives no sense of what the actual website is going to be like, different browsers or any of that.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, that’s all perfectly …

Paul Boag:
It’s all lying.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s all lying.

Paul Boag:
It’s all lies. When we present a static comp, I’m playing devil’s advocate here obviously. I don’t …

Marcus Lillington:
I think you are, Paul.

Paul Boag:
… but just I’m defending the house, right. When you present a static comp to a client, you’re lying to them.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, don’t care. It depends what you – well, I don’t care because it’s very tiny little white lies mostly. If you’re taking that literally …

Paul Boag:
It’s giving them a presentation or a sense of where it’s going.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly. We are asking – we nearly always asking clients to sign off a design before you finished doing all of the elements of the design. So they have to take a leap on that anyway. So what does it matter if the typography isn’t exactly the same.

Paul Boag:
But isn’t it – yes, and…

Marcus Lillington:
…between browsers.

Paul Boag:
Yes and I accept that. That’s fair enough, but if the one cardinal rule for me when it comes to dealing with clients is to show and not tell, right.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So when you start getting into a world of expandable and collapsible bits, when you start getting into a world of responsive design, you want to show them that. So aren’t we kind of better skipping the whole of this created in a Photoshop design comp and getting into the browser and doing it in the browser. Now I accept what you’re saying about some designers aren’t, take for Leigh for example, I’m not saying he produces the final code, I’m just saying he could throw something together very quick and nasty, it would only work in one browser, it would look awful and …

Marcus Lillington:
And often we do that alongside flat comps.

Paul Boag:
Yes and I’m saying the flat comp is unnecessary in that situation. And I’m saying that to designers who don’t code. This is exactly why you need to code.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve said what I think.

Paul Boag:
Well go on then let’s have a look at some people that disagree, because actually I was quite shocked at this, a lot of people disagreed with the house over this one. So the majority were on your side here, because for me there is Alistair. I’m going to keep doing the agree for a minute, while you look through the disagrees. Alistair said something else as well; that he’s ditched static design comps in favor of Styletiles, which again is something we use.

Marcus Lillington:
We used those before.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So I’m thinking between the combination of mood boards, Styletiles that actually are designing up individual elements, wireframes prototypes, all those other things, I think the design comp – I don’t, I’m arguing that the design comp is unnecessary now and it isn’t – I’m not saying it’s never got its place, if I’m being honest, I think there are occasions with some clients where it’s appropriate; I think it’s becoming less relevant and less wanted.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. As I said I don’t disagree, sorry my wife’s Skyping me currently.

Paul Boag:
Tell her to go away.

Marcus Lillington:
I did.

Paul Boag:
Okay. I hope you said it nicer than that.

Marcus Lillington:
I did. Seeing as it’s our wedding anniversary.

Paul Boag:
It would be best.

Marcus Lillington:
I said at the start, I don’t disagree – hang on a minute, I’m fine with either approach.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s what I’m saying, which isn’t sitting on the fence, it’s not.

Paul Boag:
I am leaning much to more towards design, for example this upcoming agile project we’re doing, I would quite happily skip out the design comps just to keep the project moving, keep it moving forward. That will be interesting.

Marcus Lillington:
As I say, whichever is the most appropriate, I’ve got to read something …

Paul Boag:
Yes, go on.

Marcus Lillington:
Ben says …

Paul Boag:
Ben?

Marcus Lillington:
And I don’t know – I haven’t read it yet, so it could be rubbish or it could be even …

Paul Boag:
So if you haven’t read it, why have you picked Ben out…

Marcus Lillington:
Because I read the first two and went hmmm.

Paul Boag:
Oh right. You don’t like Eric or Bobby. Eric, Bobby, Marcus thinks you’re not good enough.

Marcus Lillington:
No, that’s not true.

Paul Boag:
I thought your comments were really good, mate.

Marcus Lillington:
Shut up.

Paul Boag:
That’s why I picked you out of all of the comments.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m being random.

Paul Boag:
Actually there is a good point to make here, just sorry to interrupt you.

Marcus Lillington:
He is pointing his finger at me.

Paul Boag:
I’m wagging my finger, which is that the comments that we include on the show are just a fraction of the really good stuff that…

Marcus Lillington:
Thousands and thousands of comments that we get

Paul Boag:
No, they’re not thousands but there’s some really, really good stuff. So it’s definitely worth checking out the show notes and then linking through to the original discussions. Also another thing, people have got this habit of they listen to the podcast and then send me an email saying why they disagree with me, which is fair enough. A lot of you do disagree with me on a regular basis, but don’t send it to me, post it to the comments because then lots of other people will see why I’m wrong, which has got to be better.

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely, just do that.

Paul Boag:
Read Ben.

Marcus Lillington:
Ben: clients expect to approve a design …

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
… and we want that design approved before the site is built to minimize risk and project time.

Paul Boag:
Agreed.

Marcus Lillington:
I think the big problem with moving away from design comps is what do we replace them with?

Paul Boag:
We replace them with mood boards, Styletiles…

Marcus Lillington:
Moodboards? No.

Paul Boag:
Prototypes – no together, as a package.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, fine. But with the final mockup as the thing you sign off.

Paul Boag:
No, see this is where I disagree. I don’t think – I think we make a big mistake getting clients to sign off design comps.

Marcus Lillington:
No, we don’t.

Paul Boag:
If I’m honest…

Marcus Lillington:
No, we don’t. Trust me we don’t.

Paul Boag:
No, we do. We do and I will tell you why, because it becomes a big stumbling block, it becomes this big – we need to get the design looking like that they’re happy with and going in the right direction, by getting them to sign it off then they go ultra picky and that’s where you start going around in these endless cycles. And actually I think – I want to just keep moving things forward, because actually …

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, then you end up making yourself loads more work later on.

Paul Boag:
No, I don’t think you do anymore.

Marcus Lillington:
I think you do.

Paul Boag:
Because I think that later down the line …

Marcus Lillington:
Maybe in Paul’s perfect world.

Paul Boag:
No. I’m being very pragmatic here. One is because you – once they see something that’s interactive and usable, I think that often makes a difference to them. Secondly you can actually test something, so then you’ve got testing evidence to support it.

Marcus Lillington:
You’ve done loads of design testing on flat mockups that has been really useful.

Paul Boag:
Thirdly is that a lot of these things are not that difficult to change in HTML CSS further down the line.

Marcus Lillington:
But some of them are.

Paul Boag:
… yes, but it used to be a big problem and I think it’s essentially legacy that keeps us working with static comps. I think sign off – we need to do this as a separate debate, because I think design sign off is a real waste of time these days and I think it causes more trouble than it’s worth.

Marcus Lillington:
No it doesn’t.

Paul Boag:
And stop throwing things around; you can’t just say no, it doesn’t.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, let’s – no you said we’re going to have a proper debate about it.

Paul Boag:
Yes, perhaps. Should we do this as a debate topic?

Marcus Lillington:
Could do.

Paul Boag:
I think it’s quite a good one.

Marcus Lillington:
But Kev makes a different point.

Paul Boag:
Okay go on then.

Marcus Lillington:
Hi Kev. Is sketching something on paper irrelevant?

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
What about writing down or speaking in words a design intention?

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Improved methods and tools will always come about, and that is good, but whilst the word “design” exists in my job description, I refuse to abandon any tool from those available to me.

Paul Boag:
Yes, he is right.

Marcus Lillington:
Enough said.

Paul Boag:
Yes, you’re right, Kev. There is no reason to remove any particular tool is there?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, well I accept the idea of sometimes a flat mockup can’t get across certain ideas about functionality.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
So therefore you do something else alongside there.

Paul Boag:
Yes. I just would use it less than I’m using it.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, Devolute, I think that’s how you pronounce his or her name. They can be helpful, if increasingly irrelevant.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
There you go.

Paul Boag:
That’s a fair comment. And I like Seth as well. He finishes it up by saying; I think the real key, as mentioned by some others, is communication. If you have proper communication and include the client in the process, static comps still can work.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
And really that’s what all of these tools whether it be wireframes, pen and paper, they’re about communicating the idea to the client and different clients will respond to different things and also to be honest different sites require different tools. If a site doesn’t have a lot of interactivity, if it is not going to be responsive, than a static design comp is perfectly adequate in those situations. So as with everything it depends.

Marcus Lillington:
We can’t finish every single item…

Paul Boag:
Instead of hello and welcome to boagworld.com, the podcast, I’m just going to go Hello and welcome to boagworld.com; it depends. There we go. Go on then, you got us a joke?

Marcus Lillington:
Did I do the one about who led the Jews through the semi-permeable membrane?

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. Well another one from Ian Laskey. Wouldn’t it be great if people had numbers above their heads representing the number of people they slept with?

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
Boys could quickly work out how easy their date was, girls would know if their man was cheating and I’d get a really cool halo. That’s quite funny I thought …

Paul Boag:
Disgraceful. I don’t think we should be making jokes about that kind of thing.

Marcus Lillington:
No? So what’s on next week show, Paul? Only you’ve already done that.

Paul Boag:
Right. Now next week we will be looking at two propositions. This house proposes that larger screen sites learn – need to learn from mobile design and hide navigation in order to remove clutter. So in other words why do we have big navigation on desktop sites, why can’t it all be just hidden under a little icon like we do on a mobile site?

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. That will be interesting.

Paul Boag:
I think we will disagree over that. No, I’m really torn over it. Anyway let’s not get into it. This house – but the other one is, this house proposes that clients should stop paying for licensed proprietary content management solutions and instead embrace open source. So there is no reason to pay for that off the shelf license for the software anymore because open source is rock ‘n’ roll, which led you on to the one that you want to do the following week. The following week number seven is going to be a corker because it will be you’re one about unqualified people shouldn’t use content management systems and the – what was that we just said, we were going to do it on? We were just talking about a minute ago?

Marcus Lillington:
It was to do with sign off.

Paul Boag:
Sign off, yes. We don’t need sign off, Paul. I’m going to write it down. You don’t need to sign off design before build. I’m really dreading putting that on the website. I’m just going to get shouted down by everybody aren’t I? Hey I don’t care; I have lost my credibility long ago. Alright, thank you very much for listening, guys. I really enjoyed doing this show and we will talk to you again next week. Good bye.

Marcus Lillington:
Bye.

“Palette and tablet pen” image courtesy of Bigstock.com

Our sincere thanks to the guys at [PodsInPrint](http://www.podsinprint.com) for transcribing this show.

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