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5 Mistakes in Design Process While Building Large Scale Products

Learn from your mistakes! Of course you should. But more importantly, responsibility is much more powerful tool in the process of making decisions, avoiding mistakes and improving as fast as possible.

As a designer responsible for building app design from the ground up through research and prototyping to building UI with final touches you should pay attention to detail during the entire process. Even more so when working on large scale products. As an example, a lack of iterations in prototyping at the beginning can go really badly at the end when you discover it doesn’t work that well. You’ve just wasted an insane number of hours pushing pixels just to make it look pretty.

We all have our own tips and tricks for a better workflow. I would love to focus on the common ones for those who don’t have much experience with building large scale products. Try to not make these mistakes by discovering your own tricks for smoothing out your workflow from project to project.

Not enough research to begin with

One thing is having a lot of experience in the field of the product what you are about to build. It’s another to think that your skill/experience in design is enough to build a product for finance management. Even if you’ve never worked with taxes, for example, it is always beneficial to spend time researching about what you’re trying to do. Find the right people, ask the right questions. Try to learn how to think like the user of your app. At the least you’ll get to know a different angle of your app and may find new ways to solve problems.

Not enough research to begin with

Not prototyping precisely before designing pixels

Start sketching on paper, in an app, or where ever you want – but more importantly, start! Your main goal should be to do as much work and iterations as possible in the prototyping phase, for example some really simple paper sketches (just for quick visualisation of your ideas) to more complicated drawings in a wireframing software. Yes, interactive ones for testing too, even if you have to do them over and over again. Please don’t start designing pixels in Photoshop before having wireframes that are as close to perfection as possible. Trust me, it will save your ass later.

Prototyping precisely before designing pixels

Using too many tools

Do tools really matter? Heck no! You can use whatever you want during any stage of the process. It’s the result that’s important: how quickly you can get it done and if the team benefits from it. Try to do more things in one tool. Find the one that fits your needs not the one that is most trendy at the moment.

Do tools really matters?

Fighting against developers

Designers that know how to code and developers that can design? Sounds awesome, but not realistic for most cases. Try to at least understand how the code works and what’s possible to do. Don’t make devs job harder just because you don’t know how to solve some design problems differently. And realize that your giant 8000x5000px PSD files with all screens in one file are not that easy to open or manage for people who don’t have an iMac, which a lot of devs don’t.

Designer vs. Developer

Don’t try to be the smart guy

This one is really important. As designers, we all have a little bit of an ego that we carry around on our heads. If you really want to learn how to be smart about selling your ideas, you should first learn to communicate and work in a team where others might think differently than you do. If they choose to go with someone else’s idea, don’t just blow it off “because they’re idiots” but consider that perhaps the solution was actually a smarter one for the team, company etc. Not only designers can come up with design ideas to improve what you already have.

Don’t try to be the smart guy

Conclusion

If you’re not already living by these simple design practices, then I hope you leave this page feeling inspired to try them. In time you may discover your own hacks and clever ways to improve the way you work in and out of a team environment! Good luck.

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