As designers who also deal directly with clients we have a combination of work that requires us to concentrate (like design and coding work) for a couple of hours or a few hours at a time) and work that needs to be done regularly, like responding to emails and managing our colleagues on projects where we are working together as a team.

Why we use the design bubble

Our designers are also project managers and communicate directly with our clients – which is great as it means we can give a better result and understand our clients’ needs more.

Usually each designer is responsible for 5-11 “live projects”. In addition there are clients who come to us for maintenance work – so we can make updates to their existing sites. Sometimes the designer passes that on to one of the other team but he/she is still the main point of contact.

We need to keep on top of our emails and speak on the phone to clients, and we need to communicate with each other and our suppliers about projects.

However, our designers also need concentrated time to be able to focus on the research, image sourcing, layout and design of the look and feel and inner pages for each website. It’s on these occasions where we need the “Design Bubble”.

How the design bubble works

  1. One of the team needs to work on design work uninterrupted for 2-3 hours. So, he or she tells everyone else “I am going into the design bubble!”
  2. Then they put their “Out of office on” in their email, put their headphones on
  3. The Out of Office tells clients that they are otherwise engaged, and if the phone rings for them, one of the other team will take the call and take a message for them. So this means they can work uninterrupted and create their amazing designs!

The same applies for our coders as they too need to concentrate when they code and test our websites.

When we moved to new offices, we even made one of the small rooms into a design bubble and this is where team members can physically take themselves and work on a computer in that room so they really are alone. But most of the time, the headphones/out of office works just fine and people stay in their main desks!

So, that’s the story of the design bubble. It’s a system that anyone can use – and if you do we would love to hear about it (comment below or send us a tweet @topleftdesign or write on our Facebook wall – https://www.facebook.com/topleftesign)

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