HipChat makes me happy. There are many aspects to HipChat that make it essential to any process. Once you’ve used it, it’s hard to adopt another avenue of communication. I’ve had the pleasure of being a user since it was obtained by Atlassian, so I’ve been able to watch it grow.
From the beginning (well, the beginning of its time with Atlassian) HipChat added a perspective of communication that had never been performed as appropriately before by any other communication client. It's a holistic approach to the idea that everyone you need with you is always there whether they’re in the office or estranged somewhere in Maine.
There are many aspects to the role of a UX professional. One of the main things one needs to master from a UX perspective is communication. Without serious communication (I’d say in almost any position — but for this purpose: UX) projects lose quality, lose focus, lose reliability, push deadlines, or fail altogether. HipChat has been key to mitigating these perils.
There may or may not be a lot of people on a UX team, but either way, HipChat allows members to become a part of what others are working on. Whether it's sharing code samples, asking questions, sending files, showing off screenshots or telling everyone you’re going to be late, HipChat is there. One of the more powerful features is the ability to video conference and share your screen. This gives you the ability to be right there with everyone even when you’re not. Many times I find myself and a colleague working through the day with video chat on. It's like they're just sitting across from you and you can ask questions or bug them whenever you like.
Product Owner Communication
The best insight you can get on your project tasks is directly from the source. When you have tasks with many ways to be done, your team may fail at helping you get it right. Get it right the first time by talking directly to your Product Owner from the client side or someone who is deeply invested in the success of your project. If you don’t want to give a client an account on your HipChat instance, add guest abilities to a room and invite others to join.
Running into concepts or technology that you’re not familiar with is just a daily part of a UX professional’s job. Soliciting help from someone with another expertise can be a lot quicker and more successful than Googling “How to X".
Company Culture Communication
Finally, UX people are essential to company culture. They impose colorful insight on how everyone gets along. Using full company rooms and various 1-on-1 chats, a UX professional can help with every aspect of company culture: from helping office managers with “Holiday Toy Drive” fliers, to providing imagery for colleagues' blog posts, to trolling the company fun chat room — whatever you may call it. (That might just be me.)
HipChat is truly a one-of-a-kind collaboration client that makes sure you are always available for your peeps. Speaking as a usability expert, the way HipChat pulls everything together in a simple, easy-to-use interface makes it a powerful communication tool for any company.
I’ve mentioned some features of HipChat, but there are many more that enable a UX professional to work efficiently. Coming up in the next part of this series, I’ve asked the Director of User Experience and Design — David Wierbiki — to provide some detailed insights into some of the features and aspects of HipChat that ease the effort of communication for the UX individual. Finally, I'll conclude this series with some customization aspects of HipChat that make UX people giddy.