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Dealing with design debt (UCD Gathering)

Technical debt is a well-known problem when taking an agile software development approach, but what about design debt? Taking an iterative approach can all too often lead to design debt in the form of UI inconsistencies, half-finished designs, fragmented user experiences and unresolved usability issues. This case study from UCD Gathering 2020 covers:

- What is design debt and why does it build up?
- How to minimise design debt building up
- How to identify and prioritise current design debt
- Strategies for dealing with design debt

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Dealing with design debt (UCD Gathering)

  1. 1. DEALIN G WITHDESIGN DEBT NEIL TURNER Photo by Doug Maloney on Unsplash
  2. 2. The gun that won the west
  3. 3. Ongoing build No master plan Constant remodellin g Winchest er house Agile software
  4. 4. DON’T DO THIS DO THIS…
  5. 5. Design debt Tech debt
  6. 6. DESIGN DEBT• Inconsistent UI and styling • Unaddressed usability issues • Differing design patterns • Sprawling navigation • Shifting terminology • Wasteland of ‘MVP’ features
  7. 7. HAVE A STRATEGY. # 1
  8. 8. “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin
  9. 9. “In this new Agile world nothing is certain but death, taxes and debt.”Benjamin Franklin (from the future)
  10. 10. CREATE & VALIDATE HIGH-LEVEL DESIGNS. # 2
  11. 11. RELEASE 2 RELEASE 3 RELEASE 1 USER GOAL / JOB TO BE DONE STEPS USER TASKS NARRATIVE FLOW
  12. 12. USE A DESIGN SYSTEM. # 3
  13. 13. LEVEL UP THE TEAM. # 4
  14. 14. WE ARE ALL DESIGNERS…
  15. 15. CATCH DESIGN DEBT # 5 AT REVIEWS.
  16. 16. KEEP A RECORD OF # 6 DESIGN DEBT.
  17. 17. FOCUS ON KEY USER # 7 TASKS.
  18. 18. •Things that must be addressed now (high priority) •Things that should be addressed soon (med priority) •Things we can live with for now (low priority) PRIORITISING DESIGN DEBT
  19. 19. FACTOR TACKLING. # 8 DEBT INTO PLANNING.
  20. 20. FEATURES SPRINT FEATURES SPRINT DEBT SPRINT
  21. 21. FEATURES SPRINT FEATURES SPRINT FEATURES SPRINT DEBT WORKSTREAM
  22. 22. DEALING WITH DESIGN DEBT1. Have a strategy 2. Create & validate high-level designs 3. Use a design system 4. Level up the team 5. Catch design debt at reviews 6. Keep a record of design debt 7. Focus on key user tasks 8. Factor tackling debt into planning
  23. 23. THANK YOU www.uxforthemasses.co m @neilturner ux

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Technical debt is a well-known problem when taking an agile software development approach, but what about design debt? Taking an iterative approach can all too often lead to design debt in the form of UI inconsistencies, half-finished designs, fragmented user experiences and unresolved usability issues. This case study from UCD Gathering 2020 covers: - What is design debt and why does it build up? - How to minimise design debt building up - How to identify and prioritise current design debt - Strategies for dealing with design debt

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