Red Hat Fuse Online is a low-code, browser-based platform that enables business users to create integrations without having to write code.

A central goal of Fuse Online is ease-of-use, and we needed to take a design-driven approach to reach that goal. Red Hat UXD was brought in at the beginning of the Fuse project. As the project evolved, so did our team. Here are a few things we learned along the way.

Diverse skills make for a stronger team

UXD focuses on design, UI development, and content strategy. When we started the Fuse project, the “team” was a single interaction designer. Over time, we grew to include all three disciplines working together on the user experience.

Design

Designers SJ Cox and Dogni Wang contribute foundational UX research, persona development, user flows, and wireframes, and work iteratively with product management and the broader Fuse team to design and build the user experience. All design work happens in the upstream community, making it possible for everyone to provide feedback.

UI Development

Our UXD front-end developers, Michael Spaxman and Michael Coker, write Javascript, HTML, and CSS code, contributing to the same code base in the same Git repo as the rest of the engineering team. By focusing on implementing user experience designs and making those designs "real," they free up the rest of the Fuse Online engineering team to focus on API and backend content.

Content Strategy

We also work closely and collaboratively with our technical writer, Tova Cohen, who develops documentation for the product. Because she documents the entire experience, she sees the big picture and provides perspective on everything from the words we use in the interface to the interaction patterns we suggest to ensure we’re providing a seamless experience from the UI to the documentation and back again.

Working in the open means staying organized

The Fuse project team has a lot of channels of communication, from Slack to IRC to GitHub.

We participate actively in the team scrums and work in all of the same channels, repos, and projects. Our aim is to work in the open so that the team and the open source community have visibility into our work and can provide feedback.

With so many channels, communication can be fragmented. We needed a better way to stay organized and open, so we started organizing all of our design work into a centralized design tracker. Since it’s completely public, it’s a resource anyone can use to see designs and design revisions for the project at any given time. Having a central repository for digital assets has made a big difference for the UXD team and the extended team, keeping everyone aware of whether a design is in progress, needs review, or is finished, and making it easy to find and comment on designs.

Communication and trust go hand-in-hand

We put a lot of energy into making sure we’re communicating and staying in sync with our team, and it’s been worth it 100% of the time. Transparency and openness make it easier for the extended team to understand the work that’s gone into a given decision or design, which also makes it easier for them to trust that the solutions we’re suggesting are well thought out and vetted. When there is trust between the team, everyone is able to move much faster and collaborate more effectively.

Overall, we’ve had an incredible experience working with the entire Fuse team, from product management to engineering and everyone in between. We’re so happy to share in the excitement around the release of Red Hat Fuse 7. Learn more about Red Hat Fuse 7 and see what all the buzz is about.

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