Before You Ship

These are the questions our designers ask one another before any user-facing design goes live. Think of this as a checklist, like the ones they use at NASA before a takeoff. It’s a simple tool that helps ensure all designs meet the same requirements, and it’s easily understood by new and seasoned designers.


Why are you building this? What’s the value for the customer? How does this benefit our company? Have we tried this before? What do things look like a year after shipping? Be a reporter: dig for context, ask a lot of questions, see the whole board.

Have you asked for feedback? Show work early and often. Have another teammate look at your design. Reviews and critiques generate an abundance of feedback, but there’s always something you might not have noticed or considered. Everyone has to invite feedback, but we trust you to make the final decision.

Is your design accessible? Can someone navigate the interface with only a keyboard? How’s the contrast between text and background colors? Not everyone has a Retina display or 2020 vision. Think text size, colors, layout, and metadata, as outlined by the WCAG. Read our internal accessibility guide, and address all critical-level concerns.

Has anyone tried using this thing? Watch someone use your design. Document or record what they do. This doesn’t need to be formal usability test — in-house folks are users too — but try to have someone who’s not a designer use what you’ve made.

How will you know it worked? What data needs tracked in order to validate your design? How do you define and measure success? Try to come up with a few concrete, specific metrics — qualitative or quantitive — that you can use to inform future changes.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

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