What’s gonna happen when the design is done?
As designers, we are used to care about the quality of our designs. We want to create great, useful and usable products, so that’s what we design for. If we’re UXers, we even evaluate our designs to make sure they actually solve the user’s problem.
But one step we often forget is the very next one: the step after we’re done designing, and some person, usually a developer of some kind, will now have to deal with what we created. To bring ideas to life, developers are key. Otherwise, we just created pretty pictures. But how do we make sure our designs really see the light of day, ideally looking and working like they should?
When managing projects, I was often unhappy to see great designs failing to be implemented correctly, or at all. Screen designs, how ever well-designed, aren’t usually self-explanatory enough for a developer to fill them with life. So we at interfacewerk had to create a better process to ensure our hard design work actually resulted in better software. That’s when our designers started caring more and more about requirements engineering, to the point where we were in control of the coding tasks, including their definition of done. We integrated that into many of our projects now, where (if we don’t code ourselves) we accompany the implementation of our work in the usual sprint cycle, working with the developers inside the ticket system they love to use.
As a designer, you might say “I’m not a product owner, what do I care about coding tasks?”. I’d respond, that as a designer, your job is to bring to life real solutions to real problems. And to do that, you have to also work on the bring to life part. As a designer, you’re always a product owner in the sense that you should own the product, own the end result of your work, not just the pretty picture.
We’re working with this new process for eight months now. So far, it’s working splendidly! I’ll keep you updated here once our continuously improving process has reached the next level. Until then, I welcome your thoughts and experiences regarding that!