Ready to handover! How to determine development support?

Design handover is an important link in the product design landing process. It is related to the final landing effect of the product and the final user experience. So in this link, how should the team members collaborate to ensure the realization of the final plan? Design handover can be one of the most critical but frustrating links in the product development process. At this point, the long-term research, design, and re-production work has ended, and your design and high-fidelity prototype are ready for engineers to implement.

Like any other process, the design workflow has its drawbacks. Designers sometimes work in the middle of the discovery and development phase. Therefore, when the design handover occurs, the design background and design intent of the perfect design draft are usually vague to the development team.

In order to ensure that ideas and creative vision are accurately translated into a function or product, it is best for designers to work closely with cross-functional teams throughout the project.

Communication and collaboration with all vertical teams is the key to minimizing risks and errors. Each team member must simultaneously understand the look, feel, and working methods of the feature or product. Easier said than done. Design handover is a collaboration that runs through the entire design process. It requires a lot of time, resources, and iterations to be implemented correctly in order to establish a cross-functional collaboration culture in the team.

Now, let us delve into some of the most common pitfalls during the designer-developer handover, and review some strategies you can use to determine development support at this stage.

1. This is not a handover, this is a collaboration

Handover is a tricky word, it means one-way communication. In the project team, it is often misused as “get rid of”. In our case, it is important because it means stripping off responsibility.

When the design is handed over to the developers, the idea that they are responsible for implementing the product is wrong. As designers, we need to devote ourselves to product development and ensure that there will be no loss or misunderstanding of context and design intent after the handover. This negligence may cause the function or product to fail to fully achieve the intended purpose, which is a nightmare for every designer.

At best, the design and development teams work closely and collaborate closely at every step of the development process. Sometimes, this means frequent creative meetings and the need to sit at the design table with the engineer to provide guidance and feedback on the design concept.

No matter which method you choose, this kind of bilateral collaboration is beneficial to both teams. Designers will better understand the technical details of the product and evaluate which parts of their design can be implemented. On the other hand, the development team can also understand what is being done and what preparations are needed to perform the task correctly.

Although the design and development teams are different, they can be viewed as two sides of the same coin. Both departments have the same ultimate goal: to create a product that serves users as much as possible. Ultimately, the look and feel of a product is as important as its function and performance.

Product development is a team sport. It requires the ability of all experts in a multidisciplinary team to stimulate creativity and continue to move forward. Design-development cooperation is two-way, and should continue after the handover. The two departments need to understand each other’s internal mechanisms in order to establish a healthy work motivation.

Skill

  • Hold a design review meeting during the conception stage. Decide the frequency of meetings with your team. Usually one or two times a week is enough.
  • When working with teammates, encourage sharing ideas and open communication.
  • Identify the tools and software you and your teammates will use when collaborating. Everyone needs information alignment and feel comfortable with the tools they will use.
  • Keep an open mind. Things don’t always go according to plan, restrictions are always waiting around the corner. Be ready to use what you have and make the most of it.
  • Be prepared to compromise-it doesn’t mean negatively. In product development, each team member may output effective opinions in the conversation. Therefore, stubborn opinion will not bring any benefits to the product. When there is a disagreement, make sure you are defending the user and make sure that their experience is not ignored.
  • When it comes to work and collaborative processes-trial and error is the way to go. Try and experiment with different methods and frameworks until you find the one that suits you and your team best.
  • Please don’t fight alone-you need someone to help you.

2. What do the engineers want to see? Meaningful deliverables

When it comes to deliverables and their presentations, a good practice is to think about your audience in advance. Think about who will use the deliverables you are creating and what content is important to them. A common problem for designers is that they spend a lot of time and energy on deliverables that no one in the cross-functional team uses. If you ask yourself “why”, the most direct answer you will get is-because it is useless. So, how do you make it useful?

Let’s take a step back and think about how the design handover meeting works. Usually, the designer will show the final version of the design/prototype and then explain the overall vision, functionality, and design choices. After that, it is the turn of the development team to ask clarifying questions, and sometimes these questions will become a whole set of uncertain factors, such as:

  • Where does this back button jump?
  • What if the user does not have administrator rights? Can they see this option?
  • What if we introduce more menu options in the future? How can we make it compatible in the UI?

Then you understand that the key to useful design deliverables is to cover the entire user/customer experience. But how do we ensure that the design covers everything? To be honest, you may not cover all use cases, especially edge use cases, as long as you figure out the main flow.

The development team is an analytical structure. They rely on information and facts, and it is vital for them to have deliverables without explanation. In order to clearly understand the design philosophy and basic principles behind the design deliverables, it needs to be specific and to the point.

1). End-to-end user story

The first thing you need to figure out is the end-to-end user story or design plan. The scope of end-to-end user stories is broader than Jira’s development stories, which usually target specific functions or small tasks in larger processes. It provides a view of the entire user experience by providing clues to the use cases, edge cases, and step-by-step scenarios that specific user roles follow. This means that UX is included in the early stage of product concept definition and ensures that the features/products in the work enable users to achieve their goals.

2). The Road of Happiness and Unhappiness

Another thing engineers are looking for is the path of happiness and unhappiness. As part of the requirements gathering and IA phase, it is beneficial to plan deliverables at the beginning of the project. The happy path can be used as a checklist to see if all use cases are covered in the design. The unhappy path helps develop product error handling strategies by providing error status and alternative or recovery schedules.

Don’t worry, this does not mean that you need to map every error state in the design, just make sure to accurately locate the critical path that affects the completion of the user’s task.

3). Assets and components

Another important part of the design handover is the asset and component specifications. Now, it can be easily managed through an end-to-end design platform like Figma.

Allows you to use the same tool for asset delivery, wireframing and prototyping. Components and assets are easy to manage, and engineers can download directly from the design file/library.

Don’t forget to list component metrics, padding, size, status, and usage rules so that the development team can clearly explain how to develop them. FigmaTokens is a useful plug-in, it can display the border radius, color, spacing unit, etc., and can dynamically update your design.

4). Prototype and animation

Last but not least, don’t forget the prototype and animation (if any).

Prototypes are very useful when simulating features or behavior after product development. This is also a good way to test your assumptions and design assumptions. A good approach is to base the prototype on the function by making a dynamic process for each function. You can also provide some context about users and their roles, assumptions, and scenarios. In this way, you will ensure that all user use cases are covered and you have answered most of the engineers’ questions in advance.

5). Skills

  • Try not to leave any explanations-provide enough context and clear guidance for the audience using your design deliverables.
  • You can ask your team for feedback on deliverables, find out which ones are most useful, and focus on providing them.
  • Know your product. As a product designer, you sometimes need to hold multiple roles and take care of various responsibilities. The more cross-functional backgrounds you have, the better and more informed decisions you can make.
  • Issue a list of design deliverables that need to be provided to the team, and make some templates at the same time, so that you can reuse and maintain consistency.
  • Make a clear distinction between the design that is ready for development and the work in progress. Just put some status and informative thumbnails in the design tool you use.

3. Summary

Design handover is not just a one-off ceremony in the agile workflow, it is a collaborative process. Good communication methods should be established between design and development to reduce misunderstandings and errors. Although the two teams are different, they have a common goal—that is, to have an effective and meaningful product. Product goals are achieved through the collaborative efforts of all vertical teams. Remember, the work team is the work product.

To achieve this goal, engineers should participate in the design process, designers should follow up the development and realization of their designs, and assist the engineering team in creating meaningful solutions to problems that may arise during the development process.

56tech has professional UI designers and front-end and back-end engineers, who will participate in communication and exchanges at all stages of product development. Welcome to inquire: 400 186 0061(China), send an email to: lynn.li@dreamlot.com.

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