One of the great things that the digital world has done for designers is that it has made it easier to collaborate on projects. Once upon a time, someone doing creative design work — from customizing electronic components to planning skyscrapers — essentially had three options: work alone, work with a team in person, or slow down a project to allow for long-distance collaboration. Now, however, we have all kinds of cloud computing, file sharing, and design software options that make it easier to efficiently work with others on a single project.
In this article, we’ll cover a few high-profile examples of this sort of collaborative design helping with modern projects and businesses, and then explain how the same concepts can benefit your next WordPress project.
We mentioned planning skyscrapers above, so we’ll follow up with architecture as a strong first example. Designing a building of any sort is an intricate and demanding process, and one that involves far more than sketches and models. Today, a project of this sort might also involve technologies such as 3D renderings and virtual reality testing, not to mention input from project managers, analysts, and builders. The projects simply demand input from people with different fields of expertise. Accordingly, several years back now, Architect Magazine wrote about cloud-based programs, and how they can help architects to “deliver the best projects.” The article discussed how designers are breaking free of the barriers of physical, on-site servers and utilizing cloud computing to activate all aspects of a project at once. This way, there can be input on modeling, project management, rendering, and analysis all at once — even if all of the relevant contributors are spread out in different places.
We also mentioned electrical components above, and they make for a nice contrast with architecture, demonstrating how digital collaboration can improve projects of any size or nature. In this case, the main example is the design and rendering of PCBs, or printed circuit boards. These are the small, chip-like components that make virtually all of our devices work, literally by enabling their internal electrical connections. And their design, which now occurs via increasingly sophisticated software, can be quite complex. To manage this complexity, an Altium article on team collaboration and PCB design explains that there are now “powerful collaborative PCB design tools” that can help teams succeed. By and large, these tools are built to store project files, track changes, and make the whole process visible to any relevant members. This way, different aspects of complicated PCB designs can be worked on at once without the project becoming confused.
It’s important to note also that software projects around the world are now conducted with the benefit of collaborative programs. This isn’t necessarily as complex as it sounds, either. While specific jobs like architectural renderings or PCB designs can require specified collaborative tools, software developers often only need to share files and communicate. So in this case, options as simple as Slack or Microsoft Teams — both designed to enhance workplace communication — can enable better collaboration. Indeed, Microsoft itself makes use of Teams in developing its own software.
In our “Step-by-Step Guide” for beginner web design, the topic of collaboration came up. In that case though, we were discussing how to grow a website, potentially via collaboration with established bloggers. Design collaboration can help you work with others to perfect the initial site build though, in much the same way that it can produce better buildings, PCBs, and software programs.
The simplest way to take advantage of this idea is to use one of the aforementioned office communication programs to put a team together. You can enable all involved to access and edit the WordPress site you’re working on, and share ideas, updates, and so on within the communication platform. You can even divide conversations into categories so that discussions are organized according to their respective topics.
Alternatively, you can also collaborate within WordPress. A few years ago, The Verge reported on collaborative editing for WordPress site builds. Specifically, it was at that time that WordPress announced a plug-in for Google Docs. As The Verge put it, you can use this partnership to “pretend like Google Docs is your CMS,” such that you can write content and make edits in Google Docs that will be ported, in the desired format, to the WordPress site. They still need to be published on the site, but this tool by itself enables a great deal of collaboration. Essentially, you can head up a project but allow as many people as you have on your team to edit in Google, sending you suggestions and completed content along the way.
Through options like these, you can work remotely with other team members to build your next WordPress site. In much the same way as the examples above work, this means you can remotely tap into others’ ideas and expertise for the benefit of your own project, and do so with maximum efficiency.