Good user experience has become a vital part of digital product development and the chances of getting failed in the market increase if you ignore the importance of user experience.
Providing good experience to users is not the responsibility of one person or one team, it should be the vision of the entire organization floating from top to bottom. It is a challenge to get everyone in the organization to realize the importance of user experience.
In many organizations, UX designers face the challenge of de-prioritization of design related issues in the development process. This leads to design debt that increases day by day in the developed product. The reason is usually that the process does not include a stage where UX designers can test the product in terms of usability, consistency and quality, identify design issues, prioritize them and help to resolve them.
This stage of the process is called design QA which is an addition to the QA that testers do. Design QA is performed from a different perspective, the user experience, and its purpose is to test the product and see how it works in terms of usability, consistency and quality.
Challenges of Design QA
Due to a difference in understanding of the value of design, the organizations do not feel the importance of design issues. The process of design QA gets challenging due to the following factors:
- For organizations, it is important to have a working feature that can be delivered to the client. They do not realize the missing user experience that could be improved by putting a little more effort.
- They want to deliver the features as early as possible and it makes it harder to spend time on design QA and resolve the identified issues.
- One more factor is the difference of opinions and the final decisions are usually made by authoritative people who do not have much sense of design. If a design looks better to them, it is fine to deliver it to the client.
Make Design QA part of the process
An agile product development process usually includes these stages: Design, Development, Testing, Done. And as per the process, the testing phase is done by the QA tester and he is responsible to declare the testing as passed or failed based on the functions of implemented features.
However, there is no stage where the UX designer can verify whether the feature is implemented as per the design specs and whether the user experience is consistent all over the product.
Design QA states a need of introducing a stage after development which includes a detailed design testing of the implemented feature. The UX designer can test the feature and identify the shortcomings in the implemented design. Before completing the development stage, the identified issues need to be resolved. The Design QA can be continued in parallel with the QA stage and development can work side by side on resolving the issues.
Benefits of Design QA
Design QA helps to improve product quality in the following ways:
Efficient product delivery
The team can deliver a product that provides the required functionality with enhanced usability. Completing a task is not enough for the user, however, the ease of use with which he can achieve his goals is much more important for him. And this is the quality that highlights your product in the competitive market.
Reduced design debt
Piling up the design issues and not paying attention to them causes a growing design debt. And this results in inconsistencies in user experience. By following the agile process and making the design QA part of each sprint, the design debt can be reduced though may not be eliminated. This results in a product that has consistent user experience and less usability issues.
Better collaboration between designers and developers (knowledge sharing)
A good collaboration between designers and developers builds a trusted team environment. Design QA helps both designers and developers work together and learn from each other. Developers will able to understand the importance of user experience, and at the same time, designers will know about the technical limitations that developers are facing while developing the UI. This helps to know more about both fields and thus allows better coordination in future tasks.
The desired outcome for an organization or business is to achieve user satisfaction. Design QA ensures that users’ needs are met through the implemented feature and identifies any flaws in the experience that should be removed before delivering the final product to the client.
A little amendment in the software product development process can help you avoid a design debt in your product and resolve the issues on time. This results in improved user experience and enhanced customer satisfaction.
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