When does your role end as a Designer?
Let me know if you can relate these things…We are always excited when a project kicks off, we start anticipating the design tasks, we plan and strategize activities and we dive into the pool of work to be done to make an amazing product. We are Designers!!! We design amazing experiences, right?
We always see LinkedIn and Medium posts about how to design better, research better, take better approach, what’s right and what’s wrong in our process. There are a few things that most of us don’t talk about, like Dev Support. It might not be our primary task but it’s important as it’s the stage where the product is getting its shape. Let’s see how.
Let’s say, you work in an Enterprise, you deal with various type of teams and your project jump rate is quite high. So, recently you were involved in a design project, you got the brief, you started the process, your research was good, long brainstorming sessions, countless iterations, hard deadlines, N+1 meetings, basically you worked your ahmm-off. The day comes when the client finally approves all the designs, and you take a deep breath. Your boss appreciates your efforts and now it’s that time.
In real world, where enterprises deal with different type of MVPs, POCs, Short term projects, different type of design work, many parameters are unambiguous. There might be a time (they call it urgent scenarios) where some decisions might have been taken at the dev stage without you. Yes, it doesn’t digest well, does it? The hard truth is, even developers and PMs might change the designs at the 11th hour to suffice a new feature request without research or data. This small change of design can lead to ugly repercussions in terms of product quality and UX.
What can we do?
1) Identify the product owner of your project and make sure both are on the same page throughout the product life cycle. It sounds simple but it isn’t.
2) Make sure you are aligned with the scope and features needed for the decided time frame. Product requirement documentation might help. If needed check the feature Prioritization Formula: Priority=(Value/Effort) x Confidence %.
3) Do your homework about basics like responsiveness, scalability, accessibility, etc. Asks questions at the earliest stage possible. More questions at the early stages, lesser changes in design. (one can hope)
4) Make sure your team (Design, PM and Dev) are “always” aligned with your design decisions. It’s important they know why and how each feature is shaping out. Daily Sync-ups might help.
5) Make sure your communication with dev. team is timely managed and moderated by Product Owner. Prefer Audio/Video Meetings.
6) If possible, involve yourself till the end of the product lifecycle. It’s important!! Although your major design activities are done, you would still need to monitor post development screens and UAT results. After all, testing and feedback is the way we improve our product, right?
7) Persuasion. It might be needed when decisions are made without data, assumptions, suggestions or just someone’s gut feeling. Use it, it’s important. (ha-ha gut feeling, I’m still laughing)
We are still spreading awareness of sensitive topics like accessibility to our groups. We now have a long way to spread awareness about the impact of bad design decisions across the different domains we work with every day.
To summarize, you know you put a lot of effort into the design stage but do put efforts in post design stages as well else your design efforts are wasted.