Product Design: OVER-communication is key!

Communication and a quick feedback loop will save a significant amount of time, money, and work at the expense of just talking to team members a little more. I can relate this to one experience I had with a startup, who I feel did not communicate anywhere near what I would have wanted, and needed. A big problem was that I didn’t know their design goals clear enough.

I would submit deliverables (sometimes when they didn’t even request it…I just wanted to make their website so much better than it was!) and get replies days after or none at all. When they would reply, I would have wanted a ton more feedback, particularly on every design decision and why it wasn’t implemented. I couldn’t tell whether it was a limitation, a preference, a disagreement on ideas, or what. For instance, I may have raised a flag about a form error and I presented a potential fix (I’m always one to not bring up problems I see without also giving at least a shot at a solution). I got no feedback on it, so I submitted it again (along with other deliverables). Still nothing. I have no idea what they feel about the flag I raised, and it certainly is a reasonable issue. So I was at a loss at that point.

Lesson: to do the best work, designers need to know the team’s goals like the back of their hand. They need to get feedback on every design decision, especially when it is not taken. It can be frustrating to a UX designer when their recommendation, based on cognitive psychology research and standard UX principles, is not taken – it doesn’t make sense to them. The solution is overcommunication. Spend some more time with your team members and save a ton of wasted efforts. It’s well worth it, especially in a lean start-up.download

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