Design Review Process

by on July 11, 2013
in book, design

An Excerpt taken from, The Value of The Finite

GOALS

The design review process is a tried-and-true social mechanism for ensuring standards of quality, cross feature and functional alignment, ensuring consistency across deliverables/functional areas of larger projects, and incorporating feedback from project stakeholders.

STANDARDS AND CONSISTENCY

Ensure that designs meet appropriate standards for consistency, accessibility, usability, findability, internationalization, performance, etc.

ALIGNMENT

  • Maximizes transparency of design progress
  • Acts as a natural forcing function for progress
  • Ensures that designs meet business goals
  • Helps to minimize late changes to product requirements and concepts
  • Helps to ensure brand integration

DILIGENCE

  • Realize maximum value internally from design teams
  • Facilitates teamwork, learning, and cross-pollination of ideation
  • Increases team accountability
  • Involve teams and project stakeholders in the design process

PROCESS

As with any other meeting (see chapter 2.1.1 On Time) ensure that the agenda is clear, that roles and responsibilities for the review are assigned, and that the work up for review maps to one of the following categories or design stages. Send the framework for the review at least 1-2 days in advance of the review. Do not send the designs ahead of time unless you require feedback from folks that aren’t available face-to-face for the review. Feedback on designs is very subtle and is almost always best shared face-to-face whenever possible. This also allows the designer to capitalize on the first impressions of the design. Often folks feedback will evolve if they have enough time to “think-about-it” which is still useful, but isn’t aligned with how an actual customer will consume a design solution.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES (ALL ARE REQUIRED)

  • Design Owner – The designer (in the hot-seat) presenting his work for the review.
  • Design Reviewer – Ideally at least one other designer, someone from outside the design discipline – ideally test, and a researcher if available.
  • Informed – Make note of any key stakeholders outside of the review that may need to be informed on the review status, and follow up notes.
  • Note Taker – Someone needs to take notes, which should only be sent directly to the design owner. This responsibility should rotate on teams.

STEP 1: CONCEPTUAL DESIGN REVIEW

The goal of conceptual design review is to verify early that design concepts map to the user experience vision and product pillars. These could be anything from pencil drawings, pixel perfect comps, interactive prototypes, or even competitors solutions.

REVIEW CHECKLIST

  • Low-fidelity/Med-fidelity prototypes – Ideally from an efficiency perspective little time investment has been made this early in the process.
  • Preliminary interaction/navigation models
  • High-level design concepts – Many interaction or core details may be left missing. This is ok, the goal is to understand and talk about the high-level direction.
  • Preliminary information architecture/s
  • Design schedule – How is progress relative to committed dates? Are things on track?
  • Task analysis – Are there critical use-cases missing that would fundamentally alter the design or force a change in direction?
  • Competitive evaluation- Are there existing solutions the design is informed by? Are there better alternatives out there already?
  • Alignment to product vision/pillars – Are you aligned with them?

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • What scenarios/stories/use-cases/tasks does this concept address?
  • How does the concept accomplish the scenario/customer goals?
  • How does this concept deliver maximum value to the target customer/primary persona?
  • How is this concept better than existing/competitors solutions/offerings?
  • How did data/research help inform/shape this concept?
  • Which stakeholders have given input into your concept?
  • How does this concept integrate with other products/feature areas?
  • How does this concept fit into the product pillars and product vision?
  • How is progress relative to committed dates? Are things on track?

STEP 2: DESIGN STANDARDS REVIEW

The goal of the design standards review is to verify that the updated design concepts meet the required organizational design standards. Of course every organization is different, but if you don’t have any defined standards documented, that might be a better place to start, rather than effectively “flying-blind” and proceeding with product design without any documented and agreed to design language.

REVIEW CHECKLIST

  • Med-fidelity/High-fidelity prototypes
  • Applicable user experience guidelines, organizational best-practices, and documented design language
  • Low-level design
  • Design schedule

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Does the design look right?
  • Does the design feel right?
  • Does the design align with all documented standards within reason? Includes: design language, team principles and tenets, and standardized best-practices.
  • Are there new deviations/innovations that should be documented?
  • Does the design fit into the product road map and product vision?
  • How is progress relative to committed dates? Are things on track?

STEP 3: INTERACTION DESIGN REVIEW

The goal of the interaction design review is to verify that the proposed interaction/behaviors are clear, predictable, consistent, and usable.

REVIEW CHECKLIST

  • Med-fidelity/High-fidelity prototypes
  • Applicable user experience guidelines
  • Low-level design
  • Design schedule

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • How is the UI design tailored to the primary persona?
  • What are the most significant engineering concerns for this design?
  • What interaction standards or best practices have been employed?
  • Are there any necessary additions or changes to the visual specification needed to support this design?
  • What legacy features may be impacted by the proposed design?
  • How is the interaction design consistent with the brand?
  • Does this design require ongoing maintenance?
  • How is progress relative to committed dates? Are things on track?

STEP 4: VISUAL DESIGN REVIEW

The goal of the visual design review is to verify that the visual design of the UI maps to the design vision, the visual specification, and the brand guidelines for the current release.

REVIEW CHECKLIST

  • Full fidelity pixel perfect compositions of core screens
  • Color palette
  • Icons, graphics, and branding
  • Visual specification
  • Brand guidelines
  • Product vision

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Do the visual design elements within the UI align with the brand guidelines for the release?
  • Do the objects (buttons, tabs, menus, etc) align with the visual specification?
  • Does the visual design (colors, grid, typography, graphical style, icons, and logos) align with the visual specification?
  • Are any amendments are needed within the visual specification to support this design?

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