There is not handoff
…and the designer is a caretaker, not a showman or a show woman.
I don’t practice “handoff”. It’s one of the reasons I left the agency business. No matter how you engrave it into conversations with the client, the brief, the contract how important it is for you to constantly be in the room, at the end of the day—it’s not your product. It will inevitably change, and possibly lose all you’ve built.
And something felt wrong about that for me.
I’m of course talking about making some design “mockups” and giving them out for others to look at.
What I do instead:
- developers are always at the beginning of the conversation. And don’t take that “we want the bigger picture first” bullshit, because people are afraid they’ll be limited in options. If a dev doesn’t know something before going at it, you’ll have no options at all;
- tech designers, design-engineers, engineering-designers, whatever you call it. The designer must understand how it works. At least the basics;
- the designer is the product manager. They
specexplain the design, defend it, and talk about what’s the project’s appetite. There’s no middleman;
- the design is not done, there is no “final” design. It’s the stages that change.
And the last point is the most important. Realistically. If you’re a designer reading this (or anybody who shipped software before), how many times have you come back to change something last minute? Because, oh, turns out, we forgot the offline status handling, or the app boot when a third party is under DDoS.
It’s the mental model that hurts it. Mockups aren’t going anywhere. They’re constantly evolving, breathing organisms like plants that love everyone’s attention. And if left unattained, they’re nothing more than outdated dusty soil.