Parallel Design Overview

Applying a parallel design on your website can help you achieve and generate more ideas all at once. Basically, it involves the creation of interface designs using different design groups simultaneously. It is normally aimed at assessing the various ideas before selecting the best design for an enhanced usability on your site.

Typically, these design groups work individually because they aim at creating maximum variety. There are ways that you can use this type of design, which will help you achieve the best result. The focus remains in the ability to benefit the users. Normally, the design groups are not expected to share their designs with the other groups before they have generated their sketch design ideas. Once they have been executed, the designs will be displayed on the workspace for evaluation.

Parallel Design Overview – Best Practices

When applying the design, you will need to follow a specified procedure or best practices, which will help you achieve the paramount results. You will also need to have an essential document that will assist you generate similar information to the design sets. This will allow the entire work to commence at an equivalent starting point, for uniformity. Here are the best practices to apply:

1. Define The Boundaries/Layout To Display 

You will first off be needed to define the boundaries that will be applied in the parallel design. Such boundaries that you will need to define are like the characteristics of the user, the objective of the system or the task that will be supported by the given design. Every single group of the design is expected to receive similar requirements. This will help to get relatively similar results in the final design.

2. Assign The Prototype

You will then need to allocate the relevant media that will present the design content of the design category. You are advised to apply a prototype that is of a lower level. In addition, you are not supposed to give extra points to complex and super executive models.

3. Allocating The Skills 

Once you have selected the appropriate prototype for the given design groups, you will be needed to allocate the relevant skills for every group. It is recommended that you assign skills that are relatively equivalent to each other.

4. Assigning The Time

You must agree earlier enough the required time that you should assign to design the templates. Also, you should allocate definite time limit. The recommended time split is between 10 to 20 hours in every group. This time is long enough for every activity to be completed in the design categories.

5. Decide The Assessment Criteria

When you have assigned the time that is relevant for every design group, the next thing that you will need to do is to decide on the evaluation measures. You should choose the criteria in which the designs will be evaluated in each group.

6. Approve The The Comparison Time 

Having chosen the criteria for the assessment of the designs, you will then need to allow enough time for the comparison process. Enough time should be allowed for the sake of carrying the fair comparison of the designs that have been produced in every group. The comparison will most often be conducted in the design workshop and every member of the group is expected to contribute.

7. Discussing The Designs 

It is advised to discus every design that is available. The designs will be discussed individually, then the aspects of the combined designs will also be discussed. With the combination, you will be needed to discuss the various design aspects that can be integrated.

8. Settling the Objective

When all is done, it is important to decide on the objective of the entire design. The objective that you choose must reflect on a single design idea that is in relation to the entire effort. This will help you wrap up the entire design process and be sure of reliable results.

The concluding design could be any of the designs that have been combined, or a single design that is able to interchange the paramount attributes with the other designs.

How Beneficial Is Parallel Design?

Having this type of design, many people are able to develop an original design from similar requirements collection. Normally, each designer will work individually and once they are done, they share their ideas with the other members of the group. Once done, the entire team will value every solution that has been approached. Here are some of the benefits of this type of design method:
• Many ideas will be created faster. Since the design groups commence developing the designs from an almost similar condition and time, there will be more production level simultaneously.

• Cost Effective. There would be more work produced at the same time and for that, the cost needed to produce more designs might not be needed.

• Saves on time. Since the designs are produced simultaneously, it will save time as the productivity is boosted. The entire development process will be reduced as most of the approaches are explored simultaneously.

• High quality results. There will be a combination of ideas from each of the groups, for that, there will be a mix of concepts. Normally, the design groups borrow top features from each other and therefore, the quality of the result will be higher.

• The methods used are easy to understand. The techniques that are applied in the groups may be used by users with little or no skills.

• Easy to start. It is easy to develop the techniques as they will need less requirements. You will only need less materials and resources in order to present the designs.


This design method might seem slightly expensive when you begin applying it to your website, this is majorly because it allows you to generate a lot of ideas devoid of executing them. However, it is very cheap when you need to explore the many probable ideas prior to choosing the most appropriate one to use. The process will require several design groups in order to generate the specified concepts all at the same time. It might need you to be keen enough to ensure you apply the appropriate best practices to achieve the best results. All in all, the parallel design will help you exploit the most of the available and appropriate concepts for the sake of improving your website’s design quality.


Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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