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How to track what happens to design after it’s delivered?

It’s important to keep a tab on how design is performing post-handover.

Duration

There is no specific time that is required to track designs after delivery, it’s an ongoing process.

Complexity

Advanced

Contributors

Design manager, Design lead, Product manager, Developer

Suggested Tools 

  • For Design Analytics
    • GoogleAnalytics 

    • SmartLook

    • CrazyEgg 

  • For tracking development & issues
    • Jira


When?

In general, designs are tracked after they are delivered.


Getting Started

To understand how a design is processed after handing over for development, you should know the software development lifecycle. 


Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

The UX Design process is a part of the overall SDLC. Classic process for developing software products is as follows:

 

‘Product Development Lifecycle’ is an incremental approach to building products. Here, the creators first build a basic version of the product called Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The product is incrementally improved based on the feedback received from the market. 


 


Design Handover

  • After completing the design and handing it over to the development team, they code different parts of the product. Each part could be a module, a specific functionality, or feature of the product. 

  • Any issues in the modules or individual functionality of the product are corrected first. These parts are tested separately and then put together as a whole product. Finally, it is tested as a complete product. 

  • When an expected product quality is achieved, the product is released into the market sometimes as beta versions. A beta release is a sample of the final product released for a limited period of time, to understand users’ responses. Learning from the beta version, the product is refined and a final product is released later.


 

 

Designer’s participation during development and further

During the development process, designers need to sync up with the developers for a few reasons:

  1. Feasibility issues: When design cannot be implemented as defined due to tech feasibility problems, the designer needs to modify the design. 

    1. It is best to understand the tech limitation or issue and make a design suggestion accordingly.

    2. Designers often get caught up in defending the design, this is not a useful approach. Finding a workable solution in sync with tech is important here.  

  2. Performance issues: After developing the functionality, there may be some performance issues, which call for design updates.

  3. Usability issues: Usability issues might be identified in the actual build at this stage. This should be avoided by doing usability testing much earlier with the design prototype. However, testing actual interactions and product performance can be done only with a coded build. Such issues should be fixed right away either through design or code, as required.

  4. Details missing or incorrect: Developers might need more details, which might be missing in the design specifications.

    1. Automated Specifications: This situation can be easily avoided by using tools like Zeplin for generating specification.

    2. Having Design System: It’s best to share the Design system with the team with a tool like Zero Height.

  5. Reviews: During development, designers need to participate as reviewers in order to ensure that the design is implemented as per the design. Design reviews can be done periodically.
    E.g. If a team follows sprints, designers need to review the user stories that were developed during that sprint.

    1. With a regular review, any issue or deviation in design can be course corrected immediately.

    2. Developers might not understand the design completely or sometimes tend to deviate due to tech limitations. 

    3. Taking a confrontational approach does not help in this case. Finding the cause of deviation is needed in order to course correct.

  1. Incorporating feedback:
    During development feedback is received through:

    1. testing and stakeholder review

    2. user feedback

    3. usage data from a beta release

The feedback is reviewed with the team and incorporated as required. Since development is already in progress, design is updated for the scoped feedback. 

Building rapport with Developers

Handover is only the first step in the process of bringing the design to life as a real product. Good products are built when design and development teams work in sync. So, designers should have a good rapport with developers.

To build a rapport with developers follow the below principles:

  • Encourage communication

  • Understand and appreciate respective roles

  • Set clear expectations

  • Raise a flag as soon as any issue is identified

  • Share constructive feedback 

  • Focus on making things happen together rather than pointing out mistakes

  • Don't take feedback personally

  • Build design system together rather than creating individual UIs

  • Use tools in design and development process as much as possible

  • Respect different point of views


How to?

During Product Development

To ensure the design is implemented as expected, follow the below steps:

  1. Review: Review build for compliance with design and identify gaps, if any.

  2. Gather: Receive feedback from users, stakeholders, and team members.

  3. Discuss: Discuss the gathered feedback with team members and scope in pointers to be incorporated.

  4. Update: Recommend changes in the design.


After the product release

After the product release, data is gathered from actual product usage and team goes over this data periodically or at certain milestones and reviews it. 

Tracking design after execution could be done in following steps:

  1. Gather data on product usage with different research methods.

  2. Organize chunk the data in logical groups

  3. Analyze: Make sense of the data and find patterns

  4. Identify: Identify problems, gaps, issues by gathering data

  5. Prioritize: Sort the list of problems in order of items having most impact on users 

  6. Share: Share the list with all stakeholders and create a plan to fix the identified issues

  7. Update: Modify the design to rectify the prioritised problems


Do’s & Don'ts

Do’s

Don’ts

1. Stay informed on how the design is progressing.

2. Keep checking if a design change is required.

3. Understand why design might need a change.

4. Discuss design feedback with developers and other team members.

1. Don’t forget your design after the handover.

2. Don’t defend any feedback given on your designs.

3. Don’t dismiss feedback by yourself without discussing it with the team.


References 

Product Life Cycle & Product Development Cycle: Revisited from UX Planet.

Product Development Cycle by ProductPlan.

A Full Guide to a Product Development Process from Jelvix.

Digital Product Development Guide – How to Build Great Products & Boost Team Collaboration from UXPin. 


Other Related Best Practices

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