Designing for remote collaboration

As we are often on teams that are not co-located, our product team had first hand experience with the communication challenges involved in synchronous or even asynchronous remote collaboration. We wanted a way to share what we were working on and feel like we were in the same space as each other (even if that just meant headspace).


Designing in a vacuum is challenging and can be debilitating for a creative person. Additionally, using open workflows often requires project teams to work in distributed environments, adding an extra barrier to collaboration. The Bocoup design team struggled to find a way to feel connected while we were designing in three different time zones. There was no wall to pin our in-progress sketches, no shared whiteboarding and, no way to look over a fellow designer’s shoulder to gain inspiration.


Being a social and workflow problem, we prototyped a few solutions asynchronously. This was just as much a problem about how we work together as it was about what tech stack we chose to work with. We discovered that dedicating a few hours of time to pair design using The Pomodoro Technique, enabled product team members to feel like they were more connected to their colleagues. Ultimately this was translated into a Slack bot (because the majority of our teams communicate there).


Teams can effectively “co-work” while they are in distributed locations and designers and developers can use the documentation from this project to create their own bots. Additionally, since we designed and implemented the Slack bot as a reference implementation of Chatter, a collection of building blocks for creating interactive chat bots, designers and developers can leverage this work to build bots of their own.

Read more about Pombot on NewCo Shift.

A way to work with your team no matter where they are in the world, using a friendly Slack bot.

Doug Belshaw, NewCo Shift
pombot website

You can add the bot to Slack directly from the website

screenshot of the slack chat

The entire team joins in on the fun at the beginning of a "pom" in PomBot

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