The fundamental leadership role of a UX designer is to ensure the team understands what is going to be built and why. This shared understanding is foundational to products that work well for users and meet delivery deadlines.
These are ways I approach UX leadership:
- Engage application developers in technical discussions during design.
This conversation prevents large-scale issues during development that can delay implementation. Share initial design solutions, seek feedback on feasibility, discover existing componentry that connects, and understand development concerns.
- Enlist testers for design validation and usability testing.
Testers are super users and know how to complete tasks efficiently and have a solid understanding of what works well and what doesn’t. This makes them a valuable internal resource to provide early design validation (what they expect certain elements to do) and usability testing (how would they complete a task).
- Introduce design to leadership.
Meeting with internal leadership provides an opportunity to understand team concerns in the development process and ensure leadership shares a unified understanding of what is to be built.
- Present mature designs to clients.
Presenting UX/UI designs to the client for feedback and approval ensures the internal team and external clients are aligned. Ask questions, invite the client to walk through the prototype, and source concerns to inform final design decisions.
- Hand off the design to the developer.
A brief design hand-off ensures that prototypes and documentation are clear and the developer understands what is being built. A quick conversation up front saves time regrouping if there is confusion about the solution.
- Facilitate regular reviews with developers.
Regular review of work-in-progress allows for early design QA and accessibility verification. Development often surfaces new UX concerns and solving these problems promptly ensures the project stays on time.
- Recognize excellence.
Excellent work deserves recognition. Champion those you collaborate with and share examples of quality work.
- Monitor testing.
As testers exercise the design and flag concerns, quickly review and respond with product direction. This final check ensures that the product shipping is ready for client use.
- Promote an enjoyable work environment.
Remember that we can have fun while doing our jobs. Interject fun into meetings, celebrate birthdays, and share photos and memes. These small touchpoints set the tone for how a team interacts.