Remote Collaboration Keeps Lollypop’s UX Design Business Growing During COVID-19
Collaborative tools like Adobe XD’s new Coediting feature help the award-winning UX and UI design studio deliver cutting-edge work even while its team is working remotely.
For some design companies, the COVID-19 restrictions have been a cue to explore new ways of collaborating online – and a reminder that we should consider the needs of others in everything we do. But for other companies, life during lockdown has simply been an affirmation of the way in which they already work. Lollypop is one such firm.
For seven years, the award-winning India-based UX and UI studio has practiced a philosophy of human-centered design with a portfolio of clients ranging from fintech firms to fitness apps. With a growing team of 150 people spread across 12 offices worldwide, Lollypop was already well aware of the power of tools like Adobe XD to enable its designers to collaborate remotely.
Lollypop’s most recent showreel. The UX and UI design studio creates interfaces for a range of websites, apps and wearable devices, for clients ranging from startups to corporations.
UX and UI design from start-ups to Stanford
“Lollypop’s motto is also our process: discover, define, design and refine,” said Rajeshwari Keluskar, a UX designer in the firm’s Mumbai studio. “There is no change [to this], despite the pandemic. All you need to succeed in such times of crisis is a set of committed teammates with [the] conviction to deliver good digital experiences.”
Lollypop has been putting its process into practice since 2013, when founder and Design Director Anil Reddy relocated to Bengaluru (Bangalore) after nearly a decade working in New Zealand, including a period as art director at TBWA\TEQUILA. Established with a mission to “put India on the world map as a digital design destination,” the studio quickly notched up jobs for international clients ranging from the U.S.’s Stanford University to Nepalese fintech firm IME Digital Solution.
Now owned by California-based IT services company Terralogic, Lollypop employs over 150 people worldwide, with offices in India, the U.S., UAE and Vietnam, working on interface designs for websites, mobile apps, and wearable computing.
Lollypop works with a range of clients across industries, including tech start-ups and consumer services – one of its recent clients is a sports platform called Cricket.com. Our key goal is “humanizing enterprise applications with design,” in industries like healthcare, business services, and agriculture, such as its Red Dot Award-winning work on sustainable farming app FarmRise.
Lollypop’s award-winning UX work for FarmRise. Designed to work with low-speed internet connections, the Climate Corporation’s app provides Indian farmers with information on maximizing crop yields.
Discover, define, design, and refine
Lollypop’s four-step process begins with discovery: an exploration of its clients’ vision and goals. “We not only deliver designs, but develop a bond,” said Rajeshwari. “We talk about the market, [the client’s] experience, [their] own stories, and we start crafting designs accordingly.”
To define the structure of an interface, the studio draws on research data to establish the user’s desired journey through the information available, identifying performance indicators for the project.
Finally, Lollypop creates and refines its design, a process it describes as “bringing emotions to logic,” using insights from cognitive science to develop a product that is appealing as well as usable, refining the interface through a series of wireframes, visual designs, and working prototypes.
Interface designs created for Cricket.com’s sports analysis app. Lollypop used to use Sketch for UI design and wireframing, but has now switched to Adobe XD.
Switching from Sketch to XD
Although Lollypop previously used Sketch for design work, it later switched to XD, Adobe’s cross-platform collaborative UI and UX development tool, to reduce the number of additional plugins and third-party applications required in its pipeline.
“With Sketch, we were obliged to buy a third-party tool for the handoffs to the developers, InVision to make the click-through prototype, and Principle for microinteractions,” says Rajeshwari. “There were so many subscriptions and subsequent fees to be paid. XD is a one-stop app, from wireframes all the way to handing off to the developers. The pricing is so reasonable for all it has to offer.”
Lollypop now makes use of XD throughout its design process: for ideation, visualizing user flows, wireframing, testing, and presentation. Rajeshwari praises its time-saving features, including preset UI elements for iOS and Android apps and layout grids for formatting responsive designs, along with its ability to generate style guides and frontend code, and the ease with which screens can be shared and annotated by the team.
But the “cherry on the top” was XD’s new Coediting feature, which enables multiple designers to collaborate on a project in real time: something that would help Lollypop to maintain a smooth workflow during the COVID-19 restrictions, with its team members needing to work from home.
XD’s new coediting feature enables multiple designers to collaborate on the same document in real time, facilitating collaboration even when team members are working remotely.
Coediting keeps Lollypop collaborating during COVID-19
Rajeshwari admits that at first, Lollypop had its doubts about Coediting. “Even though we knew that simultaneous editing was the optimal solution to most design collaboration problems, we were still hesitant,” she said. “We were worried about what happens if someone loses work because of system overhauling, or if one of the team unknowingly overwrites someone else’s work.
“In spite of this, we gave Coediting a try, and to our surprise, it was mind-boggling!” she continued. “We are able to see when other team members are working on the document, and which artboards and objects they are currently editing. It’s basically Google Docs for user experience design – just what we needed for remote working.”
Lollypop’s DNA Paris Award-winning UX design work for sports technology platform RunAdam. Collaborative tools like XD help the studio to deliver similar high-profile projects even during lockdown.
Forging a collaborative future for UX design
Although some aspects of studio culture are inevitably impossible to recapture digitally, collaborative tools like Adobe XD have enabled Lollypop to continue to deliver cutting-edge designs to clients worldwide throughout lockdown – and in doing so, to develop new ways of working for when restrictions eventually ease.
“We’ve realized that you don’t need a physical office to keep up your office hours,” said Rajeshwari. “We’re missing being able to meet up for quick brainstorming sessions or reviews, [but] with virtual tools like XD, we are still managing to collaborate promptly and easily.”
Lollypop says that switching to XD has reduced the length of project review cycles and plugged gaps in internal communications, saving the studio time and money. As well as the software itself, Keluskar praises Adobe’s XD community, “a full house of design pros who every weekday work on a UI/UX project in real time, share their best practices and talk about industry trends.”
“Adobe isn’t just talking the talk: it’s walking the walk,” she concluded. “We’d like to thank Adobe not just for creating such great tools, but for taking action to help customers like us and creating this community to [help everyone] stay connected and creative. Factors affecting our work settings and daily lives may be beyond our control at the moment, but we can adapt and improve the way we work together, while keeping our teams safe and healthy.”
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