Documenting your design process is more important than you think!

The design documents help to achieve a fixed goal in product development. Instead of spending time debating on “What?” “Why?” and “How?” you can rather focus on improving the customer experience.

Most of the time, the absence of proper documentation or no documentation at all makes team forget certain elements as the product evolves.

Why they made certain decisions long back while designing a certain feature?
What was the thought process behind that decision?

It is my job, a product designer’s job, to avert all these questions.

As a product designer, we have to keep track of all the design decisions we make during the design process and ensure no information is lost.

What? Why? and How? 🧐

As you finalize the design, give a relevant name to the art-board or component, explain the design flow, define why you made that decision and explain how it will work or scale. Better yet, explain using a real-time scenario. This will help them (managers, investors, colleagues) to view from your perspective.

What?- It can be a whole new feature or a minor tweak. It doesn’t matter. Define that (name, solution, changes etc…) art-board by art-board or component by component.

Why?- No more debates! Explain why you did that. Is it because of a bad usability? Is it because of something the user needs?

How?- Does your solution really enhance the product experience? How it is different from the current solution? Get it out!

Flow 🌈

Often when wire-framing the flow, we don’t think of the micro UI state changes - error or success messages, label wraps for better readability etc. These have to be shown in the design for better developer comprehension. So make a list of all possible screens that might even involve popup messages in the flow.

One easy way to keep track of all the use cases and developer requests is making a note of it. Not a mental note but an actual note — physical or digital. 
This clearly defined flow ensures that you don’t miss out any intuitive details and helps to avoid complex changes after development.

Adopt Standard Naming scheme!

It is always a good practice to give a relevant standard name to everything from art-boards to components to layers. The same component may be called by different names by different team members. So it is always ideal to maintain a common yet standard naming scheme that every team member is made aware of. Know more about building a culture that uses shared vocabulary in design system here.

Scrapped something? Why? 🗑

Often designers make changes on the same design file or art-board. While doing so, always have a copy of your previous iterations and give a note on each screen why you scrapped this or made changes. (Eg: Create an Archive page in Sketchapp file and have all your scrapped designs with the brief description).

Treat your work as a craft, in that there is always something that you can improve. Rely on yourself to be the motivation to become a better designer.

I’m Pradeep | Find me on Twitter and Dribbble