Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Play tricks, don't wait for a full-house

Deciding when your design is mature enough to put in front of a client is always difficult.  Unfortunately, there is a natural tendency to err on the side of holding off for longer than we should.
All other things being equal, you should expose your design earlier rather than later - in fact, earlier than you feel comfortable with.
Even if you have problems with aspects of the design, it is better to bring your stakeholders over to your side of the problem sooner.
To use an analogy from card games; play your design out in small "tricks" don't wait for a "full house", lest you be left with a hand full of great - but now useless - cards when the project moves on without you.


  1. I would agree with you 100% except for the fact that some clients just can't picture "roughs" as what they are — roughs...
    And then they start making changes based on things that they are mis-interpretting in the designs.
    Some clients REALLY do need to see something as complete before they can be trusted to comment it intelligently.

  2. This is a good point Anon, but I would suggest that this is where our skills as perceptive consultants and communicators comes to the fore... for example understanding when to separate the interaction design from the visual design (e.g. because one or the other is still contentious). Knowing how to position a treatment (that may require a small leap of faith) within a supporting structure of research artefacts (e.g. personas, storyboards or scenarios). Being honest (see fluffy clouds) about the things that are speculative convinces your stakeholders that you aren't trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes and allows them to feel comfortable about that ambiguity.

  3. Sorry, Matt. I agree with Anon. In my experience, showing an incomplete design to a client makes them feel like they NEED to start making changes. PS, if you are going to comment on communication, you might want to avoid sentence fragments with two sets of parentheses. ;)


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