For UX professionals, deliverables are very tangible manifestations of the way we think. But not everyone understands the terminology we often use when presenting or discussing our ideas during the various phases of a UX design cycle. Thus, deliverables are useful in helping us to express complicated ideas or functionality and making them easier for everyone else in the room to understand.
Let’s be honest. There are cases when attention to design by other disciplines on a product team is lacking. People have their own daily tasks. So it’s your duty to present your deliverables in the simplest, most understandable way possible. In this way, you can create a level playing field for everyone in the room during design discussions. Design is an inclusive process and collaborative design usually requires the presence of experts in various fields—typically, design, engineering, and product management or marketing. UX designers facilitate discussions during which the input of everyone in the room is valuable in providing solutions to users’ problems and making design decisions that let you proceed to the next steps in the product-development process.
Making the Right Arguments
But what if people are not collaborative? There might people with big egos who are disruptive to the process and just want their own ideas to win. So, when sharing your design deliverables, you always run some risk in choosing which deliverable to show. This is why it’s important to express your reasoning and the short-term goals that you want to achieve from a meeting before showing, presenting, or discussing anything.
In such meetings, someone might say: “Why do we have to discuss these details?” “Why are we even tackling this component now? We can easily change it in the future.” Usually what they’re really saying is: “Show us something big or different. Show us what the future of this product will look like.” Such questions emphasize the fact that what you’re going to make is more important than the journey you take in getting there. But sometimes, the making becomes the destination instead of the path to the destination. Design deliverables don’t imply that you’re at the end of the design process. They’re just the end of one iteration and the design process can continue.
At such crucial moments, you need to take control of the dialogue. Of course, this means a little more work for you! Working with people is sometimes more complicated than doing the work itself. Meeting facilitation is a skill that every UX professional must master, but what works well differs from one person to another, depending on their charisma, communication style, and other factors. There’s no one perfect way of mastering such situations. But your role is to be the one who keeps the balance.
It’s not possible to assess the value of this amazing process of design just through numbers. We can’t buy UX design or other intellectual services in the same way we’d buy pens. Of course, I understand that numbers count in every field of business, but it’s important to maintain the right balance or a situation can easily get out of control. You must consider every aspect of the experience and user journey, including visibility, ease of use, effectiveness, and engagement. When making deals with design firms or teams, never ask “How many wireframes?” before going through an exploration process.
During a review of your design deliverables, discuss and visualize every issue around each element that you need to fix rather than rushing into quick decisions or prematurely moving on to the next big thing. Discuss every behavior and every scenario possible and achieve team alignment in making decisions. Achieving alignment is more important than being right or fighting for your opinion. In this way, you can avoid blame games later on—“I was right, and she was wrong.”
Of course, once open discussions are underway, there will always be some unclear use cases. But, by taking this approach, you can have fruitful discussions on ways to improve the user experience involving the whole product team.