Stuck in the Deliverable Rut

In our business, we see a lot of deliverables: flow charts, personas, epics, user journeys, prototypes, specifications, and wireframes, all created to communicate our ideas to our clients. But now, we’ve reached a point when it’s becoming a joke.

It doesn’t have to be.

When I started my career as a user experience professional, my weapon of choice was a wireframe – those black and white boxes and arrows. I spent most of my working day grinding in OmniGraffle, pushing those boxes and adding Lorem Ipsum copy, with my headphones on, doing my own thing.

The wireframes and other supporting documentation would later be presented in front of clients, who would have a tough time understanding the interactions in those static pages.

Who can blame them?

But it didn’t stop there. In other meetings downstream, it was discovered that the design had changed from the wireframes. The designers had added their unique skills and insights to update the interface.

Close to launch, it was also realized that things had fallen out again. Some of the features were not feasible to implement. Uh oh. Many unnecessary awkward conversations were had. I bet many of you have had similar situations with your projects in the past.

Fortunately, times have changed since then. Many lessons have been learned. But most importantly, the speed of technology is changing faster and faster. Who knows what’s going to be the next cutting-edge technology six months from now. You just can’t sit and wait. Time spent on deliverables could be time spent providing value for your customers.

During one of my recent projects, a responsive web design project, our team worked collaboratively to form the experience. We only had two deliverables, an interactive prototype and a lean functional specification. Our design and style guide for all interface elements were shaped straight in HTML. The designer worked next to the front-end developer, discussing and sharing their unique insights, collaboratively forming the interface.

The client loved our approach. Our checkpoints were effective because we presented the visual design, UX and technology combined in the interactive prototype. This meant that we could all comment on one deliverable.

Next time, put those headphones aside. Instead, collaborate closely across silos. We all have unique perspectives to bring to the mix. Leverage that. Form something together. Together, we can make something way more powerful than we could have dreamed of on our own, come to life, without all those unnecessary deliverables.