The handoff of UX designs to the development team should not be the last time you see your design before deployment.
Most UX and product designers know the pain I am talking about here.
You work hard on your research, crafting personas, journey maps, user flows and wireframes. You carefully work with client, product and development teams to discuss and dissect each interaction, micro-interaction, intent and outcome. Your team delivers a beautiful UI design with the perfect motion for each component.
Finally, after all of this hard work, the complete feature or app design is ready and you hand everything off to the dev team only to never really see your design again, and if you do, you don't get to see it in all of its imagined states of being...but you browse around anyway with the limited access you have. Then the gut wrenching moment comes when you see how something wasn't implemented the way you designed it, but you don't know why. You notice new interactions that could have been modeled after another interaction in the system, but you don't know why it wasn't. You start to see inconsistencies, small and big misses alike, font differences, maybe an H1 too many, color contrast issues, missing heuristics, and you begin to realize you can't showcase this app in your portfolio. But beyond that disappointment, you realize that no one cared for and maintained your UX/UI designs in your absence. The handoff of UX designs to the development team should not be the last time you see your design before deployment. But that's exactly the way it goes a lot of the time.
WHY IS IT LIKE THIS?
- New requirements come up, but the UX/UI designer is no longer on the project so developers do the best they can.
- A senior UX/UI person lays the foundation and then less experienced designers take ownership and do not understand some of the long-term impact of design decisions (but this is not their fault, they don't know what they haven't learned yet).
- The project is huge and there isn't a single team responsible for the design system, so it gets out of date and duplicate components are created.
- The design and development teams aren't working in sync to produce components in a design system that sync up to a UI system, like Storybook, to maintain consistency.
- Designers aren't invited to test the application pre-deployment (we do this in Amplify) so they can see the outcome of their designs and use them with real data, and then make design updates, as needed.
- Designers aren't considered part of the QA team, so they don't get to click through and compare design to dev pixel by pixel before deployment.
- The budget only allowed for 6-weeks of UX to develop a product that takes 6-months to build and there is not a design person around to ask questions to or validate how the designs are being implemented.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Include UX as part of the product team from start to deployment.
- Give the UX team access to the staging or demo environments so they can test before launch.
- Make sure user testing accounts cover all access roles so designers can test conditional states based on their role.